Archive | October, 2014

I give

31 Oct

I give

you, something

blue

my bleeding heart, a blood of light, light carolina blue

a heart drained, changed,

waiting for

you

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London update Lulu, october

30 Oct

‘So your contract with Stewardship is two years in London? Two years is a very short time for developing relationships in the UK.’

This was part of my opening conversation with my Vicar from St. Luke’s in Kentish Town, London, In March in February 2013.

 

It has taken Priscilla and me almost two years to fully absorb the full extent and meaning of these words. People have been very open to us here. But I come back to Jon’s words.

 

What is their meaning today, 30 October?

We have committed to stay in London; we need to live and love here.

A long story short.

 

We prayed and sought counsel. Three people who did not really know each other said this sentence exactly to Priscilla and myself:

‘Your work has just began here; we, you have just gotten started.’

To hear this exact phrase from 3 different people in one week we feel & reason it are not individuals speaking but The Lord.

 

So, NYC friends and family know

 

This was the hardest hardest decision we have ever made as a couple. Those who know us know I roll with and into big decisions; Priscilla processes everything. I processed this decision; she made a relatively quick decision

Learning point: we change; he leads; we grow

 

So…

 

Some new news

We have to move from Hampstead for a variety of reasons; it has been a beautiful time here but we need to move

 

Our new flat is 49 York Street # 2 in Westminster W1H 1PU. It is as Central London in a nice area-(our Tube stop is Bakers street!) and we are ten minutes by Tube from Paddington station and right by both Hyde and Regents parks.

Our landlords are a lovely lovely Christian couple. The husband is an Elder in a PCA church in the UK (one of the few here) we hopefully will be there 10 December.

 

Stewardship is renewing my contract and is giving me great flexibility in timing and working from home. (In the /our States home) My latest writings you can register and see

here

(Ctrl+Click the above here)

Priscilla spoke at St Luke’s on 20 October for the women’s meeting on vulnerability from chapters 1 & 2 of Nehemiah.

 

Sadly, Priscilla fell on 23 October and broke her wrist in 3 places. Hospital care here is great; lovely. She has 2 plates in her arm and is resting and recovery. Simply put: she tripped.

But as my friend Ben said: She got three broken bones in her wrist; Boy I would hate to see the other guys face

 

He looks bad.

 

We are well.

 

Love

what women have taught me, part 1

23 Oct

women have taught me, what?

 

Mum, that ‘mothers will forget their children.’ Isaiah 49:15-16. It is not a question in the original Hebrew, but a Statement.

 

Barbara, a reflection on enduring love, even in unfaithfulness. Hosea 11:8 ‘How can I give you up, Ephraim? … My heart is changed within me; all my compassion is aroused.’

 

Priscilla, healing from Psalm 126, ‘When the Lord restored the fortunes of[a] Zion, we were like those who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy…’

 

Pepper, my dog, unconditional love, Proverbs 19: 22a ‘What a man desires is unfailing love…’

Philemon, the 2nd of three studies

23 Oct

Outline for Session 2

– introduction

Design for relationship, a study with Philemon’

Purpose: the purpose of this relationship study is to deepen the understanding and character of each participant by providing an enriching experience with a biblical perspective.

 

This relationship study #2 is built on a core idea: questioning a text. In study #2 (two) participants will a bible text (Philemon) and then applying understandings from this process to some of life’s practical issues. By questioning a group, or an individual; partners or a community then explore the biblical text or passage through their questions. With application, understanding from this process is placed into practical life situations. Study questions fall into two categories, essential questions and informational questions. These two question sets work not in separate silos, but together. Answer one informational question, and that question and its answer will point you to an essence, to an essential question. How do these questions work together? Informational questions fall into the following cycle: who, what when, where. The 4 Basic W’s. An example: Where is Paul a prisoner? Who is he a physical prisoner of? Whom does Paul identify as his prisoner? What was his prison like?

-background

Paul is writing from a Roman prison. During his time in chains he has shared the Gospel of Jesus with a runaway slave whom he probably had some knowledge of from Colossi, Onesimus. Philemon was the owner of this household slave and had a church meeting in his house. Undoubtedly, Onesimus took something from the house and travelled a great distance to escape being a slave. Paul has convinced him to go back and be received as a Christian brother in Philemon’s household.

Addition background here, http://www.christianinconnect.com/philemon.htm

 

-essential question

An essential question is constructed from this information to ask an open response, a multiple response question. For example, why does Paul call himself ‘a prisoner of Christ Jesus?’ (v.1) there should be multiple responses to this question; and, where there are multiple possible responses; there can be no one ‘right’ answer. Diversity in response is part of the richness of a good essential question.

All essential questions must be carefully constructed with chosen language that illustrates two “essences.” First, an essential question reflects the essence of a person’s desire. Second, the language of the questions reveals the essence of a person’s character. By their nature, there is no ‘right or wrong’ answer to an essential question.

The essential question for our Philemon relationship study session #2 is,

eq: What is Paul calling Philemon to do? And how is Philemon to do it?

A possible one word answer to this question is ‘restoration.’ Paul wants restoration of relationship between Philemon and Onesimus, his servant slave; Onesimus and the God; Philemon and his house church/community. A definition of restoration is,

“The action of returning something to a former owner, place, or condition”

Example, “the restoration of Andrew’s sight” from Oxford English Dictionary

Another possible answer could be ‘new beginnings’. Philemon and Onesimus are starting over in a new relationship. ‘Love’ can be another answer; ‘Forgiveness’ yet a fourth response. Each of these words/phrases can be traced back to a specific verse in the passage. I then can be asked or ask myself: why do I (or another) choose this word or phrase? The point in both framing and answering an essential question is to use the scripture to develop multiple responses as both an individual and in a small group. How is this done? Let’s consider two core steps in each session.

-unpacking the Bible passage

identify a key verse– how is this done this? There are many ways.

  • Look for phrases or words that repeat in a passage
  • Underscore each and every time a ‘but’ is used. This indicates a transition or change.
  • Pray over a passage and go with your instinct as you read for what verse(s) really strike you.
  • Use different translations and check for a word that is difficult to translate. Verse 12 in Philemon has such a word and this is the method we are using in this study to ‘unpack’ the scripture. Here is this verse in the three translations.

I am sending him—who is my very heart—back to you. NIV 12

While here in jail, I’ve fathered a child, so to speak. And here he is, hand-carrying this letter—Onesimus! He was useless to you before; now he’s useful to both of us. I’m sending him back to you, but it feels like I’m cutting off my right arm in doing so. I wanted in the worst way to keep him here as your stand-in to help out while I’m in jail for the Message. But I didn’t want to do anything behind your back, make you do a good deed that you hadn’t willingly agreed to. 12-14 the Message

Whom I did send again, and thou him (that is, my own bowels) receive, 1:13 whom I did wish to retain to myself, that in thy behalf he might minister to me in the bonds of the good news, 1:12 Young’s Literal Translation

Now back to the essential question, what is Paul calling Philemon to do? And how is Philemon to do it?

Note that the above possible sample responses shared in eq section of this study (‘restoration’; ‘new beginnings’; ‘love’ and ‘forgiveness’) are stated in one or two words. To review: asking participants to choose a short one or two word response to the essential question is a strategy to get:

  • everyone to focus their thoughts/ideas on a very specific word/phrase
  • trace that word back to a specific verse from the passage that inspired this word choice
  • explain why this verse explains the word choice to the essential question, eq: What is Paul calling Philemon to do? And how is Philemon to do it?

 

-closing connection: Paul is calling Philemon and Onesimus to both do what he is doing: to give his heart, his right arm and his bowels. In other words, his whole self. Restoration is total in the Christian faith; Why? Because God forgives us totally, no matter what we have done.

-personal connection- Whom are you in this narrative? Philemon, Paul, a member of the house church, Onesimus? Whom do you need to forgive, receive, restore? Or maybe you need to ask for one or more of the above from someone you hurt. Pray for His word to lead your next steps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Priscilla at Coney Island, Brooklyn NYC with B Beth and Samuel, Charlotte

14 Oct
coney

Coney Island

Philemon; the first of 3 studies

2 Oct

Design for relationship, a study with Philemon’

Purpose: the purpose of this relationship study is to deepen the understanding and character of each participant by providing an enriching experience with a biblical perspective.

Overview of study:

·         This study is in 3 sessions. The first session is composed of reading the Letter of Paul to Philemon and the church that meets in Philemon’s house. There are three versions of this Letter: NIV; The Message; Yong’s Literal Translation. Ideally, all three translations of this letter are read in the first session. In short, the NIV is a standard accessible translation; The Message gives a ‘looser, big picture’ view of the Letter to Philemon. Young’s Literal is very word specific. These translations give a range of readings of this one complete-though short- (25 verses) of a book in the Bible.

·         The principle under-gridding this study is reading the word, washing one self and others, in His word. This is for the purpose of building a deeper relationship with the word and character/heart of God. Reading (and rereading) of this short Letter should take place at the beginning of each session. All three should be read out loud in a shared reading by all participants inly in the first session.

The study has 6 component parts:

a.      Bible passage-

b.      introduction/ background

c.       essential questions

d.      unpacking the Bible passage

e.      closing connection

Outline for the first session:

– Bible passage

Chorally read the three translations out loud. Divide the readings equally among all participants. (If you are doing this study as an individual, still read all translations out loud. Why? The principle is to wash oneself and others in the word. Reading out loud somewhat stops your heart or mind wandering.)

-introduction/ background

background –

Paul is writing from a Roman prison. During his time in chains he has shared the Gospel of Jesus with a runaway slave whom he probably had some knowledge of from Colossi, Onesimus. Philemon was the owner of this household slave and had a church meeting in his house. Undoubtedly, Onesimus took something from the house and travelled a great distance to escape being a slave. Paul has convinced him to go back and be received as a Christian brother in Philemon’s household.

Addition background here, http://www.christianinconnect.com/philemon.htm

-essential question

Listen for what stands out, similarities or differences in the translations.

Essential question: What is the one thing, one image, one thought, one word that stands out to you? Write it down here:

-unpacking the Bible passage

Answer the ‘why’ question: Why does this one thing, image, word stand out to you? Write down your response here:

Now in your group, share your ‘why’ responses in turn

closing connection

Pray for His Spirit to give you time to read this passage in all three translations at least twice more this week. Something like, Lord, wash me and I will be cleansed. Wash me in your word; your time; your thoughts; your Spirit.

Bible passage-

rarely

1 Oct

Very rarely do I share links at this blog to another text/ media. Please do an extra step and look at this link,

 

http://www.weddingwire.com/weddings/3123619/wedding_new_website#!/website/1399034%23website-page-1399034#website-page-1399034%23website-page-1399034

 

April and Graham are all about Generosity- Scroll down and look at the Wedding Registry bit