THE PARABLE OF THE HEALTHY FOOD

Thought provoking

Carl Palmer

One day a group of people noticed that their health was deteriorating caused by unhealthy eating. They were trapped in ingrained habits of bad food choices and lacked the skills and motivation necessary to change the way they ate.

chef

They decided to hire a chef to help them. She was passionate about healthy food and was very excited about helping others. She got to work immediately and started to prepare the food. She worked for a whole week preparing a massive range of healthy dishes and choices to meet everybody’s tastes and preferences. She got everybody together in a large room and served the food. The food was delicious and the event was a great success with everybody loving it, so popular in fact that they decided to permanently employ the chef and to gather weekly to eat the delicious healthy food she’d prepared. At 10.30 every Sunday morning they…

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You need money

Are we paying attention to God?

Honest about my faith

moneySo, I was packing and paying for the shopping in Aldi and my daughter kept saying to me

‘YOU NEED MONEY’.

Now, any of you who have shopped at Aldi will know that you have to be focused as the checkout assistants scan your shopping at a very high speed. In fact, the first time I shopped at Aldi, I felt like a batsman (without a bat!) facing a really fast bowler. I survived then and many times since, but you do have to concentrate.

So back to my daughter telling me I needed money. I was aware of what she was saying and acknowledged it, telling her I was going to pay with my card. As the final items were fired passed carefully across for me to put into the trolley my daughter stopped her persistent talking about my need for money. As I walked out of the shop, I…

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The one about wing mirrors

Are you looking primarily backwards or forwards?

Honest about my faith

rear view in wing mirrorOur beloved Vauxhall Zafira died recently and we have replaced it with a larger vehicle. Our new car has nice big wing mirrors which are essential when you are on larger roads and you need to change lanes or if you are trying to reverse into a parking spot.

When driving, rear view mirrors are important but if you only look in them then you will crash.

You see, rear view mirrors are only for glancing in and I think that our past should be the same.

We can look back at our past and be really grateful for the good times, but if we look back and fixate on the past then we make it difficult for ourselves to live well in the present.

Sometimes we look at our past and only focus on the painful times. Thinking about how we have come through or being grateful for what we have learnt is healthy but if we…

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Robin Williams, depression and why we shouldn’t have to be okay

It’s been just over two years since the death of Robin Williams. This is something I wrote at the time about depression an why we shouldn’t have to pretend that we are okay.

Honest about my faith

Robin Williams as Mrs DoubtfireI was saddened to hear of the death of Robin Williams.

I was stunned to hear that he struggled with depression because in my mind, he was a guy who was always really funny.

I am shocked, but at the same time I know that I shouldn’t feel surprised because many people suffer with depression and hide it well.

In one of his most famous roles, Williams played Mrs Doubtfire. He pretends to be a strict female housekeeper in order for him to be near his own children. This dual personality may also have been evident in his life. We are all familiar with the zany Robin Williams and yet in the days to come we will no doubt hear more of the pain he was living with and battling against in his day to day life.

I have been upset by the use of the word selfish in relation to…

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Could you turn off your phone please?

charlie and the chocolate factory theatreA few weeks ago, Tracey, the girls and I went to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at the Theatre Royal in London.

We went as a part of my daughter’s 11th Birthday celebrations and we had a great day out in London and the show was truly excellent.

This was my first visit to a theatre in London and one of the things that surprised me was how many people were trying to use their mobile phones during the performance even though they had been asked not to.

We were sat right at the back and as well as being entertained by the show, we had a good view of the staff running up and down the steps asking people to turn their phones off.

I guess that people were mostly trying to record parts of the show, but one or two people several rows in front appeared to be playing games on their mobile devices.

A ticket to the theatre isn’t cheap and so it surprised me that people would pay so much money but not particularly want to watch the performance.

Whilst we had a great time, it was sad to be reminded of the way that we are increasingly becoming a society where people are more focused on mobile devices than they are on the reality going on around them. I have written about this ielsewhere and if you would like to read more about this then you might want to start with Have you heard of FOMO?

I need to confess at this point that I’m not really a theatre lover and I particularly struggle with musicals, but even I was glad I went. The skill of the actors and the clever way that the story had been put together for a stage performance was very impressive. Going to the theatre isn’t really what I would have chosen, but I went with an open mind and actually quite enjoyed it.

What is our focus? What are we living for?

Jesus said that we should seek first the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6.33). In other words, he was saying that if we want to follow him then we need to look first for what pleases God who is our king rather than for just at what pleases us.

Jesus told us to seek God’s will first, but is this really the principle that is consistently shaping our lives?

Is it our primary aim to please God or to please ourselves?

We are supposed to be focused on God’s Kingdom, which will involve more and more people seeing God as king, but perhaps we are consumed by other things?

If we claim to follow Jesus, then we might want to take some time to consider how we are seeking God’s Kingdom first.

You might find the prayer in this video helpful.

Posted in Being honest about our faith, discipleship, Faith, Following Jesus, fomo, Kingdom of God, Life experiences | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The One About Breaking out of Church

Locked in churchWhen I answered my phone I was not expecting to hear, ‘we are locked in, can you come and let us out’.

We had a BMS Action Team with us for the week and they and some of our other young adults had met at the church for a meal. The people who had arranged the meal left the front door slightly ajar when they went home but then somehow it got closed and as a result the Action Team and the others got locked in.

Before releasing them, I took this photo as a bit of fun, but as I looked at it later on I wondered if it is a picture of what God wants for his church?

It’s not unusual for most of the energy and thought in church life to go into what happens inside a church building and in particular into what Sunday services are like. In contrast to this, Jesus didn’t teach his disciples anything about services or how to run church activities. Could it be that many churches have lost the plot? Are we focusing mainly on things that aren’t the things that Jesus wants us primarily to do?

It is important to note that Jesus taught about growing in our faith and I’m not trying to say that spiritual growth isn’t important. It just strikes me that spiritual growth and discipleship in the gospels looks quiet different to standard church life.

Is it time for us to break out of our churches and to rediscover that following Jesus is about life and not just what we do on a Sunday morning or in a church building?

BMS Action Teams is a Christian gap year programme for 17 – 23 year olds to serve God around the world. One month’s training, six months overseas and two months UK mission tour. It’s a chance for you to get involved in what God is doing across the world. An opportunity to plunge yourself into another culture, share the love of Jesus in practical ways, inspire others for mission and let God work in your life every step of the way.

When you consider what these young adults had signed up for, it was especially ironic that they were locked in a church. They were travelling and discovering what God is doing across the world, living out their faith. They had and were visiting churches but they weren’t (usually anyway!) locked purely into church life.

If you are a part of a church, what dominates your church life? Is it thinking only about what happens in services and internal activities or do you have a deep desire to live out the good news that you have found in Jesus?

Do you consider the church to be yours, as a place to shape in away that you personally find pleasing or do you consider yourself a disciple of Jesus? Will we surrender to him and allow him to shape us in a way that is pleasing to him?

Can I encourage you to read a gospel this week and as you do so to make a list of the sort of things that Jesus wants us to do.

If we call Jesus Lord, we really ought to do what he wants and this means that for many of us that it’s time to break out of our churches and to live in a way that pleases him.

Incidentally, the Action Team were never trapped in the church. They could have gone out of either of our fire exits at any point if they had thought about it. Perhaps breaking out of church and living for Jesus might be easier than we might think!

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Why ‘You can do it!’ is sometimes the wrong thing to say

Facebook memories reminded me just now that I wrote this a year ago and reading it again really encouraged me and I hope that it encourages you as well.

Honest about my faith

disney dreams will come true quoteWalt Disney said,

‘All our Dreams come true if we have the courage to pursue them’.

I have to say that I mostly love this quote. I love the idea that if we are motivated to reach our potential then great things can happen as a result.

On the other hand though, I find the quote terrifying if anyone takes it as a guarantee. We should have the courage to pursue our dreams and to try our hardest but the reality is that sometimes things just don’t work out in the way we want them to.

Gideon, was struggling. All his dreams hadn’t come true, Israel (where he lived) was under attack from the Midianites (a neighbouring tribe) and he and the rest of Israelites felt powerless. Gideon expresses these feelings when he says;

“Why has all this happened to us? And where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about? Didn’t they…

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The One When I Didn’t Have 5p

Swinford toll bridgeI couldn’t believe what I was reading. The sign said I was going to have to pay 5p to cross the bridge in my car. I knew that I didn’t have any cash and unfortunately after reading the sign I didn’t have time to turn around before I was on the bridge.

At the toll booth, I apologized to the person collecting the 5p’s and I explained that I had no cash and I was greatly relieved when he said ‘don’t worry about it’ and waved me on.

As I drove on, my son and I talked about how strange it was that they would collect such a small amount of money but then it occurred to me that those 5p’s must add up to quite a lot if they can afford to pay 2 people to collect the money.

Later, I googled to find out more about the Swinford Toll Bridge and I found out that in 2009 it was reported that;

‘Just under four million vehicles use the bridge to get in and out of Oxford city centre, which is six miles away, every year and it is especially busy during rush hour. It has a gross annual income of around £190,000.’ (source)

5p is such a small amount of money and yet over a year these coins add up to £190,000!

A 5p coin feels insignificant and if I dropped one it wouldn’t be the end of the world if I couldn’t pick it up (seriously, have you ever tried to pick up a 5p coin? I’m sure they are designed to be almost impossible to pick up). In contrast, if I dropped £190,000, I would certainly make the effort to pick it up.

As I thought about this later, the thing that struck me is that we should never count ourselves as insignificant. We may feel like we can’t change the world, but together with others we can make a huge difference.

So, the next time you feel discouraged because you feel like you aren’t making a difference I hope that you remember the 5p toll charge that adds up to a lot.

I pray that God would encourage, guide and direct us as we work with other people to make this world a better place.

In 2009, someone bought the bridge for £1.09 million. They realized what a great investment that the bridge could be and so they paid out a huge amount of money to make the bridge (and all the 5p’s it would bring in) theirs.

Many of us may feel insignificant, but amazingly, Jesus died on a cross to pay the price for our freedom. Jesus showed that he thinks that we were worth rescuing and he gave his life to take away the sin that separates us from God. You can read more about this in Jesus died on the cross, so why do we call it Good Friday?

Jesus paid out a huge amount so that the people of this world could have the opportunity to know God, both now and forever. So, what is stopping us?

 

Thanks to Esther Warner who has given me permission me to use her picture of the toll sign in this post. She even had 5p when she crossed!

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The one about masks

So, do we wear masks in life to hide who we are and how we are feeling?

Honest about my faith

DSCF3520At a recent family event at Orchard Baptist we thought about superheroes and the children who wanted to made masks. There were some really impressive creations and we got this great picture of some of some of the children at the end.

Masks look cool and in films they help a superhero to protect their real identity in order to keep their family and friends safe. Masks are important to superheroes, but do we need them?

Do you wear a mask?

This might seem like a silly question (what, a silly question from me?) because it’s pretty obvious if someone is wearing a physical mask or not.

What I’m talking about is a mask as a way of living or behaving that hides who you really are.

Someone may come across as being really confident and brash, but it can be a mask that hides their deep insecurities.  You often see…

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I hate Christianese

May God set us free from speaking in Christianese

Honest about my faith

christianeseWhen Jesus was on the earth he spoke in an ordinary language and he told stories that people could relate to. Some churches today do the opposite, speaking mainly in religious language (Christianese) that only Christians understand and not using stories or explanations. Christianese is like a foreign language and there is even a Dictionary of Christianese which this image is taken from with their permission.

I once remember someone complaining about a preacher saying, ‘he just told lots of stories’.

If I had of had more courage at the time I might have said ‘was his name Jesus?’

Don’t get me wrong, if we tell stories just to entertain rather than to link them to spiritual truth then that is no good but surely to tell stories that communicate clearly about God is to be like Jesus?

Jesus said to his followers: 14 “You are the light of the world –…

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