Church Blog

Hallowed be your name

Posted by Geoff Lee on Monday, 20 July, 2015 @ 1:21 PM

What’s your default starting point for prayer? Is it “sorry”? Confession? Mea culpa? For Jesus, the starting point for prayer is praise and worship. It is magnifying God, making him big, worshiping him.

As the Westminster shorter catechism says:

What is the chief end of man? (our main purpose in life)
Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever.

Hallowed be your name.

“May your name be kept holy” (NLT)

“Reveal who you are” (MSG)

“Help us to honour your name.” (CEV)

Magnify the Lord. Make him big. Come with a sense of awe.

God is the starting place of prayer – Our Father, hallowed be your name.

As Tim Keller writes:

“The problem is that if God is not the starting point, then our own perceived emotional needs become the drivers and sole focus of our prayer.”

“we should do everything possible to behold our God as he is, and prayer will follow.”

“Ordinarily our prayers are not varied – they consist usually of petitions, occasionally some confession (if we have just done something wrong). Seldom or never do we spend sustained time adoring and praising God.”

We can worship and glorify God in different ways. We can think on and meditate on his nature and characteristics, we can use music and song, we can meditate on key scriptures about God, we can immerse ourselves in the praise language of the Psalms (the last 5 Psalms, for example, are all praise psalms.)

I have been spending some time thinking again about some of the names of God (with reference to Hermann Bavinck)…

Elohim – this name emphasises God’s power and might; he is the high and strong one.

Elyon – the God who is exalted high above everything

Adonai – Lord of Lords / Lord of all the earth

El Shaddai – Power and infinite strength. This reveals to us God the One who possesses all power, can overcome all resistance and make all things subservient to his will.

YHWH – the highest revelation of God in the Old Testament – I am who I am – the unchangingly faithful one.

There are plenty more, but as we start prayer by focusing on God our Father, and lifting his name up as holy, we make him big and we put ourselves and our problems and our emotions into perspective.

We give our prayers scale.

“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory…” (2 Cor. 3:18)

Rob said...

Posted on Monday, 10 August, 2015 @ 12:13 PM -
When I became a Christian, back in the eighties, it seemed to me that the majority of the congregation played a musical instrument. I was inspired to try and quickly found a passion for the guitar as it resonated with something deep within me and because it opened the door into thanksgiving, praise and worship and a sense of the Spirit of God. I am bewildered sometimes by just how this combination of wire and wood called a guitar can bring me so close to God. It says much about God that He, instead of showing Himself to the world, He leaves us to find Him in the most wondrous of ways even in some wire and wood. I guess I shouldn't be surprised as it was with nails and wood that Jesus payed the price for our salvation. Satan didn't see it coming and with those nails and wood he was finally defeated and we were saved. I am blessed that I have a guitar and that with this wire and wood I can draw close to the greatness of God out of which I can pray, Our Father Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.

Nath K said...

Posted on Monday, 20 July, 2015 @ 8:55 PM -
I'm not very good at rationalising or understanding the character of God, but I have found that Psalms help me. I was reading Psalm 18 at lunch today, and it is one David wrote after being rescued from his enemies. Right from the off, the focus is on the awesome might of God, David talks in some very poetic and evocative terms as he describes how God answered his cry for help in the middle of some pretty tough circumstances. Towards the end of the Psalm, the focus shifts from the poetic and beautiful analogy to David worshiping God for all he has done (v46-50 if you are interested) I'm not quite as imaginative or poetic as David, but I like reading Psalms if I'm struggling to "get" the "otherness" of God.

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Our Father who art in heaven

Posted by Geoff Lee on Wednesday, 1 July, 2015 @ 8:55 AM

In our current evening series we have been looking at prayer, using Tim Keller’s book on the subject as our starting and reference point. One of the aspects that we have been thinking about is the Lord’s Prayer. This prayer template was given by Jesus to his disciples when they asked him to teach them to pray. It has been central to the church’s teaching and practice of prayer for two millennia.

Martin Luther used the Lord’s prayer as a main starting place for his times of prayer. He would “riff” on the prayer, i.e. pray over and around the individual sections, turning the lines over in his mind and reflecting on their truth. Sometimes, as he did this, he would catch a certain stream of thought and stay with that. He would feel the Holy Spirit “preaching to him”. Other times, he would not get much revelation or insight and move on.

In these next few blogs, I thought I would simply reflect on the different sections of the prayer as I do when I am praying often:

“Our Father who is in heaven”

“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:6)

I think about this verse when I come to pray. I begin to reflect on God as my Father – as my dad. Abba, papa, daddy, Father. I think of my children coming to me. Of how much I love them and care for them and want their best. I know that my Father in heaven has my best interests at heart. I know that he hears me. He sees me in my room (or wherever I am praying). He will reward my prayer. I take him at his word. I can trust him. I don’t have to babble on, or pray religious formulae. I am speaking with my Father. I cannot see him – he is unseen. He is in heaven. But I know that he is there and that he hears me and that he will reward me.

This is my starting point. God as my loving Father. I anchor myself in this truth. I think about this truth. And I am reminded also that the Holy Spirit helps me in this. It is by him that I can say “Abba, Father”. The Spirit testifies that I am a child of God, adopted into his family. You cannot pray to God as Father if you are not a Christian.

I am not coming to a disinterested deity – I am coming to one who did not spare his own son for me, and will graciously give me all things that I need.

Julie Cooksley said...

Posted on Saturday, 18 July, 2015 @ 12:18 PM -
Yes indeed!
I think that Jesus Himself was the perfect example of this principle.
In John 11 when Jesus calls Lazarus from the tomb, it says in verse 41: So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me."
In other words, prayer is a matter of faith. God knows our every thought, our very heart, but if we come to Him believing that he hears us, speaking out loud is often not even necessary.
God knows the desires of our heart. The more those desires line up with His Will the more miracles we see in our lives.
This is what Jesus meant when He said, "Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.". John 14:11-13

Joel said...

Posted on Monday, 13 July, 2015 @ 7:24 PM -
In Job 29 :4 (NIV), Job says "when God’s intimate friendship blessed my house," - I think this intimate friendship develops with persistent prayer and meditating HIS words and this leads to our BLESSINGS.

Matt F said...

Posted on Wednesday, 1 July, 2015 @ 6:27 PM -
Nice.

I've been wondering recently about other ways in which we communicate, either consciously or unconsciously: Body language, behavior, general demeanor, what we create either in our work or personal lives, ... can go on for ages, all can be forms of communication, right? Our very lifestyle could be a viewed as a form of communication. This led me then to think about how prayer extends beyond words spoken or written, and opens up its possibilities for us to communicate, and be communicated to. Also makes the bit about telling us to 'pray continuously without ceasing' seem a bit more achievable!

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Empowered for greater service – reflections on a weekend with David and Greta Peters

Posted by Geoff Lee on Tuesday, 16 June, 2015 @ 11:23 AM

It has been great to have David and Greta from New Zealand back with us in Plymouth for a weekend of ministry and empowerment for greater service. They ran seminars on Friday evening and Saturday, and preached and ministered at the church on Sunday. They shared a good deal of material with us both publically and privately.

I thought I would share a few of the things that stood out to me and made me think, and I am inviting you to do the same in the comments section below!

  • “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See I am doing a new thing!” (Isaiah 43:18) Coupled with the passage from Philippians 3 about forgetting what is past and straining towards what is ahead, this resonates both with what I have been feeling and what has come up in our church prayer meetings and gatherings recently. While God is always on the move and always doing new things, this is the season I think we are entering into as a church.
  • It is Spring time. There are new blossoms appearing which will lead to fruitfulness. I was out for a walk, praying on a retreat a year or two ago, and a man walked up to me in the middle of a field and said: “Don’t worry, Spring is coming!”, and then walked off again. I believe this is a word from God to us as a church after a period of winter. Spring is coming – and blossoms and fruitfulness!
  • We are to be a house of prayer, a house of worship and a house of breakthrough.
  • God is giving us fresh hope, renewed strength and a new song.
  • We are to redig some old wells and to dig some new ones. In prayer last week, before the Peters came, the phrase “deep wells” kept coming to me.
  • The Bible says we are not to despise prophecy and that we are to weigh it. I have written all of these words down and I and the Elders and the church will be praying into them in the coming weeks and months. More often than not, when God is speaking to us and directing us, we get words and impressions and scriptural confirmation from several sources. Many of the things that David and Greta shared, reiterated and reinforced words and impressions that we have already shared as a church.
  • It was lovely to see people enjoying the presence and the freedom of the Holy Spirit so much and to sense a release of joy in the church. We want o be a joy-filled church!
  • It was very encouraging to have such a good turn out for a weekend seminar. David and Greta commented on what a lovely church we have, what great people, what a generous spirit, and what a hunger for more of God. These are things that I also feel strongly, and am greatly encouraged by.
  • If you feel that God spoke to you in any way, encouraged you, touched you – write it down, pray into it and press into it! And remember that GOD IS ABLE!
  • Feel free to share your thoughts and testimonies in the comments section below!

Sheila Strolz said...

Posted on Wednesday, 1 July, 2015 @ 11:39 AM -
They confirmed many things I've thought the Lord was saying but much more than that they ignited a fresh faith for intercessary prayer, in particular for my family. I've taken the promises I've received over the years and am using them as weapons.

Julie Nash said...

Posted on Friday, 19 June, 2015 @ 8:08 PM -
David and Greta were such a divine appointment for us as a church last year, bringing a great message to stir up our hope. It was so encouraging to have them come back again and build on that hope, speaking life into us both as a body and as individuals.

The promise of springtime seems to have been a theme for many of us, which builds my faith about the 'new thing' that God is doing. I am praying for eyes to see the blossom and for God's protection over us in the days ahead .... that we can bear much fruit.

Their encouragement to us about what a tremendous church we have, full of people that love Jesus and love to serve in His Kingdom reminds me how privileged I feel to be a part of this body at this time.

Thank you to all those who served in any way this weekend to make this conference possible.

Rob said...

Posted on Thursday, 18 June, 2015 @ 12:42 PM -
On this day, 18 June, 200 years ago the Battle of Waterloo raged unleashing unimaginable slaughter upon the troops who found themselves there. I am reading Bernard Cornwell's account of the battle and it was truly a terrible event as all battles are. The day was won by acts of God, courage and tactics. Tactics changed to meet the next onslaught. The troops would move from square formation to column or line depending on the next threat. The square formation was adopted to repel cavalry charges which would move to line formation to repel infantry all requiring great discipline as these manoeuvres, under murderous fire, left troops vulnerable as they were carried out.

Listening to David Peters I picked up on his message regarding the church taking on the mantle of an Apostolic mission, a transforming mission. As the Spiritual battle for hearts and minds rages on in the heavenly's I was drawn to this message of a change in "tactics". I can't say I understand the mechanics of how this change can be adopted, but I am believing for the influence of the Church to grow by the power of the Holy Spirit to bring light into a darkening world. If we require to change our tactics then I pray that God would reveal this to His church and we would be willing, regardless of our own views, to manoeuvre into position at His prompting.

Brian Green said...

Posted on Wednesday, 17 June, 2015 @ 9:42 PM -
Hi folks I enjoyed my time with them again. I came away with a couple of different things. Firstly about abundance and the generosity of God. As a dad I love giving more to my kids than they expect and seeing their delight. By the way I have just been offered a job where I will be getting slightly more than we need - how good is that?
Secondly They talked about Hope. Apart from Love, having a dynamic sense of hope is like a fragrance. Sometimes I walk past women who have a lovely perfume and it snatches me away from what I was thinking about and I think about the aroma I'm walking through. I want the hope that I carry to be like that for folk around me.

Janice Franklin said...

Posted on Wednesday, 17 June, 2015 @ 8:16 PM -
Prayer and prophesy are the gifts I love, and I am always eager to be first in the queue to hear what God is saying to the church.
We had a great weekend, with dramatic moves of the Holy Spirit, but what also thrilled me was the still small voice of God, the gentle breath of the Holy Spirit, those that I could see had atmosphere shifts overnight, and someone nearby telling me that for the first time, they had understood what relationship with God meant, and this had already changed their prayer life!
Astoundingly, Greta described a time where she saw lions everywhere and felt that God was speaking to her about 'The lion of the tribe of Judah' from Hosea 11 v 10 'They shall go after the Lord; He will roar like a lion; and when He roars, His children shall come trembling from the West.....and I will return them to their homes, declares the LORD, ' in the context of the next coming move of God 'Fire'. I shared with her that I had had the same picture/ vision of a lion and had seen lions everywhere I went. I also felt that it referred to the Lion of the tribe of Judah and had the same verse in Hosea 11 v 10 which I shared by email with others. She was so relieved that her prophesy had been confirmed! Greta was relieved.........!!!

Sent from Janice iPad

Nicki Kitto said...

Posted on Wednesday, 17 June, 2015 @ 5:16 PM -
I love Springtime. It's my favourite season, so I particularly love that David and Greta prophesied to the Church about it.

During winter everything looks dead and all feels bleak and drab.

But I often forget, it is during this season of winter that everything is gaining unseen strength and is slowly building momentum to burst into life when Springtime comes to bring all of its beauty and fruitfulness.

I am reminded of the verse in Ephesians 5:14 when it talks about the sleeper arising and Christ shining on them.

Maybe it is time to wake up and stretch ourselves towards the light that is Jesus ready to burst into fruit laden blossom.

joe raper said...

Posted on Wednesday, 17 June, 2015 @ 2:47 PM -
meditating on Eph 3-20, and refering to Mathew Henry ,"the power
which works in us."He reminds us that the same power that all the
saints in the NT had, is in us.

Matt F said...

Posted on Wednesday, 17 June, 2015 @ 11:38 AM -
Sounds like it was good. Good and bad spirit stuff underlies and influences so much of our lives, so we shouldn't pretend its not there, or turn a blind eye to it. Also, we shouldn't be drawn into a mechanistic perspective of people as being simply an intelligent computer devoid of spiritual meaning or significance.

"...You hear its sound, but you can't tell where it comes from or where its going..."

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The Lord's Prayer

Posted by Geoff Lee on Tuesday, 9 June, 2015 @ 11:47 AM

In our Sunday evening services, we have been looking at and thinking about prayer. This last Sunday evening, the youth team directed our thoughts again to the Lord’s Prayer – the prayer that Jesus gave to his disciples in response to their request: “Lord teach us to pray.”

The Lord’s Prayer has been front and centre of Christian thought on prayer for the nearly two thousand years since the disciples made this request. It is part of the catechisms and is a foundational part of Christian teaching on prayer.

The first half of the prayer focuses on God, the second half focuses on us. It is always good to have God as the starting point and focus of our prayer life.

Many people have learned to recite the prayer off by heart, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But the prayer that Jesus taught us is a pattern – a template for prayer if you like.

Martin Luther would often start his praying by “riffing” on the Lord’s Prayer; meditating on the individual lines, thinking around them, praying them – sometimes following a stream of thought as he felt that the Holy Spirit was preaching to him! There are some good modern thoughts and contemplations around the Lord’s Prayer here. 

I have been using the Lord’s Prayer much more in my own prayer life, turning over the individual lines in my mind, meditating on aspects of them, using this as a starting point for my time with God. I have also started talking to my children about it at our breakfast devotions. We take a line and we talk about it and think about it. It is a great starting point for learning how to pray – straight from the mouth of Jesus.

In the coming blogs, I will think about and write about some of the different aspects of the prayer and how to integrate these into your own prayer life.

matt fish said...

Posted on Saturday, 13 June, 2015 @ 2:03 PM -
Looking forward to forthcoming blogs. Could you add a 'like ' box to the blogs?

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Coming soon!

Posted by Megan Crotty on Thursday, 16 April, 2015 @ 1:28 PM

We hope you all enjoyed Geoff Lee's daily blog during our 40 Days campaign, it was great to see so many people reading and responding everyday. Following the success of the blog during this period Geoff is going to be writing a weekly blog, which he will upload every Monday (as of 27 April.) Please continue to read it and leave your comments! 

DAY 40

Posted by Geoff Lee on Sunday, 29 March, 2015 @ 7:57 AM

Psalm 1:1-6

“[The man/woman who delights in and meditates on the word]

is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he/she does prospers.”

 

Well done!

You have completed the 40 day challenge.

Thanks to everyone who has participated in any way. Thanks to the readers and commenters to this blog.

You may have been very industrious and consistent (congratulations to Lydia for posting every day for 40 days, even from America! – have a nice time y’all), or a little hit and miss. You may have loved every minute, or had a bit of a roller coaster ride.

But it’s okay.

I like what Eugene Peterson says in this regard:

“All the persons of faith I know are sinners, doubters, uneven performers. We are secure not because we are sure of ourselves but because we trust that God is sure of us.”

Uneven performers.

I can identify with that.

And based on the fact that my most commented-on blog post of the 40 days was the day I expressed my frustrations and failure, I think most of you can too!

So let’s be very clear (I’m beginning to sound like a politician!) – 40 days of the Word is not going to turn you into a Super Christian, with a shiny B on your chest for Bible Man/Woman!

But I do hope that it has opened your eyes to see wonderful things in God’s law. I hope it has reminded you of the treasures that are in God’s word. (I liked Rob’s description of 40 days being like finding an old trunk in the attic.)

40 days is just the trellis.

Jesus is the vine.

And we can go on developing a rich and real relationship with him in the ebb and flow of our daily life and walk with God.

We are not automatons. We are children of the living God.

May you be filled with a delight and desire for God’s word and his presence. May his word continue to be a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path.

May his words go to your heart and thrive there.

Steven adjei said...

Posted on Sunday, 29 March, 2015 @ 11:07 PM -
It's great to have a head pastor who 'keeps it real'and 'down with it' (forgive my borrowing of the phrases from the hip hop music scene) but I have had struggles with it too. Not with the content (which was brilliant) or my home group ( who were fantastic) but with myself. I haven't finished even half of it, but I made a VIM this morning- I'm gonna finish that book, and help my kids with theirs.

I know I love Hod and his family deeply, and I want to be more of what he wants me to be.

Jen said...

Posted on Sunday, 29 March, 2015 @ 9:30 PM -
Thank you Geoff!! Have thoroughly enjoyed this process (Ok so i'm technically still on day 38/39 with my group). Your posts have been fun to read, inspiring, honest, and challenging. I really appreciate your openness, and that includes those who also blogged and shared their hearts / thoughts.

I have learned more about myself and discovered hearing devotionals online during my lunch breaks, when able, is a great way to re-focus energy and attitudes in an environment that seem to be so opposite to what we believe.
Very grateful for these 40 days. x

Rob said...

Posted on Sunday, 29 March, 2015 @ 3:15 PM -
Thanks Geoff for this blog, it has certainly added incredible value to this 40 day journey.

Some time ago I was in Mobile Alabama and I can remember this huge billboard and all it had written on it was "Get back to the Bible".
I never forgot those words and I penned a song to capture them. Hope its not too long.

"Few now know what is right anymore, and fewer know what is wrong, and few now read the signs anymore, they just keep on tumbling along. And the road is wide up that steep old hill and our vision will often get blurred, yet few ever stop, few ever turn to the truth that is in God's word.

Chorus: Lets get back to the bible, lets get back to the bible, its the word of truth in a lying world and its the word of God to me.

Now the bible has stood the test of time as only the truth really can. His word His Son our redeeming light to touch the hearts of man. And the worlds wisest men never cease to be wise, yet seldom will they agree, while one says yes another says no, yet God's word holds the truth for me.

Lets take time to look beyond ourselves and to seek a different way, a narrow path through pastures green where God's word will bring light to your day. And the sounds are sweet ad the air smells clear and you sing a different song, and your new found joy is the strength you'll feel and your song will just go on and on".

I have enjoyed the past 40 days and look forward to the next part of the journey. Thanks again Geoff and the team and to God who makes all things possible.

"Get back to the Bible".

Lydia said...

Posted on Sunday, 29 March, 2015 @ 10:51 AM -
Thank you Pastor Geoff for leading us through these 40DITW. It has been refreshing and challenging. I love the fact that we have had time and focus on getting to grips with how to study and meditate on God's Word. We are like an army moving forward equipped.
Our children have also been challenged and encouraged.

Psalm 1
I will be happy when I spend my time reading God's word, letting it infiltrate my thought life. As I meditate on God's words my foundations and roots will grow and strengthen and I will stand strong in time of storms and drought.
Thank you Lord that you watch over me and as I read your word help me to make the right choices and decisions to follow what your word says.
Psalm 1
I will be happy when I spend my time reading God's word, letting it infiltrate my thought life. As I meditate on God's words my foundations and roots will grow and strengthen and I will stand strong in time of storms and drought.
Thank you Lord that you watch over me and as I read your word help me to make the right choices and decisions to follow what your word says.

Marc said...

Posted on Sunday, 29 March, 2015 @ 9:44 AM -
I have found the blog a great source of insight and encouragement. Thank you Geoff for your constant words of wisdom, your poetry and your honesty. The last 40 days have been really helpful in opening up the bible to show us all different ways of getting more from the words we read and I have found the simplicity of of the approach that we have been taught are now tools that I can continue to use when I read the bible for they are easy to remember. I listened this morning to the service from a kirk in Edinburgh that centred on the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. As Jesus sat astride a donkey on his mock procession entering the gates of power akin to riding a tractor along Pall Mall, he showed that the symbols of his Kingdom were built on humility and service not on pomp, pride and displays of earthly wealth. The gospel highway is a path of sacrifice and service. May the words of Christ dwell in me richly as I hide them within my heart and be someone who obeys the word building my life on a sure foundation as they are a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

Julie said...

Posted on Sunday, 29 March, 2015 @ 8:32 AM -
Thanks Geoff for blogging consistantly through this 40 days and thank you to all the other bloggers, old and young, for your pearls of wisdom and revelation and for your honesty and vulnerability. For me the blog has really enhanced our sense of community as we have journeyed this study together and I feel like I know some if you a little better than before:-)

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DAY 39

Posted by Geoff Lee on Saturday, 28 March, 2015 @ 7:55 AM

Psalm 1:1-6

“[The man/woman who delights in and meditates on the word]

is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he/she does prospers.”

 

One more day to go! Time flies when you are having fun.

As we approach the end of 40 days, the question inevitably arises:

“What happens next?”

It’s a well-known fact that a lot of people who go on a diet can focus for a season and lose weight. They may even be able to reach their “target weight”. But many people then struggle to maintain what they have achieved. They put all the weight back on again!

Maintaining is just as difficult as changing your diet and losing your weight.

Now that we have focused for 40 days on the Word of God, have practised daily reading and meditation and prayer, the challenge we face is to continue – to maintain our walk with the Lord.

And not to return to bad habits.

This weekend I will be talking about what happens next. I will be talking about approaching this with VIM (an old-fashioned word for energy and enthusiasm).

VIM stands for …

Vision

Intention

Means

I think that 40 days has given us a fresh vision of how we can engage with God’s word. It has opened our eyes to see wonderful things in God’s law. We can have a sense of enthusiasm and vision of developing and maintaining a daily habit of time alone with God.

That’s the vision.

But then you also need the intention. The decision. The resolution. The determination. I am going to continue in God’s word. I am going to maintain godly habits. I am going to delight in this book. I am going to create the time and place and space in my life. I am going to prioritise this.

That’s the intention.

Finally, you need the means. How are you going to do this? What plan are you going to put in place? What are you going to read next? How are you going to share what you have learned with others? How are you going to stay accountable? What is going to happen on DAY 41?

Vision and intention without means leads to fuzzy daydreams that will dissolve into thin air.

We will be looking very practically this weekend at what to do next.

Come with a pen and paper.

Make a plan.

From now on, I am going to be a man or a woman of the Word!

Lydia said...

Posted on Saturday, 28 March, 2015 @ 12:43 AM -
Paraphrase Psalm 1 comes from The Message
Psalm 1 The Message (MSG)

How well God must like you—
you don’t hang out at Sin Saloon,
you don’t slink along Dead-End Road,
you don’t go to Smart-Mouth College.
Instead you thrill to God’s Word,
you chew on Scripture day and night.
You’re a tree replanted in Eden,
bearing fresh fruit every month,
Never dropping a leaf,
always in blossom.
You’re not at all like the wicked,
who are mere windblown dust—
Without defense in court,
unfit company for innocent people.
God charts the road you take.
The road they take is Skid Row.

I love the use of the words used, especially sin saloon. this paraphrase is very expressive.

1 more day to go. I have loved this paraphrase method the most. This is a new thing for me but a method I will definately use alot more. Biblegateway website has helped with this method.

Ibukun Awe (red zone) said...

Posted on Saturday, 28 March, 2015 @ 5:17 PM -
All of the method were helpful and I'll stick to it

Beth (red zone) said...

Posted on Saturday, 28 March, 2015 @ 3:17 PM -
Sometimes I find the bible hard to read but 40 days has shown me that there are different ways of doing it.

abbie marlow said...

Posted on Saturday, 28 March, 2015 @ 10:34 AM -
The six weeks that have gone past have made me come closer to god I feel really touched by the talk in kidzone. This week will be the best week of the forty days in the word. this has been the best experience in my life.

Roy said...

Posted on Saturday, 28 March, 2015 @ 10:27 AM -
Here is the challenge and the privilege. In a world where the reality for many is a treasured scrap of scripture or even memorised verses to sustain them, we have the life guidance and joy of the entire Bible at our fingertips.
Thank you Jesus for these past weeks... Please help me to continue in good habits formed during the 40 days programme so your word will equip me to better serve and please you. Pen and paper at the ready Geoff!

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DAY 38

Posted by Geoff Lee on Friday, 27 March, 2015 @ 6:26 AM

Psalm 1:1-6 and Romans 10:17

“Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God”

I am going to focus on the video devotional content today from Pastor Kurt Johnston, which was very good – one of the best I have heard in 40 days. He is considering the passage from Romans 10:17  -  “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God”.

What we hear, what we pay attention to, has a great effect on our lives, on our beliefs and on our behaviour. Kurt told us how his dad always used to say to him: “You are all that and a bag of chips! (American English for crisps)” A slightly odd saying, no doubt, but you could get the gist of how Kurt listened to the praise and affirmation of his father and believed it.

In the same way, our heavenly Father wants us to pay close attention to his word and, as a result, our faith will be greatly affected and strengthened.

What we are listening to affects everything. When we listen to the wrong narratives, and believe them…

“You’re nothing but a loser…” “Nobody likes you…” “Everybody ignores you…” “God can never use you…” “Nobody cares about you…” “Church is a waste of time…”

Whatever it is – if we listen to it, and believe it, we will live by it.

We can listen to lots of voices….Twitter, Facebook, Newspapers, Magazines, Internet sites, TV, Radio, other social media, peers, friends, Satan (who is called the accuser of the brethren)….

(By the way, if you spend a lot of time accusing fellow believers, and judging their faults, you are probably in agreement with the devil. There’s a thought.)

Not every voice we are listening to is helping us, building faith in us, painting a picture of who we really are in Christ.

Are these voices helping me grow my faith?

We need to allow God’s voice to rise above the rest, because when it does, our faith will be increased in wonderful ways.

This is what Psalm 1 is all about….”Blessed is the man who does NOT walk in the counsel of the wicked…” He’s careful who he listens to. Instead, he meditates on the law of the Lord.”

Hopefully, 40 days has helped some of us recalibrate what and who we are listening to.

I don’t want us to lose this balance. Because faith comes from hearing, and hearing from the word of God.

You are all that…and a bag of chips!!!

Lydia said...

Posted on Friday, 27 March, 2015 @ 12:58 AM -
Psalm 1
Attitude to change: that I WILL delight, be overjoyed and thrilled to read my Bible.
Command: that I will meditate on the word.
Prayer: Lord give me a desire to read and meditate on your word.

Spacepets: I feel this is the hardest method.

Julie Nash said...

Posted on Friday, 27 March, 2015 @ 10:32 PM -
I have just discovered 'The Voice' version for the Bible and it brought this Psalm to life for me... I love the way God is called 'the Eternal'

Psalm 1
'God’s blessings follow you and await you at every turn:
when you don’t follow the advice of those who delight in wicked schemes,
When you avoid sin’s highway,
when judgment and sarcasm beckon you, but you refuse.
For you, the Eternal’s Word is your happiness.
It is your focus—from dusk to dawn.
You are like a tree, planted by flowing, cool streams of water that never run dry.
Your fruit ripens in its time;
your leaves never fade or curl in the summer sun.
No matter what you do, you prosper.
For those who focus on sin, the story is different.
They are like the fallen husk of wheat, tossed by an open wind, left deserted and alone.
In the end, the wicked will fall in judgment;
the guilty will be separated from the innocent.
Their road suddenly will end in death,
yet the journey of the righteous has been charted by the Eternal'

Rob said...

Posted on Friday, 27 March, 2015 @ 9:12 AM -
I was drawn to the Old Testament practice of building an altar at a given point on a journey and then never going back beyond it. We climb mountains in pitches or stages sometimes stopping over night before moving on. In my life I have had chapters, good mainly, and the occasional bad. Chapters end and new ones begin, sometimes, by the grace of God we close chapters and open new ones in order to move on. Now the end of war is not always the beginning of peace but the principle of ending and new beginning goes on. Jesus gave me the opportunity to start again, His resurrection power in me gives me the power to grow better, with His help, day by day and to produce fruit in season. Jesus says I am better than I feel myself to be and surely He knows better than I. On 31 May 2014 I took Phil 4v 8 and built an altar. What a new chapter this has been thus far. I know that things can change but I am confident that the fruit I bear now will be just what is required for any new chapter and I pray that like Paul I will say "that in each circumstance that I find my self I will praise the Lord". I pray that we are all on the right page today and if not for the vision and courage to build an altar and move on, Amen.

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DAY 37

Posted by Geoff Lee on Thursday, 26 March, 2015 @ 6:31 AM

Psalm 1:1-6

“[The man/woman who delights in and meditates on the word]

is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he/she does prospers.”

As we meditate on Psalm 1 for the week, today we are asked to use the “picture it” method. So, in my mind’s eye, I pictured a tree by streams of water in the different seasons, and then I used poetry to try to express what I saw….

 

Fruit in season

Birds darting, bees dancing, sun sparkling and pushing through

Boughs weighed down with summer’s

Speckled lush provision and canopies of colour,

Reaching down and running fertile fingers through

Chortling and laughing streams of water.

Flowing, growing, singing, dancing

Life is here

 

Leaves falling, wind whispering, cobalt blue skies

Lighting up fading carpets of golden glory and

Glistening and reflective waters hushed quiet,

Hinting at wintery days ahead, the birds and the bees

Have departed

Slowing, glowing, falling, recalling

Life is here

 

Silver and greying, swaying under charcoal blackened sultry skies

Rain falling, stumbling and tumbling over

Stripped and ripped branches, resigned and recoiling under

Nimbus onslaught, vulnerable and exposed, next to

Silenced streams

Flailing, railing, hiding, residing

Life is here.  

 

Buds peaking, titmice screeching, branches creaking and

Unfurling as they awaken, stretching in the sunlight,

Basking in bright birdsong, announcing the rites of spring

Darkness is smeared with streaks of clear blue and yellow hue

Humming hazy warmth hovers over the skipping stream

Waking, reaching, coping, hoping

Life is here.

Steven Adjei said...

Posted on Sunday, 29 March, 2015 @ 11:12 PM -
I love that psalm. And I love that poem.

There is so much noise around us- noise that deafens the still quiet persistent call of God in our souls, deep down in our spirits.

We need to tilt our ears- and listen. And be quiet. And listen. And love his word. and listen.

I find it hard, because most times I'm in a rush, but God refuses to abide by our timetable.

We need to abide with his.

And listen.

Jen said...

Posted on Friday, 27 March, 2015 @ 11:15 PM -
I am sat in my sisters home, in Cornwall. Everyone has gone to bed, it's quiet, and the fire is dwindling out, I hear the chimney whistle and whirl as it blows a gale outside. "The wicked are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind". I can imagine it.

I can picture the Lord soaring above like an eagle, His big-perfect vision eyes are watching the path of the godly. Nothing gets past him, while I am reminded of that scripture Heb 4 v 12 - Gods word is sharper than any two edged sword.

jill said...

Posted on Thursday, 26 March, 2015 @ 12:59 AM -
Yesterday, when i woke, I felt tired. I'd had a busy and productive week but I was weary. I was glad that I was going to spend the day with my lovely daughter-in-law, Claire, in Walkhampton. I felt that the Lord was telling me to meditate on Psalm 1 throughout the day as I enjoyed the springtime beauty of the countryside and to allow him to replenish me.

The weather was bright and sunny as we set off for a long walk, taking Beau her little dog with us. The scenery was lush, the hedgerows and banks resplendent with primroses, snowdrops and daffodils cheering our way. We paused to say hello to Bella, her horse, over the hedge before setting off up hill and down dale, crossing rivers and streams, drinking in the absolute beauty of our surroundings, delighting in the sights and sounds of nature - the birds singing, the ewes with their lambs frolicking, the buzzards soaring and the cows ruminating (Rick Warren style)!
As we walked the Lord brought to mind scriptures reflected in this scenery - from Luke, James, the Psalms and Isaiah. I knew that God was nourishing my soul. I felt so blessed.

Soon after our hike it was time to collect my lovely grandsons from school - full of chatter, cheek and fun! I curled up on the settee and fell asleep cuddling them.

Later, as I waited for the bus home I noticed the village war memorial and I reflected on how short this life is and how blessed we are that Jesus died for us.

I returned home refreshed and replete, so thankful to God for my life now.

When I read Geoff's beautiful poem it reminded me of this lovely blessed day.



Lydia said...

Posted on Thursday, 26 March, 2015 @ 10:10 PM -
Picture it: a tree bearing fruit. It needs substantial roots. We need to water our souls by soaking ourselves in the God's word. As we do our roots and foundations strengthen and give us stability. When windy days come our lives will not fall but will be strong.

Beth Lee Red Zone said...

Posted on Thursday, 26 March, 2015 @ 8:32 PM -
My name is Beth and I am in Red Zone. I don't always enjoy Forty Days in the Word- but this method is different for me to the rest in a good way.
I love reading and writing- and I often have an exact picture of the scenes in the book from the author's descriptions. So the Picture It method has helped me to visualise the bible and enjoy it. This poem has been especially helpful because it gives more of an understandable version of the verse. I like Picture It and will try to use it in the future!

William Hargrave Red Zone said...

Posted on Thursday, 26 March, 2015 @ 4:36 PM -
This is the last time I will be blogging in the 40 Days in the Word blog so I will miss it; because I love writing and I want to be an author when I'm older.
This weeks colouring sheet does not have a story. However it does have a "picture it" and a "personalise and pray it" and a verse from Psalm 119 verse 105, Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. The "picture it" box asked us to make the whole house as dark as possible. It askes us to think about how the bible helps us to know the right thing to do. I thought about when I go to sleep and my room is pitch black. I hate the dark so I get really scared at night. I usually ask my mum or dad to turn the light on that is outside my bedroom and after that I feel safe and secure. If we have the word of God in our lives we have no fears for God guides us. I will personalise the verse. William, my word is a lamp to your feet and a light to your path.
Dear God,
Thank you that you love me and please help me and my family to read the bible so that it will help us to see the right choices to make.
Amen.

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DAY 36

Posted by Geoff Lee on Wednesday, 25 March, 2015 @ 6:28 AM

Psalm 1:1-6

“[The man/woman who delights in and meditates on the word]

is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he/she does prospers.”

Planted – solid, eco systems, networks, longevity, seasons, rootedness, stability

Streams of water – refreshing, nourishing, outside life, ebb and flow, life-giving, sustaining

Fruit in season – fruitfulness, at the right time, seasonal, again and again, cyclical

Leaf does not wither – ongoing life, vitality, freshness, sustainability

Whatever he does – across the board, no matter what, every area of life, integrity

Prospers – success as God sees success, life and health and wellbeing, shalom

Not so the wicked….they are like chaff that the wind blows away. Dried out chaff. Here today gone tomorrow. Lightweight. Gone with a gust of wind. A change in fashion. A quirk of culture.

Do you want to be rooted, refreshed and replenished?

Or dried out and blown about by every gust of change and every whimsical wind of culture and popular demand?

Do you want fruit growing, leaves with sap rising, fresh waters flowing?

Or a husk of a dried-out life, all hollowed out and empty in the middle?

You have a choice.

Walk in the counsel of the wicked. Listen to the wisdom of this world. The counsel of culture. Television truth.

Or walk in the counsel of God. Meditate on his words. Delight in them.

One is futile.

The other is fruitful.

“Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night.” (NLT

Steven Adjei said...

Posted on Sunday, 29 March, 2015 @ 11:27 PM -
Talking about television truth that Geoff mentioned, I was horrified to come across an interview on Stephen Fry where he gives his opinion on God. You can see it here:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=-suvkwNYSQo

and it shows how anti - God most of our day to day celebrities are.
That why we need to focus on the cleaning power of Gods word. It's so easy to get sucked in our world around us, and we need his word to fill our hearts., and his truth to continually help us to filter out the godless rubbish ( bible calls it godless chatter) so it makes us more and more godly.

Help us, Lord.


Mary said...

Posted on Thursday, 26 March, 2015 @ 5:09 PM -
Psalm 1 always remind me of Psalm 112:1-10 where it speaks of the blessed state of the righteous. Blessed ( happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man who fears (reveres and worships) the Lord, who delights greatly in His commandments. I am reminded that no promises of God is without responsible action on my part and doing what He says. Then I shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season .... And whatever I do shall prosper. This includes everything: Psalm 112 v 2 His descendants will be mighty on the earth. ... Prosperity and welfare, righteousness .. Light arises out of darkness ... Conducts his affairs. He will not be moved etc etc .. He shall not be afraid... The Bible is that compass that guides us how to live the abundant life CHRIST for us to enjoy. How can I refuse such promises, by disobeying His precepts, even when I go through the winter season... Spring is on its way and babbling brooks, rivers and streams come alive again. Thank you Lord!!

Lydia said...

Posted on Wednesday, 25 March, 2015 @ 5:39 PM -
Psalm 1 v 2

Blessed / happy / content
IS THE ONE WHO
delights / thrills / finds joy
in the law / scripture / God's words
AND
meditates / chews it over / mulls it over / obeys
IT
Day and night/ all the time / every waking hour

(delete as appropriate)

Pronounce it method: 7/10

Jenny said...

Posted on Wednesday, 25 March, 2015 @ 11:00 AM -
I remember memorising this Psalm as a child. 40 Days has really reminded me of how important it is to plant the word of God in the next generation, and I'm so thankful to my parents and their friends who showed Jesus to me. This church has shown me that you don't have to be a parent to do that and I'm really grateful to all the people who have sown into ours kids' lives over the years, through Sunday School, Kidzone, Kidz Klub, Source youth or by simply befriending them. You often don't see the fruit till years later, so a big "thank you!" to all of you. :)

Rob said...

Posted on Wednesday, 25 March, 2015 @ 7:50 AM -
I just read that in order to be called a psalm words must be accompanied by musical instruments. A song can be sung without music but a psalm will be accompanied. Bit like my life, I need to be accompanied, God's Spirit, word and family, seem to strike the right chord in me. The word delight has cropped up quite a lot during 40 days. It reminds me of one of my favourite scriptures, psalm 37 v4. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. The children's worship leader Ishmael gave that verse a very singable tune. In the New Testament another favourite verse of mine is Philippians 4 v8. Finally brethren what ever things are true, whatever things are noble. Whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, what ever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy, meditate on these things (NKJ). I know I will live OK if I can cultivate a delighted frame of mind guided and accompanied by the trustworthy renewer of minds.

Liz Crudgington said...

Posted on Wednesday, 25 March, 2015 @ 7:49 AM -
In yellow zone in Kidzone this week we were learning about the verse talked about in today's video devotional... "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path". We went down to the nursery basement and closed the door behind us and it was dark!

We talked about how living without God's word is like being in the dark. But we took torches with us and we talked about how reading the bible helps us to see more clearly, to know which decisions to make, to begin to see things God's way.

Over the years there have been so many times when teaching children and trying to make things as simple and understandable as possible has really helped me understand a biblical truth! And this Sunday it certainly did. Without God's word in our life we stumble around in the dark. And yet, as the speaker in the video said today, the bible, the written word of God, is so accessible to us. Like switching a torch on. But we still sometimes want more. How do I know what God wants me to do, to behave? What is his will in this situation? It is too easy to overlook the bible, to look for something more. But God gave us his word to light our way, to make our path clear.

A couple of months ago I did a night run. For the uninitiated it simply means running a race in the dark! And we did this in the woods at Plymbridge. I really didn't enjoy it. Not seeing where I was going, not knowing if I was going to trip on a tree root or run through a puddle or mud. I certainly won't be running another one. Not when I can run in daylight!

It's the same with scripture. Why would we continue stumbling through life (and we can do this and still call ourselves Christians if we're not regularly reading our bibles) when the light switch is at our fingertips?

I have really enjoyed 40 days in the word. It has been illuminating. I thank God that we have his word so readily accessible to us and I pray that he will help us all as we finish this series to continue to love it, learn it and live it.

Beth said...

Posted on Wednesday, 25 March, 2015 @ 7:36 AM -
I read this in the message version this morning and it sounds very different but you can tell that it's getting the same message across.

Marc said...

Posted on Wednesday, 25 March, 2015 @ 7:05 AM -
There is a PROMISE inherent in the text that our lives will PROSPER in a multitude of ways 😀 if we MEDITATE and STUDY Gods WORD and take PLEASURE 😍in OBEYING its instructions Our lives will then be a BLESSING to all those who know us because what flows out of us is filled with the wisdom dispensed freely by the CREATOR of all things. PTL 😀

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