Goats, pigs, ducks, a bike and a tap...

Sunday, 13 January 2008

We had our Christmas night out with Fusion & 20:20 before Christmas. We went to the Panto and had a great nights craic! I had decided that at a time of year when we spend so much money on ourselves it would be good for our young people to give some away to helps people less fortunate in other countries. So i gave them some advance warning that we would be taking donation in the hope that we could buy a herd of goats (cost £60) for a family in Afghanistan from Present Aid. I was overwhelmed by the generosity of a group of young people mostly aged 11-18. The total raised was a fantastic £211 which meant we were able to buy the goats as well as pigs for a family in Nicaragua, ducks for a family in Bangladesh, a bike for an outreach worker in Malawi and a water tap for a community in Nicaragua! How amazing is that! If you haven't visited the Present Aid website then you really should - use the link above. Maybe you could purchase an ethical gift for a friend or family member.

Posted by Neil Harrison at 13:21 0 comments  

I love Sunny Jims

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

At the grand old age of 33, I lit my first fire over the holidays. Not out of a burning desire to do so, but needs must and Marky was out! My lovely 95year old granny would be disgusted and horrified to hear that my fire-lighting debut was not until now! In the words of the late Lauren Cooper, I think she would say “Take the shame!” Yes I know it is quite shameful, but I’m not remotely a feminist and have always believed that lighting the fire is a man’s job, together with putting the wheelie bin out, mowing the lawn and venturing into the roofspace to retrieve Christmas decorations.....not all at once of course as that would be serious multi-tasking!!

Anyway, I was very cold, feeling both ill and sorry for myself and longed for the comfort provided by the cosy glow of a real fire. How hard could it be I mused and decided to give it a go. Well, first of all there was the horrible task of cleaning out the dust and ashes from the previous night’s fire. Very messy, especially when I decided to use the plastic dustpan and brush from the kitchen, thinking I was smart as it was wider and thus quicker. Well, not when embers are still quite hot from the old fire and the brush becomes very quickly unrecognisable! Duh! Is there any truth in that ‘dumb blonde’ notion? Mmmmmm? No comments please!

Then i looked at the basket containing logs, broquettes, firelighters and coal, but hadn’t a clue where to start! So guys I decided to take the shame, swallow my pride and phoned my Dad for quick instruction. We then had a debate re possibility of it lighting without sticks and I refused to believe it wouldn’t. It had to. End of. Very shortly, my genius father had me making pretend sticks out of rolled up newspaper and carefully arranging with the coal (yes ladies this is why it’s a man’s job!) I struck the match and imagined my soon-to –be roaring fire. Well the paper burnt very quickly but the coal was completely disinterested and totally ignored what was going on! That was until I remembered about the aptly-named fire-lighters!! What mighty little beings! Just ready to ignite and burn powerfully so that even the stubborn coal couldn’t resist! Finally guys my fire lit and the coal, as it burned and glowed, provided such warmth, comfort and love to me!!

As I gazed at it with much happiness, I realised that God wants me to be a ‘fire-lighter’ for him. It’s his call to all of us who are so blessed to know him. He wants us to see those around us who need his warmth, comfort and most importantly love. A fire-lighter on its own is rather insignificant and ineffective. But ignited with the flame of a match, it becomes a powerhouse and so necessary to light that fire. That fire reminded me of church and 2020. When all the ingredients were there, playing their unique but essential part, the fire roared and was irresistible. It took effort to light it, and even dumb blonde mistakes made on the way. But the Holy Spirit is God’s flame that can light us and through us, help others ‘glow’ and receive hope of changed lives. Let’s be a part of it, at church, 2020 living solely for God’s Kingdom, being ignited TOGETHER by the Holy Spirit. Let’s be willing, for God to light us with his irresistible, overflowing love and offer His comfort and warmth to all those around us who are hurting, lonely or fearful . We all know someone who needs hope and love today and being in God’s vibrant, all-inclusive and victorious Kingdom offers that!

Posted by Jenny Hall at 16:01 0 comments  

Happy New Year!!!

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had an exciting new year's eve, bringing the New Year in with style. I welcomed in the new year on Portstewart Strand and it was fantastic! In the dark all you could hear was the roar of the waves and the sound of footsteps on the sand!

So as the new year begins I am drawn to think of the year gone by - and to remember the many ways in which God has been good to me, and the many times when I didn't deserve his goodness! There are so many blessings that come to my mind!

And as I think on the year that is to come I see many things which I will face and struggle with. I need to lay these before an Almighty God, and believe that just as He was with me in 2007, so He will be with me in 2008!

So let us pray for all that 2008 may hold: school and exams, starting university, new jobs, Fusion, 20:20, discipleship program and Romania trip, 20:20 weekend in February, holidays. The Lord holds all these in His hands. And as we look around the world and see conflict and strife we must remember, the Lord holds all these in His hands.

So let us listen and hear the Lord say to me, and to you:

'Fear not, for I am with you!'

Posted by Chris Thompson at 10:37 0 comments