The Power of Stories
to change people’s lives
I was a visitor in a small village church this Sunday and something said in the sermon struck me: about the terrorist attack in Manchester last week the vicar asked, ‘What was this young man’s story that lead him to this point?’ That was not something I had considered before, but how did he become radicalised? At what point had he decided that this was to be his path?
What difference does the gospel make to people’s stories? We never know the ‘what ifs’ but what if someone had shared the gospel with him? What if he had met the risen Lord Jesus? What if I hadn’t become a Christian – what might my life look like?
We make massive changes in people’s lives when we share God’s good news with them. Whether it is our friends and family, the children and youth that we teach, or a stranger who we took the opportunity to talk to. Jesus had among his twelve closest disciples Simon the Zealot who fought against the Roman government: his chosen messenger to the gentiles was Saul, a man whose religious beliefs led him to persecute others. We know Jesus changed their stories and the stories of countless others. Let’s pray for him to continue to do so.
I’ve added another parable: The Rich Fool. Someone who did not let God change his story and never even considered the possibility. I don’t want that to be anyone I know so hard as it is, Lord, would I be courageous enough to give everyone I know the chance to hear of you and to make their decision. Amen
Things that are lost and found
And heavenly parties: lots of them!
I really love planning a party! Usually more than I enjoy actually being at said party. However, celebrating with Jesus when someone else comes and joins the family is one set of parties I’m really looking forward too (assuming that Jesus doesn’t come back first and we skip straight to the wedding feast – aka BEST PARTY EVER!)
Here’s the Lost Coin and the Lost Sheep – an explanation of how helpless we are in our lostness and just how much we’re loved! I’m praying that the children we teach might soon be the cause of another heavenly party as they put their trust in Jesus!
Dealing with Exam Stress
and more on Parables
So exam stress first: GCSEs started this week which means plenty of stressed out teenagers. Here‘s a study that aims to put exams in their proper place with a bit of Biblical perspective.
I’ve also updated the parables I posted last week. They now have a full complement of games, talk, prayer and songs to go with the dramas I put up already.
Subscribe if you like them as there will be more parables in the coming weeks; and more studies for youth looking at living as a disciple of Jesus in a fallen world.
Just in time
Some stories for advent
I’m writing four scripts for advent one linked to each Sunday of advent. These are probably my favourite things to write: first person accounts. Just for a little while I get to imagine what it would have been like to be there, to see this, be visited by angels, to be waiting for the coming Saviour.
I ask myself how would I have reacted, as humble as Mary, as understanding as Joseph, as excited as Elizabeth or as doubtful as Zechariah, as scandalised as Mary’s mum, as scared as a shepherd or as scornful as Herod? These different reactions are great, we learn as much from the pharisees as we do from the disciples and they challenge us – which are we really more like? Plus it’s more fun to write as a bad guy!
Enjoy these and two more next week!
Complete the set!
The rest of the armour is here
I’ve uploaded the rest of the talks in the Armour of God series. Please enjoy! That is it for Ephesians for now but I will be returning to it later.
Here’s what was my computer background for ages because I love both Narnia and being a well protected soldier of God, (as the youth work section of this site shows).
Finally finished Philippians
Sorry for the delay
Back on the blogging bandwagon and here to stay! Check out the latest and last chapter of Philippians and keep your eyes peeled (the easiest way to do this is to subscribe).
Next week: WOT A way to pray! One way to help kids pray. See you then.
Busy, Busy, Busy!
Apologies for a super late post.
I have been holiday-ing and holiday clubbing and holiday club prepping (not in that order) and I’m afraid that you may well have been waiting longer for this blog post than the 1st cenury church were waiting for Paul’s letter. And if I think I’m busy I imagine it’s nothing compared to the apostle’s work load! It hasn’t taken prison to slow me down enough to write this up at last but a bee sting to the face and the fact that the right hand side of my lip is trying to occupy the space where the left hand side of my mouth normally is #troutpout.
I, like many of you, am back to school this week bringing the joys of teenagers, paperwork and (unless the swelling goes down soon) jokes about insect instigated cosmetic surgery. Check this out if you’re looking for something on new beginnings.
and shining like stars
Alpha Centauri is the closest star to our solar system and it’s 4.37 light years away. Now I’m famously bad with numbers and anything in light years is unimaginable but I know that’s a very very long way away. And that means all the other stars are even further away yet we can still see them; through the atmosphere, through light pollution, even ones that are much smaller than our own sun!
That’s super encouraging to me as I reflect on Philippians 2. Following Jesus does make a difference, like a star it shines out beautifully, over long distances and through difficult circumstances. And that is true of everyone who is being made more like Jesus whether, like me, they’re pottering along ordinarily or they’re standing alone against great persecution or they’re a child whose just decided they want to be Jesus friend.
Let’s pray then for the christian kids you know, for their leaders and role models, that they would shine brightly as they strive to be like Jesus and draw others to his glorious light!
I was attacked by pirates!
No honestly I was!
It sounds like the worst excuse ever, and admittedly I was a LOT bigger than the pirates in question, but it does take it out of you. I spent last week with Christians from a group of churches in Bicester (in the UK) at one of their venues helping to share the gospel with the local 4-11’s. It was a fantastic week, full of fellowship, craft, unexplainable bruises, wonderful people, miracles, challenges, prayers, biscuits, bad wigs, burgers, pirates, jokes and the spirit. They used John Hardwick’s adventure cruise (which I have to admit wasn’t my favourite – but is still very much worth a look if you’re thinking about holiday clubs).
Anyway, I’m safe on dry land again, Philippians Chapter 1 is here at last, with its strong focus on the Gospel; What is it? Why is it important? and What does it do?
Joseph is here at last!
Thank you for your patience
I remember planning this and trying to think of which part of Joseph’s life did we want to borrow to show something true about Jesus and the more I looked for one thing the more I was like ‘they’re just the same!’
So here we have the tale of the beloved son who becomes a suffering servant, is innocent but is punished and who is elevated to being the right hand man and brings reconciliation to his family. BOOM!
It makes me really happy that God is able to plan so meticulously the lives of people thousands of years apart just so we’ll recognise his son when he comes. Also that good planning is clearly a godly quality – every time I make the effort to sit and plan children’s and youth work I’m becoming a little more like my heavenly father.