onethessthree8

'For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord….'

Archive for brighton

Snow joke….

Cheesy title, I know.  But it was just to get you to check out this cracking little feature on my blog where you can actually make it snow!  Is it snowing yet??  Easily pleased you might say.  You’d be right, because I love snow, fake or otherwise.  It used to snow in Brighton when I were a lad, but not now (rev 18.12.09 – we had 4″ last night!)

I know people whose theologies stretch to praying for parking spaces (ooh, that was harsh!).  Well that prayer doesn’t work in Brighton (highest revenue-generating City for parking in the nation!) …………but I am unashamedly praying for snow!

Actually, it’s the mammouth carbon-footprints (of these exact same people who are trying to park in Brighton) that has put paid to any decent snow in the UK anymore!  They’ve raised the overall global temperature by a degree or two, so all we get is a bit of slush to throw at each other.

I’m always amazed by the fact that each flake is individual and unique from another.  A typical snowflake begins by forming around a speck of dust.  From this unassuming beginning, it grows into a tiny hexagonal prism, just a few microns in size.  The initial symmetry of the snowflake results from the intrinsic molecular structure of ice.

Utterly unique...

As the crystal grows, it’s often blown about in the sky.  The air and temperature around the crystal are constantly changing.  Snowflakes are extremely sensitive, and even a small change in these conditions can lead to different growth patterns.

The final shape of the crystal reflects these growth conditions. The longer the snowflake is blown about in the skies, the more complex the resulting snow crystal.  No two crystals have the same history so they don’t grow in the same way.  As a result, no two have ever been the same, or ever will be.  Amazing!  With my biblical worldview, it motivates me to worship.  Simple as that.

To really appreciate the beauty of snow, try the Alps.  Or leave my blog open on your laptop and enjoy the flurry!

Rather stunning!

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By all means….

The hook for my post today is to placard the newly refurbed website at CCK. It’s cutting edge in my view, and launches this coming term where we are expecting to draw hundreds on a Sunday to introduce them to Jesus.

In the words of lead elder Joel Virgo…

The church of Jesus Christ in Brighton is to be a redeemed version of Brighton – a showcase of what the city would be with the reign of Jesus brought to bear.

We are building an alternative city within the city for the sake of the city.  We are in Brighton, for Brighton…

At CCK we are on a mission in the City.  When the apostle Paul went into Athens, he went with a missional poise.  He saw the City, and he was provoked within him.  Ever feel provoked?  In Athens at that time it was said that it was easier to meet an idol than a man.  Our City is just like that!  People all around us, giving themselves in worship to different things.

Having been rightly provoked, what did Paul do?  He went straight into the Agora (or marketplace) to meet the influential people of the day to preach Jesus and the resurrection.

If we look closely at Acts 17, Paul cleverly finds some truth in what sees, and then he connects with them, and weaves in the gospel truth.  We can learn this missional behaviour for ourselves, and we are…

Here are some brief observations from Acts 17 of a missional nature :

  1. Mission is birthed by gospel first taking root in us.  Paul was provoked, deeply stirred.  Has the same heart as God.  A complex love (deep concern with great hatred for sin, yet still pursuing).  The gospel says ‘I love you, but lost you, but will chase you down to bring you home.’  When the gospel grips you, it becomes your motivation.  You find grace for mission, and have a pure motivation.
  2. Deal with Jesus and the resurrection before dinosaurs!  God has given us assurance by raising Jesus from the dead.  Paul is highly Jesus-focussed.  What’s your focus?  Everything rises and falls on the resurrection of Jesus.
  3. Don’t ignore the city, engage it!  Paul could have just taken a little bed and breakfast whilst waiting for his mates turn up but no, he went to the places of influence.  Where are those places for us?  School gate, neighbourhood groups?  He was strategic.  So must we be.
  4. Find gospel bridges in to others lives.  Sin has marred what God originally made good.  So not all around us is bad; there are aspects of truth at every turn.  Take these truths and weave in the gospel, the real truth.  What aspects of the gospel do folk need to hear?  Think that through.  ie. interlect (books), affirmation (helping with self-esteem), grace (unconditional love).  What do those in your life need to see, hear, experience?
  5. Talk to people and build relationships.  Just be natural.  Surprisingly, people are more willing to talk about Jesus than we realise.  They really respond when they truly know your motivation. In the park, the office, coffee shop; how can you be better engaging?  Remember, the gospel changes you and empowers you to engage!
  6. Be prepared for opportunities.  It’s the blessing of the gospel, co-labouring, and being used.  Opportunities that we grasp will also change us, leading to character transformation.
  7. Paint a big picture of our big God.  Our view of God is too small. In Athens Paul found folk  worshipping an unknown god!  Let’s paint a different picture!  People don’t often reject faith on intellectual grounds, but more often because they just think it’s trivial.  People want to believe in some thing that makes sense of all their worldly experience.  We can all too easily put forward a view of God that is too small, so paint him big!
  8. Leave the results to God.  Be faithful.  Paul was.  That’s all you are called to do and to be.  Some mocked, some rejected, some wanted to hear more.  Its not about us.  It’s about the sovereign work of God in folks lives.

It’s all about Jesus…  check out the site   www.cck.org.uk

New runners…

There’s nowt better than taking a run in your new set of running shoes for the first time! (well ok, that’s just me then!).  When you’ve done the miles in your current pair it seriously feels like you’ve put on your slippers in public….it’s great!  However, the hardest part of any run is putting your shorts on……..honestly!

But running does have benefits. You can eat what you like (more or less), you strengthen your heart muscles (good, I think), you will lose weight and tone up (a very good thing), and you may even get spotted by someone who knows you and they shout/hoot at you!  This is particularly enjoyable, but not great for your levels of pride. If you’re like me, you will spend the next few minutes crushing pride (the root of all sin)…..but it makes the time go quicker. Great to be caught keeping fit though! (doh, pride again!).

But by far and above the best thing about running is the time you get to think, pray, and generally suss out the planet etc.  I havent tried running with my ipod yet, and no doubt that will take me into a new dimension of redeeming time, but for now I’m just enjoying the cobweb-clearing experience it affords me.  And what better place to live than Brighton, squashed between the sea and the Downs (both perpetually stunning)…a runners paradise.

A bunch of us at CCK have registered for the first Brighton Marathon next April (see the Facebook group), so I wont be alone in pounding the locality between now and then.  It gets me thinking about all sorts when I run.  It’s a time for review, and a time for planning.  Both of which you must find time for.

Here are some other things that come to mind.  The joy is not actually in the running, it is in the completion of the course.  The sense of elation and achievement is enormous.  There’s another course (of course), the one that my God has laid out for me.  When I consider things with this perspective, I want to know the answers to these questions:
Do I know with certainty what my course is?  If not, how can I find it?  What stuff (sin, idolatry) do I allow to divert me from my race?  Who knows about my struggles?  Who am I influencing in the way I run my race?

The writer of Hebrews nails it for us in 12:1

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.

Perhaps it’s not so bad getting caught running well afterall……