Four words.

So it’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post. I am incredibly aware at the beginning of a connexional year, or at the new year there is a need to reflect and this is often easier for me when I write. I am know it’s been over a year since I’ve written, I decided to take a year of private writing for myself, or rather not writing for any one else. Which leads me here. A new connexional year. I am not going to make any promises to post, that is never how my world works. It is that sort of promise that always gets broken.

 

As a reflection on the last year – in particular this summer – there have been four very important words or phrases.

Firstly there is the very important word Hope. The word hope has always been a strong word in my life. I know this hope that makes me glad. I know this hope that anchors me. I have a hope that reigns victorious at the right hand of God. I know this hope, and this hope knows me. Sometimes I just need to remember not that I have this hope, but rather that this Hope knows me. One of my summer evenings was leading a devotion where I shared that we have a God who knows everything about us. He knows my favorite color, number of eyelashes, what words that bug me, what crazy dreams I have. God knows all about me, and you, whoever you are reading this, and he still loves.I have this hope. The creator of the whole universe knows me by name and loves me wildly. I always have hope.

The word that has stood out for me this year as I read the bible has been Inheritance. I have a future inheritance found in this hope. The inheritance of a new heaven and a new earth. But I also have an inheritance here, now. The inheritance is the Holy Spirit, my constant helper. The idea of inheritance is certainly one thing I’m still working on in my head. But all who call on the name of Christ in forgiveness, worship and love, are called to have this inheritance.

In the last year I moved again. Not far just down the road, probably the shortest distance of a house move I have ever done. During this summer I had a the wonderful opportunity to go on camps and that led me to have some wonderful conversations, around all of these words, but a very wise asked me one morning ‘what drives you?’ What a wonderful question to ask so very early on a day off, but it got me thinking, What drives me? The answer is bringing people home. Bringing people home, to that safe place, with God. To be with people as they journey towards there heart of God. To watch them as they move to understand Gods identity and there identity in the trinity. To watch them walk there individual path and finding creative ways to worship, serve and share there chapter in God. Bringing people home to Christ and how then they serve God in there own unique gifting.

Finally the saying of the group of four and that is ‘immeasurably more.‘ Exciting, exciting exciting – i believe in a God who is, who does immeasurably more. I want to live in the presence of a God who does immeasurably more.

In which case I am going to live this year trying to remind myself this daily. I have a hope and an inheritance, that helps me in my ministry to bring people home to Christ, for and with a God that does immeasurably more.

To the new connexional year.

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Psalm 15 – a re-write

Another psalm I have re-write: Psalm 15.

Who, Almighty King, could walk among your hall ways?

Who can be in your Holy place?

The one who walks the narrow path,

Who works towards your will,

Whose language is from your heart,

Whose heart speaks only of you,

Who does not step in the way of a neighbour,

Or any other person.

They do not like those who cause harm,

Or those who do not live for You, Almighty King.

Your people live in your honour, even if it is uncomfortable,

They stick to your truth, Lord.

They share all they have,

And will not be bought or back down.

These are the precepts of your people,

And on this solid foundation they will always stand strong. 

 

 


(These are my own thoughts, not an original translation)

 

Faith: Three points

I don’t often blog sermons that I’ve written, mainly as I don’t often write them. However, I’ve been really thinking upon these points recently. The readings for the week where Isaiah 58:1-12, and Matthew 5:13-16.

Like all good sermons there where three points, these have been the basis of many of my further studies and thoughts recently.

So the first point: Our faith is not always comfortable, sometimes it can be uncomfortable. One of the things that I find in Church’s, is that they can be very Sunday orientated. That participating in mission – if that is happening – is for the sole purpose of bums on seats in the Sunday Service with a willingness to put money on the collection plate. However, our faith is not just about the Sunday, it’s about a life that means leaving our possibly warm Churches. Are we concerned about the Sunday mornings, or are more willing to work for the Kingdom, are we about comfort or allowing God to use us in the uncomfortable places as well. The places where often we are needed most.

The second point: Our faith is not hidden, it is outrageously known. This links very nicely to the Matthew passage about Light and not hiding it. My love for God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – is something that I want not for it to be ‘I think she’s one of them people who goes to Church’ but rather a very visible living transformation in my life. I want it to be the first thing people think about when they think of me.

The final point is that: our faith is not safe, it is beautifully dangerous. I think about a fire, and how quickly it can spread, and how we can often contain candles by how we place them. However, can catch like that wild fire and spread like crazy. Might not be quick, I have found the camp fires that take the longest to light are always the most beautiful. Faith may not spread quickly but it will spread. Faith is contagious, it is beautifully dangerous.

I’m living a faith that is not always comfortable, outrageously known and dangerously beautiful and that makes me excited! So excited!

The start of the end.



So yesterday marked a very significant day in the life of six of us BA students here at Cliff College. We finished our final lectures after three years of lectures. It just kind of happened and at the end there was no rejoicing, no great party, we just dispersed and went to get on with work or placement or getting ready for whatever the weekend plans were. Or that is what wil have happened after lunch. 


However my final lecture was exactly like a final lecture, it was sending us out. We looked at the missional heart and then as group tried to unpack what this meant for us and if it was just a gift, or something that was developed. (In the end we decided nicely down the middle, that it was both a gift given by God that needed to be developed and grown). And then we did the same as individuals. It was a brilliant lecture, it really got us ready to be sent out. (The lecturer shared some of his story, sharing about his organisation Micah 6-8)


This week I have been particularly thinking about three pieces of scripture the first:
“He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth. The LORD has spoken.” Isaiah 25:8


The second: 
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18


And thirdly:
“For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:6-7


They seem pretty small verse, and they don’t really link, but for me this is what I’m going to walk in. Firstly I’m going to live in the knowledge that God will swallow up death – forever! That this race is already won and that the God I serve is compassionate. I hope that I shall die his servant and that before that time I can be his hand that wipes away tears and tells of this amazing hope that God has spoken. 


Secondly the Thessalonians passage means so much to me already. Each day I will rejoice, give thanks and praise god. For God is good, yesterday, today and forever. 


Lastly, the passage from 2 Timothy some one shared with me when I started here, she told me to walk with it, and as I now start to stand in a place where I have to leave an amazing community I have loved and will continue to love, and as things change rapidly in my life I will remember this passage. This really is the beginning of the last few months here. I have no more lectures, just a word count, 1 block mission, and then festival. Yet as I leave I am more aware that I still have so much to do here, and that the gifts that God has given me are not just to be shut away shyly for the future, but are already in use, are to be used and to be grown, just like the missional heart. I will step out in this power, love and self-discipline, willing to grow stronger and bolder in Christ and for Christ and the Kingdom of God. 


Have you got a verse that you’ve been reflecting on in your life? Or wish to add some comment or meaning to the three I’ve posted, then please feel free to comment.  

Consistent?!?!? What?

The consistency of Jesus. This term keeps cropping up amongst our lectures. Why did people follow Jesus… he was consistent. Why do we use his approach to spirituality he was consistent. The Gospel a biographical piece of work, not much character development, but rather, consistent. Jesus was consistent. Wow, not sure if I was to right down my top three reason to why everyone should follow Christ that consistent would be up there. Or would it?
Consistent what does it mean?
the definition straight off my mac:
consistent |kənˈsistənt|
adjective
(of a person, behavior, or process) unchanging in achievement or effect over a period of time : manufacturing processes require a consistent approach.
• compatible or in agreement with something : the injuries are consistent with falling from a great height.
• (of an argument or set of ideas) not containing any logical contradictions : a consistent explanation.


Jesus the Consistent. We often talk, teach and sing about God being unchanging, the same yesterday, today and forever. Jesus is I suppose God but not until this last week did I ever think of Jesus as consistent. A character you could rely on. Revolutionary, radical, relational thats Jesus a nice piece of alliteration. Consistent, how can some one who turns the world on its head, overthrows tables in the temple, washes his disciples feet, forgives the prostitute, accepts the gentile, walks in the desert and is himself baptised, be consistent. 

Revolutionary, radical, relational, that was Jesus, consistent? His disciples must have seen it though to give up there nets, something they could constantly depend on. Even Jesus talks about in Mark 4: 35-41

35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
 39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
 40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
 41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” (NIV)

“Do you still have no faith?” in the man that is consistent?

I look at my life, as why apply this only in a blank theological context with no experience to back it up, and I look at the lives of my family and friends, so I know its not just me. And Jesus is consistent. We, humankind, however are not. We are flakey and flukey and flit from place to place. Yet God, a trinitarian God at that still walks with us. Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Im sure in the past I have described God as a God of the Unexpected. The God who is transforming, and loving. A god whom we should fear, and respect. A God who is revolutionary, radical and relational. A God who gave his son to die in place of my sin. A God who gives hope, share in our vulnerability and is our strength.

Today, I recognise my God, my Saviour and my present help as Consistent!

Call to worship… what with?





Shout for joy in the LORD, O you righteous!

   Praise befits the upright.
Give thanks to the LORD with the lyre; make melody to him with the harp of ten strings! 

Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.
For the word of the LORD is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness.


He loves righteousness and justice;
   the earth is full of the steadfast love of the LORD.


Psalm 33v1-5



I helped lead worship today at Knapton Methodist Church with a service and sermon based on the parable of the Good Samaritan. Yet in the planning of the service we had really not got a clue what to open the service with as a call to worship. When I started to lead worship in the realms of Derbyshire I stumbled across this amazing chapter in the good Book. God actually really loves us. Shocking really, and so often forgotten. God actually really loves. Then of course we should react to this. Yet we no longer live in a world of Lyres – as far as I am aware the lyre is practically medieval – but in a world of beat-boxing and guitars, and electrical bass’. How do we translate this… we can certainly still shout loudly and I have seen a harp played in worship in the last year but worshiping the lord to be thankful for His love… how in our 21st Century, 24/7, busy busy, social media, hyper-connected society?
I suppose their is no right or wrong way, as long as we keep worshiping, following the upright word of the Lord, being righteous and incurring Justice. 

Its about remembering that the earth if full of Gods love. The local preach today made a comment today that I cannot remember the full ins and outs of but it went something like this…

“God’s love falls on the just, and it falls on the unjust, 
but more so on the just because the unjust has the just umbrella.”

We worship because God loves us first and we live amongst a community of other believers. So, no lyres, no harps, no shouts, none of the many things…. Love.





Who am I

339 days have gone buy, 126 thoughts have found it on to the page. Change of location, change of ideas, new friends, new list of music, new year, new traditions. New Person?

Who am I now. Well my name is Rebecca Elizabeth Belshaw, although I am commonly known as Bx.
I am no longer studying for A levels, but rather the first year of a degree at Cliff College.
I no longer permanently reside in Norfolk with my family, but have residence at Uni in the beautiful land of the Peak District.
I still have a job but have moved out of the kitchens and on form the hours of breakfast cooking and waitressing and into the late shift hours of bar work, which means I can pull a successful pint whilst working out the price and talking to the customer about the snow.
I, after many years of escaping it, know what it is like to sit in a real A&E (and not a field hospital) for myself having more than one visit for myself in 2009, and a further three visits for other people.
I became a worship leader for the Methodist Church, after three years.
I became very close to completing my adult leadership as a Brownie Leader, just one more section to go, I also abandoned all hope of doing my D of E.
More first for the 339 days:
  • first drive on a motorway
  • first summer camp as a leader
  • first drink in a pub
  • first game of poole
  • first crash
  • first battle of the bands
  • first amazon order with my own money
  • first car gone
  • first disaster on a motorway
  • consequently first sermon
I have learnt a lot of things this year, like pricing strategies are important, how to hold an interview, how to take part in an interview. I’ve learnt a bit (the progress is on going) about Audio Visual Aids, a bit about evangelism, a bit about subjects I didn’t think I would ever understand like Amos and the Old Testament. I have discovered new ways of study, ways that people complain and worry about but it works for me. I’ve learnt about knowing when to keep quiet, and that laughing at people really does freak them out when your not actually laughing at them but the grapes.
I’ve let go of things to, control, friends, things that bug me, an ideal, I let go of my odd colour converse in pink and blue, but for them I did find a replacement.
Some things don’t change though, I’m still clumsy, if not even more clumsy, I still like to sing around a camp fire and I still am willing to make a fool out of myself. I still like to write but no longer feel it is all that is keeping me sane. I have some good friends for that now, as like ever my time seems in short supply and I still struggle to say no, and then struggle through.
I still have amazing friends, some maybe new but I will tar them with the same brush for now, and I still know that God has a plan for me, I think I have stopped asking what now, even though I still have no clue. As tomorrow is a new day, and soon it will be over, and the next appeared, worrying about the one after that is hardly going to help today.
So who am I, I am the author of this blog, 18, a Christian and holding fast to light, I should also be revising Amos, this is Me!