Mary, Did You Know?

The song Mary, Did You Know? has become popular as a Christmas song in recent years.  Here’s a nicely done video of Pete Hollens singing it acapella.

The Queen

From Mark Greene:

In the Bible’s accounts of Jesus’ birth, only one person rejects the good news. It’s not the socially-marginalised minimum-wage shepherds, not the old temple widow, not the carpenter and his virgin fiancée… it’s the person with wealth and power. It’s Herod. It’s the king.

In contrast to that, our own Queen is a monarch who, particularly in her Christmas broadcasts, has made her personal allegiance to Christ clear to millions of people. She has identified Him as her inspiration, her anchor and her source of strength in adversity. A wonderful example of a Christian disciple in public life.

There’s a place for them here

Who has God been preparing for Explore?  Who is He asking you to invite along?

Practise the nine words that can change a life:

‘Would… you… like… to… come… to… Church… with… me?’

We could pray for our own courage to invite, for those we are inviting, for other members of the congregation and the people they are inviting.  Pray for Explore leaders, Steve, Leisa and those planning and delivering your Christmas services.

Make the invitation.  Whether the person accepts or not is God’s part of the process, not yours.

Once your friend has said ‘Yes’ to the invitation, go and pick them up.  Walking or driving with them is as much part of being Church as is the act of worship.

Introduce them to your friends over food or coffee.  It is easier to help someone to break into the life of the Church family once they have met others in the Explore community.

Assume your friend is coming next week and invite them again.

‘Shall we do this again next week?’

Condensed from ’12 steps to creating a culture of invitation’, Christianity magazine, December 2015.


Here’s what you must do

From Timothy Keller’s book, Preaching, here are some aspects of a good sermon:

‘Here’s what you must do,’ then ‘Here’s why you can’t do it,’ then ‘Here’s the One who did it for you,’ and finally ‘Here’s how faith in Him enables you to do it too.’ Following this logic in a sermon means that often you bring in practical application in more than one place.

Preaching Tim Keller

A reworking of the John Lewis Christmas ad

Here is a great reworking of the 2015 John Lewis Christmas advertisement that we’ll be using at Chocolate Sunday.  Thought provoking and moving;  it’s about the greatest gift you’ll ever know, that blows your horizons and shows you’re  loved this Christmas.

See you at Chocolate Sunday, this Sunday 29 November, 11.15am at Ottery St Mary Parish Church.

This is the 60 second campaign advertisement that was banned from the UK’s three largest cinema chains.

The Church of England has launched an online campaign to encourage a renewal of prayer life in the nation; but the organisers could not have expected that the launch of its new website would have received quite as much publicity as it has – thanks to a decision by the UK’s three largest cinema chains to ban an advert featuring the Lord’s Prayer.   Continue reading “This is the 60 second campaign advertisement that was banned from the UK’s three largest cinema chains.”

Seven days until Chocolate Sunday!

This will be Church with a chocolate theme, including chocolates, advent calendars, hot chocolate with cream and chocolate cake.  We’ll be exploring Advent and why Jesus came.  Come yourself and invite your friends!

Chocolate Sunday flyer

After Chocolate Sunday, the following three Sundays will further explore the message of Jesus:  Why He came;  Whether He died for everyone; and What it means that He rose from the dead.  How about sticking with us until Christmas?

Chocolate Sunday (3)

Listening Prayer and inner healing (7)

If you have never invited Jesus into a painful memory before, here are some simple, safe, beginning exercises:

  1. Practise finding Jesus in any memory.  Ask the Lord to remind you of a pleasant memory when you felt full of love, joy or peace.    Then ask Jesus to show you where He was then.
  2. Next, practise removing a simple truth-based burden.  Remember a time when you felt a disappointment.  Ask the Lord to show you what the disappointment looked like.  Invite Him to draw near in the memory and lift the burden off.  Practise allowing Him to remove that burden.
  3. Finally, practise removing a simple lie-based pain.  Recall an incident when you were anxious about doing something for the first time (a new school, job, public speaking, and so on).  Find Jesus in that memory.  Tell Him that you’re afraid and why you’re afraid.  See how He responds.  Feel what that does to your anxiety.

Remember, these are not mere techniques;  they are the presence of Jesus in every memory, the Cross of Christ for every burden, and the truth of Christ for every lie.

Can You Hear Me?  Chapter 13.