Archive | July, 2015

june/july lulu

31 Jul

June/July Lulu

 This Charles&Priscilla Lulu will serve for both June and July. Why? Because we are behind!!! Life here is lovely and busy and not hot, but sunny. For Priscilla and myself this has been a wonderful weather and summer. But this Lulu will not be about the weather, or our visitors, ‘Seven Brides for Seven Brothers’ at Regents Open Air Theatre. Nope.

This Lulu is about my work in the UK. What am I doing, praying and living here?

  • This past month of July I just finished a writing series of talks for Youth at Focus-a family/HTB church event. The theme was: Encounters with Jesus: haters and lovers. I looked at a series of 12 encounters (6 haters and 6 lovers) with people who tired to stop Jesus from meeting, helping, touching people and people who moved heaven and earth to get to him, people who would not be stopped. Example? In Mark 2 we see both haters and lovers. The friends of the paralytic cut thru a roof top to lower their friend down. Nothing stops them. And then you have some teachers of the law, sitting and ‘thinking in their hearts?’ (verse 8)

My essential question: How does someone think in their heart? What are you (to the youth and myself) think about Jesus in your heart?

Mark 6 goes with this teaching as Jesus is teaching and visiting his hometown in both passages.

  • I also finished the Stewardship Advent Wonder series on the theme of Generous Journeys (I am attaching an opening ‘teaser’ brief on the bottom of this Lulu. These are ten reflections coming out the 4 weeks (2 a week, Mondays and Fridays) before Christmas. This was difficult as it is hard to write about Christmas in July. But I did. There are 4 Sermon Notes that go with the reflections.

Starting this Sunday, August I am continuing teaching giving talks in churches. It looks like this:

  • 2 August-Talk on John 4 the first ‘I am’ of Jesus with the Samaritan woman at the well. I am contrasting and comparing this first am with His last I am, in the garden where He was arrested. (John 18)
  • 9 August I am speaking on the Good Samaritan. (Luke 10) This parable was birthed out of a question from an expert in the law ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ This is the same basic question a rich ruler asks Jesus in Luke 18:18.

My point will be to look at how Jesus answers this question with the parable and a directive.

  • 6 September and 13 September I am doing to evening talks on Isaiah 40.

For August I will be developing resources for 40acts, stewardship’s Lenten/Easter campaign. My working themes: Jesus at our table; at His table.

So that is what I have been doing. Priscilla? She is in NYC this week for our grand daughter’s Charlotte 3rd birthday. She has been working at Crumbs (young children) and Tea parties (seniors) and the young women at St Luke’s. It has been full on so we are looking forward to a mid September break.

We love you all. The opening to the Gabriel Advent refection (not the whole bit) is below. Enjoy the summer.


Gabriel’s generous journey, traveling light

“The angel said to him (Zechariah), “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news…Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth” Luke 1

This angel has stood in the Lord’s presence since the beginning. What has he seen?

He has seen darkness become light; chaos becoming order. He has been with and seen the Spirit of God hovering over the waters. He has witnessed the creation of the earth; birds; plants; fish; animals and finally man and woman. He has seen his Angel’s bread becoming the daily manna, bread, for people in the desert. (Psalm 78:25)

And now Gabriel is seeing God the Son whom he stands in presence of becoming a baby. The word is becoming flesh. God’s glory is coming in full to the earth.  And that is why Gabriel journeys. His is an Angel’s journey, a journey of proclamation and of promise. His amazing mission is to share the good news. The proclamation: the son of the Most High is coming to earth. God the Father’s generosity is coming to renew, to heal to save and to recreate all.

generous portait 7-beans

22 Jul

Steve M has a great garden in the UK. Here is one month’s worth of growth,

generous beans 1 this next picture is after two weeks…generous beans 2this last image is a week later…generous beans 3How generous is our God!!!

Generous portrait 6, Matt M

10 Jul

Matt Matt remembers

God’s journey into darkness

10 Jul

“First this: God created the Heavens and Earth—all you see, all you don’t see. Earth was a soup of nothingness, a bottomless emptiness, an inky blackness. God’s Spirit brooded like a bird above the watery abyss. God spoke: ‘Light!’ And light appeared. God saw that light was good  and separated light from dark. God named the light Day, he named the dark Night.     It was evening, it was morning— Day One.Genesis 1:1 The Message

The Lord God created a beautiful, joyous wonder filled world. Genesis 1:31 states that “God looked over everything he had made; it was so good, so very good!  It was evening, it was morning— Day Six.”

At first, in the beginning everything was good; all was filled with glory, His glory, His love. And then brokenness enters creation. Adam and Eve are enticed by sin and evil. Expelled from paradise, pollution and impurity soil His creation. All feels dirty.

So, how do you fix such utter and complete brokenness? It must be a hurt akin to a child’s betrayal of a parent. That is how you fix it: you send your son into this dark world to love it.

And God the Father, Jesus his son and this same hovering spirit will heal the world with love. Late one dark night Jesus explains to a visitor God’s love, His healing,

“There was a man of the Pharisee sect, Nicodemus, a prominent leader among the Jews. Late one night he visited Jesus and said, “Rabbi, we all know you’re a teacher straight from God. No one could do all the God-pointing, God-revealing acts you do if God weren’t in on it.”

Jesus said, “You’re absolutely right. Take it from me: Unless a person is born from above, it’s not possible to see what I’m pointing to—to God’s kingdom.”

“How can anyone,” said Nicodemus, “be born who has already been born and grown up? You can’t re-enter your mother’s womb and be born again. What are you saying with this ‘born-from-above’ talk?”

5-6 Jesus said, “You’re not listening. Let me say it again. Unless a person submits to this original creation—the ‘wind-hovering-over-the-water’ creation, the invisible moving the visible, a baptism into a new life—it’s not possible to enter God’s kingdom. When you look at a baby, it’s just that: a body you can look at and touch. But the person who takes shape within is formed by something you can’t see and touch—the Spirit—and becomes a living spirit.”

This is love: darkness becoming light.