The Painting

The artist opened her paint box, dampened her brush and started. Before her was a beautiful Tudor half timbered house complete with moat and gatehouse. She worked quickly on that hot summer’s day. The picture developed and showed no sign of the many visitors who trooped passed her on they way to tour the building. She disliked their intrusion with garish tops and shorts into this piece of history. Suddenly she sighted an old man in straw hat and linen jacket stop and gaze at the house. He was perfect for inclusion just at the bridge over the moat.
Soon the painting was finished as the shadows swiftly changed towards afternoon. So she collected her gear and stood up. There beside her was the gentleman she had portrayed. They talked and she asked if he knew the house well. ‘Yes’ he replied ‘many years ago I lived here’.
‘My uncle once owned it and I stayed here as a boy each summer’. ‘Do you miss it?’ asked the artist. ‘Of course but you can’t turn the clocks back. Now it is the property of the tourists who pay to keep it up’ . He went on ‘ now why don’t you paint it again but include the  visitors this time – that will picture the future?’ A few minutes late he left with the first picture and the painter started again remembering that time runs in only one direction.

Let us pray
Lord help us to value the present
Treasure the past
And use them
To found hope in the future.

Amen

The Tree

The tree remembered being planted in the churchyard those many summers ago. For he saw the young daughter of the squire slipping a copy of  that new book on Pride and Prejudice in to wile away the long sermon. This blissful rural scene was oblivious to the battles being fought on land and sea to fence in the tyrant Napoleon.
He brought to mind the parishioners chattering excitedly having been told of a war far away over whether humans could own humans; trees never own each other more than they can own  God’s sunlight.

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Long journeys

Between them, they had gone a good way to the Moon. I am talking about those three vehicles standing gallantly on display. The first was an Austin Twenty that had been driven from England to Cape Town and back in between 1932 and 1935. The second was also an Austin and  had managed the route from the North Cape in northern Norway again to South Africa in 1955. Some say this is the longest road in the world. But the real trooper was a very battered Range Rover that in 1977 had struggled from Anchorage, Alaska to Cape Horn along the Pan American Highway. It has to be said this term is a misnomer as the route took 7 months to conquer. The worst was a mere 100 miles across the Darien Isthmus that accounted for 4 months of the journey time. The struggle through the dense jungle can only be imagined from the dents in the vehicle’s ‘fuselage’. Proof if any is needed that the slow and persistent beats the fast and easy.

Let us pray

Lord Jesus, help me in the jungles of life
To struggle to get through
Guide me on the easy roads
To want to get through

Amen

View from a bridge

The children sat on the farm track bridge over the multi lane highway. They speculated where each speeding car was going. Being young they could only imagine happy places; exotic holidays or trips to a fun fair. After awhile they wondered to each other if this was how God saw people on their journeys. They came to the conclusion that it was.
And so when their grandfather came to collect them for their evening meal, they told him of all the enticing destinations that they imagined for the people far below. The old man smiled yet he knew many were not so bound. Some would be going home to family troubles, financial worries and fears of  illness. As they wound their way home, the children asked if the view they had from the bridge was the same as for God. ‘Not quite’ said their grandfather – ‘God seems them differently.  You see God is with them in their cars.’

Let us pray:

Lord God,
Help us not to see people from afar
But close up on their life’s journey.
Be with us as we speed through the world
And be with us pool, at our happy and sad destinations.

Amen

Writing the answer

He prayed on his knees. He prayed standing. He prayed sitting. But he had never heard the voice of God.

 

So he started to write down his prayers. At first no more than a few lines – big issues and real problems. He still heard nothing. Yet he wrote on, enjoying the confidence of pen and paper. Page after page, notebook after notebook were filled with the intimacies of his deepest thoughts and desires. But yet he sensed no answer.

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Summer tales – Woman on the deck chair

The woman sat on the deck chair looking out to sea. Way out, she saw a ship and imagined it going to the tropics; to the warmth that she had never felt. Now  life had been good to her in a material sense at least. In personal relations she had been less fortunate. In truth, she could buy a gift for anyone but had no one to give it to.

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Free advert for the Church

Free advertising for the Church.

 

The PR executive crossed his office to shake hands. His expensively tailored suit and designer shoes gave him an natural confidence as he guided the clergyman to a chair. Without small talk, he asked  what his firm could do for him.  ‘My church wants to mount an advertising campaign across the nation – came the hopeful reply. The advertising man  tried  to hide pity since no mainstream denomination could ever afford his fees. Best to let the pastor down gently. So he asked what exactly he had in mind. ‘OK – We thought billboards, bus signs and maybe some television advents’ . There was silence in the room as the businessman sighed and tapped on a calculator. Then he pushed it across the desk. The Minister whistled and got up to leave. He was weary from similarly unfruitful  visits to the city’s PR companies.

 

The PR  Man felt a pang of sympathy.’ Look’  – he said – ‘I have a solution for you! It’s one any Christian can afford’. The clergy man looked perplexed – what could advertise the possibility of new trust, hope and change so cheaply? ‘ What is it?’- he asked.

‘Yourself’- came the surprising reply!

 

Four ways to do evangelism

Many people have slipped into the mindset that evangelism is a gift that some believers have and others do not. The reality is that when someone becomes reconciled to God, He sends them out to reconcile others.

That’s not a gift—we all have the responsibility to take Christ to others.

Continue reading Four ways to do evangelism