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Showing posts from February, 2012

on Giving (1): the joy of giving

2 Corinthians 8:1-15

Forgive me! For the next three weeks in both our churches we are going to be looking at giving.

I am very conscious that I do not wish us to become churches that are always talking about giving and money. And if you have recently joined us, or started coming along, I promise you that we rarely speak about giving. You've just happened to come along at the wrong moment!

The reason I don't like talking about money is that people often think that the church is only after your money. Well, yes the church is after your money - but actually more seriously, the church really is after your life!

I'm also conscious that I am speaking about giving in the context of a serious recession. There are several members of our congregations who are currently unemployed. Salaries are being held back. Pensions have been squeezed. And most of us have had to tighten our belt and to cut back.

But it is about three years since we last seriously spoke about giving: and we need …

A reflection for Lent

Lent is that time when we prepare to remember again the events of the first Good Friday and Easter.

It is also often associated with self-denial.

The passage usually read on this first Sunday of Lent is the story about the temptations of Jesus: how he went into the wilderness, and fasted for 40 days. He denied himself.
And at the end of Lent, on Maundy Thursday night, we remember how Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane that he might escape the cross. But he ended his prayer, 'But not what I will, what you will'.

And Jesus said, 'If anyone would follow me he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me' (Mark 8:34)

Of course, self denial is not exclusive to Christianity

The bride on a diet will deny the emptiness in her stomach and the craving for food in order to squeeze into that wedding dress
The athlete will deny the screams of agony from their muscles in order to get their body into as good a shape as possible for the race
The soldier about to go to A…

One day you are going home

2 Corinthians 4:16-5:5

"Lord, help me to see this world with your eyes. Otherwise I might value what you despise and despise what you value."

Who likes going camping? Tell us the worst thing that has happened to you when you've been camping!
There is one purpose for camping: and that is to make you appreciate home far more.

The first day is OK. It is exciting. You set up the tent. You boil the kettle on the gas. You explore the campsite. You get told off by the campsite official because your tents are 5.99 metres apart and not 6 metres apart. And you cook the sausages.
Actually we usually stumble at the first stage: the setting up the tent. I have a tent: would you please set it up!
But by the end of the a couple of days, you are usually cold, wet, tired, dirty, the blow up mattress refuses to stay blown up, the battery has run out, the gas has given up the ghost, and you are fed up of living on cereal and soggy bread. [the first time we went camping as a family - May b…