Our second go at "house church"

So I asked God
“What should I do?”
He said, “You already know”
“Love the Lord Your God,”
I replied
“And your neighbour as yourself”
Knowing I don’t do either
Very well
“Do the latter then”
“But who is my neighbour?”
I asked, tongue in cheekily
“Look it up in the dictionary”
came the divine response
Then silence

neighbour n.
1. a person who lives near or next to another


Not rocket science
Not mind-blowing
Not even an answer whispered on the wind
Or prayed over
Fervently by wagging tongues
Speaking tongues

Recipe for mild chaos ensues:
Take two families
Sprinkle a couple of extra
Lovely, loving Christians
Mix in praise
A bible treasure hunt
Prayer
Fold in a pizza or two
Top with cheesecake
From heaven
And bring to the boil
With endless
Cups of tea

Always believe you’ll be blessed


Metaphorical ashes dressed in sacks, 
Knees bent, cursing illness that will not budge, 
Lean on haunting songs as we pray for backs,
Easy tears as makeup starts to smudge. 
Men fall to the floor. Like trees cut above roots,
But some limped on, still lame, still blind; 
Worn with life; searching mustard plant shoots,
Of hope and peace and not being left behind.
Ministry, ministry an ecstasy of tumbling, 
Catching clumsy fallers only just in time; 
But I was crying inside and stumbling, 
And struggling as a fish on a line . . . 
Dragged through darkness, searching for light, 
Under a sea of culture, I was drowning. 
Gasping the atmosphere, losing all my fight, 
Only smiles are welcomed here, not frowning. 
Smothered by the noise of that place, 
The still, quiet voice hidden in the din, 
And a formula sold and found for grace, 
A cure for all sickness and for sin; 
I would hear and believe it, if I only could,
And sing with my corrupted lungs,
Obscene within, bitter as I stood.

While they babble in nonsense tongues, 
I would rather God used my weaknesses, if pressed,
 
Than believe some unreachable, desperate glory,
 
The old lie; always believe you’ll be blessed
 
The charismatic story.

Sounding Gong

I’m nothing
But a sounding gong
I want to
Love
Give
But I’m strangled
And constrained
And feel
impatient
unkind
intolerant
resentful
of our failings
Especially mine

A flickering flame
Of hope
Of a better way
And making a better world
Blown out
By deep sighs
Of discontent
Bringing darkness
Fumbling frantically
For the truth
The way
The life
The light
The realisation
And frustration
That I can change no-one
but myself
So silence the gong
Until I can love
Where it matters most

Paul’s Letter to Authentic Youth Group

Greetings from Paul
1 This letter is from Paul, a prisoner for preaching the Good News about Christ Jesus. I am writing to Authentic, this amazing youth group, 2 to the cell groups that meet in the evening, to the adults in the youth ministry team and to all the believers who attend the church of St John’s. 3 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

Paul’s Thanksgiving and Prayer
4 I always thank my God when I pray for you, young people of Authentic, 5 because I keep hearing about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your experiences with the Holy Spirit. 6 And I am praying that you will put into action (I hear you have started Authentic Action) the generosity that comes from your faith as you understand and experience all the good things we have in Christ. 7 Your hunger for God has given me much joy and comfort, my young brothers and sisters, for your faith has often refreshed the hearts of the people at St John’s.

Paul’s Appeal for Authentic
8 I am writing to you to advise you about a few certain things. These are not heavy demands in the name of Christ, but a few simple suggestions. 9 Consider this as requests from me—Paul, an old man and now also a prisoner for the sake of Christ Jesus.

10 It is my greatest wish that you all be filled with the Holy Spirit and experience the reality of living a life with your will entwined with His. 11 Only the Holy Spirit can open your hearts and the hearts of your friends to the splendour of God’s love and grace for you. 12 Only the Holy Spirit can provide you with the fruits and gifts that you need to live a life as a true believer in Christ.

13 I know that some of you are not so certain about what you believe, but have faith and keep asking questions and keep asking for more of the Holy Spirit. 14 Then there are those of you who are certain of your salvation in Christ and are itching to spread the message of his grace and mercy. That is brilliant.15 But be sure to do this with grace and mercy so that you don’t make your fellow brother or sister in Authentic feel bad. Gently help them to experience God’s love too. 16 Do your best to make sure that the life you lead lives up to the words that you speak about Jesus and His love. Not because He demands this of us, but because you cannot help but express the love of Jesus through your words, your thoughts, as well as your actions.

17 Be patient with the older folk of St John’s if they do not understand your words, or your way of thinking. I am sure that the love of God also burns within their hearts. 18 Do not give them reason to doubt your love for God – so commit yourself fully to worship in song. And as well as in song, through your actions both in church, at home and at school. 19 Do not forget to forgive those that have wronged you and pray constantly that God’s Holy Spirit will also help you to forgive others.

20 Yes, my brothers and sisters in Authentic, please act as true believers at all times for the Lord’s sake. Give me this encouragement in Christ.

21 I am confident as I write this letter that you will do what I ask and even more to glorify God! 22 One more thing—don’t forget that the message of Christ Jesus needs to be spread amongst your friends that don’t yet fully know him. Do not fall into the trap of thinking that you are superior to them. You are children of God, not because of what you or your parents have done, but through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul’s Final Greetings
23 Jon Tattz and all the leaders, my fellow believers in Christ Jesus – may God bless you and encourage you in the work that you do with Authentic. 24 I pray that the Spirit of God would guide every word to the hearts of the young people, that your lives would be examples of God’s grace and that you would be certain that God smiles on you and is pleased with the work you are doing.

25 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with all of you and the Holy Spirit empower you to a greater involvement in God’s Kingdom, to spread the message of Jesus, to heal the sick and crush the power of Satan. Amen