Friday, March 27, 2009

Getting the sniffles

As always, whenever there is something hugely important going on, I get ill. I get run down, panicked and generally a little ditsy through stress (so apologies if I don't spell check this entry). I can feel myself right now, heating up a little, but I've got cold feet and cold hands, perhaps time to take a couple of cold and flu tablets, to keep my temperature down.

The hugely important thing? I know I've already mentioned it, but I'll say it again, we're in school, doing lessons this week. I do love it, though I am hugely out of practice and know I can't do it without God's power and words. And you know how I know this....

“My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

I've been reading in my Bible notes that we're all given talents, we all have to work at them, but in the end God knows how He wants us to use them (and more importantly when), so we have to step back and say to God 'I can't do this, but I know you can'.

(I use Mettle Bible Reading Notes from YFC, which are aimed at 14-18 year olds, and you may think that is odd, but I haven't come across anything that is specifically written for 20 somethings, that isn't full of patronising stories, some times it works, other times it doesn't, but I still get a structured way of reading the Bible and by the time I'm at a point where I can write bible notes, I'll be patronising to everyone who is 20 something!)

I've stepped back a lot over this month and said 'God you do this, I can't', and I've seen some amazing, mind blowing results.

Last night, we had a full youth group, but only four staff members - that's 16 young people (and one dog), to four adults - normally, we wouldn't open with less than 5 people, but we did, and it was a brilliant night, there weren't any major incidents and despite the change of layout, everyone was fine. I definitely felt God's presence falling on the building. One of our staff members is ill at the moment and he told me that a mix up had occurred a couple of weeks ago and the doctor had told him that he's not as unwell as we first feared. I felt a huge sense of relief and thanks that his treatment could go ahead.

Now we're praying for leaders, we're in desperate need of people to help out on Thursday evenings.

This morning I was at an assembly for the school where my boss is chaplain. It was really good to see him speak and pray over a school that is so close to our church.

Keep praying with us, keep asking God to protect us, at school, at youth group, as full time and part time workers.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Yesterday evening we travelled to Quendon Hall (just outside Ugley - tee hee!) to celebrate the marriage of Laura and Kevin.

That's Me, Laura, Kevin, Mandy and Rob in the Drawing Room when we arrived. Laura was soon whisked away to say goodbye to people. It was a wonderful evening, we shared a dance floor and food (very good). So glad to be invited and although none of us were at the ceremony, we were happy to celebrate with drinks and smiles. I know that this is a good and strong relationship, and we're praying for them both as they start living together!

The other reason I'm celebrating is because we're (Schools Ministry Billericay) in Mayflower School for the next two weeks. So far (and I've only done three lessons) we've had a positive response from everyone and loads of questions from students and teachers. We know that our profile is going to be raised and we pray that what we teach sinks in!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Speaking Out

Once again Bible passages are speaking to me left, right and centre!

I've been reminded recently that

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.

which is from Psalm 23 - the writer is talking to God thanking Him for the protection and shelter that He provides - yet in the midst of that, there's this verse, verse 5, which cuts right to the core. My take on it, after being told that I needed to read it after a particularly hard day, where it seemed that everything had gone wrong and everyone was against me, is that God has spent a lot of time finding the right food, the right bits of information for me and has created a feast in front of the people who hate me the most, those who would like to trip me up, get me angry, upset me. I know that I can be full, when my enemies are starving, if I lean on the Lord, if I trust in Him with all of my heart. I have a really big picture in my head of a table full of food, and with Easter approaching, it's quickly turning into a Passover meal. There's also another element, God has prepared a safe place for me, a feast is rarely laid out where scavengers can get to it, so I don't have to keep looking over my shoulder to protect myself and I can lay down and enjoy it. I think I'm always going to go back to this when I come across really tough situation.

The other passage that has hit me square between the eyes is

Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!

Romans 12:16

I knew that 'live in harmony' was a big thing, and I know it's all about forgiveness and listening to each other, and I try my hardest to, its the next two sentences that made me sit up and listen. A stark reminder that although I know that God loves me and sent His own Son to die for me, I certainly shouldn't act like I've got one-up on everyone nor do I know the whole history of the world and whats to come. I guess though, that the same goes for people who aren't Christian... I think the world would be a better place if some of us learnt that we need to keep find out things and that we're not top of the pile.

The fact that I'm surprised by the verses I've mentioned is a reminder to me that I'm in serious need of some learning!

Monday, March 16, 2009

The end is in sight

For the painters of the lines

The rest of the road has been finished, its just the space underneat* the two cars that have sneakily parked in the road. And by sneakily, I mean, they still didn't put out cones or anything... at the moment though, there are still no restriction signs anywhere to help motorists fathom why the lines have been put down.

I will say it over and over... thinking before acting is a tried and tested method of getting success.

*No not a spelling mistake but a link to a great website!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Oh the evidence

Following on from my last post I have the evidence... it's damning, shameful and yes, ridiculous...

Taken this morning, while I was still in my car as you can tell from the bonnet and windscreen wiper in the picture, but you can just see the 'dashes' of double yellow lines... not that I've seen any notice of the restrictions or what the restrictions actually are. I'm sure I'll find out on Monday. The question still remains though... why, when the road is most definitely going to be empty, haven't the line painters closed the road, and finished the job? Is it safer to paint lines between cars?

I know, I just know that as I drive to work tomorrow, I'm going to see cars parked in the 'empty' spaces. And of course, how are they going to police this restriction?

I've asked the question many a time and have never had a satisfactory answer... I've seen people parked outside school when they absolutely should be penalised - for dangerous, on the kerb parking, and there haven't been any traffic wardens around to issue penalties.

Enough... I promise my next post won't be so ridiculous.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Oh the ridiculousness!

Of the council mainly.... I've been driving around Billericay now for 8 and a half months and I don't think I've ever seen the stupid things that I've seen today. Maybe it is just because I have to concentrate on what is happening now that I spot the strange idiosyncrasies of people who are working for the council by default.

Line painting is my example. We've all seen/heard the stories of people having their cars painted with yellow lines or been given tickets because the traffic warden (or whatever the PC term is for them...I'm not particularly bothered at this time of night) has come round whilst the paint is still wet, and the uproar that it can cause. I get that the lines need to be painted, but really, painting between the cars? I'm partly tempted to go back to the spot where I've seen this an take a photo to show you... in fact if it's still like that on Sunday night I will.

It is stupid, a little fore thought would flag up that the cars are going to be parked there, day in day out, normally during working (or commuting) hours and that they will be removed shortly after 6pm or 7pm. After that time, work can commence or the cones can come out ready for painting the next day... simples (as Aleksandr would put it) but no.

Then there's the guy painting the lines with the road still open... on the estate where I live, it's not to hard to redirect the traffic and not a huge amount of people are going to be annoyed if you divert them for a very good reason. I don't want the person painting the line to get knocked over... as morbid as that sounds, it probably does happen. So shut the road of 5 mins and do it safely!

And finally... would it kill you to pull your trousers up whilst you're the face (arse) of the council? I mean literally of course, because the last thing I need on a Friday morning is to see that!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


The past couple of days I've felt like I'm actually being prepared to do something, to understand something that's coming my way.

For a couple of months I have been slowly coming back to reading the bible everyday, and for the last couple of days the readings and what I've been hearing through other people have been really interesting.

The CGi Women's Conference on Saturday was really powerful, I really like being able to be honest with other people who are in the same situation, who have a few extra years wisdom and can give appropriate advice.

The speakers all had something really important to say... right now I can't remember their names, but there was a lady from Cherish Uganda, who spoke about the work of the Holy Spirit in the village where she runs a community project. She was really aware of the presence of evil - like it was lurking... I've never heard someone describe evil in the way she did. It's really scary, I don't think of evil as lurking, I know something isn't quite right but from evil to be 'hiding behind a bush or something' sends chills down my spine.

We heard from the first black female Baptist president, who talked about King David and the transition of kings from Saul to David, where the community knew that the Lord had left Saul and moved to David, as soon as that happened the loyalty of the armies switched and so did the loyalty of Saul's own sons... if that's what God's power does, then I never want God to leave me.

During the afternoon stream we heard from the lead pastor at CGi Orkney, who used Titanic - a long 13 minute clip of the 3 hour movie - to describe how the church needs to get out of the cruise ship (because it eventually will sink), into the lifeboats and then looking for the lost, going back to those floating in the sea.

It was a great day, some really good times for worship. The rest of the week has been strange. I've had visions and my bible reading this morning was all about history... a whole passage dedicated to the fore fathers and prophets of the Old Testament, my vision was of a rug being woven, that although you can see the detail up close, you have to step away and see the whole pattern to appreciate the beauty of it. At the moment, I know I'm looking really closely at it... And I think I need to step back a bit. Or maybe something is going to be revealed to me soon. Hebrews 11 is a great reminder that as a Christian I've got a huge history of wisdom to draw on and a faith that is centuries old.

I don't know, but I'm excited that God has a plan for me and He's starting to give me little bits of the bigger picture.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

It's only Fair...

It's only fair that during fair trade fortnight we should allow our community to try Fair Trade products... so that's what we've been doing... sharing chocolate, cookies, tea and coffee for free.

So heads up... here's a plate of chocolate to make you hungry/wish you'd never visited my blog/wish you lived in Billericay...

And it's all FREE! We've had a great response from the people coming home from school, some who just want chocolate, others who have stuck around to find out a bit more.

So why not buy some fair trade goods or a banana and be part of Go bananas!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Raising awareness

My sister is doing some fun-draising in her parish, all the details are there in the link...

I'm raising funds in a different way... by raising awareness of several different things this week. Firstly it's fair trade fortnight... so we're holding a couple of cafes at Christ Church and taking part in Go Bananas this Friday... I'm going to have bananas coming out of my ears by the end of the day... but it's all part of your five a day... so give it a go, help a worthy cause, and be part of a world record attempt by registering your group/office/family at Go Bananas!

Secondly, I've been raising awareness for the another group young people I'm working with in Chelmsford. If you've never heard of Envision, it's worth taking a look, by clicking on the link. This year, our project is all about sustainability in the community, creating a recipe book with quick and easy meals, so that during this time of economic downturn, people can find affordable ways of feeding their families. They are Boswell and they are really proud of what they are doing!

So I'm shooting off to Chelmsford to see how the project is going and then coming back to Billericay to work with the fair trade cafe!