Practice presence. Spend less time with screens and more with books, less time with complaining and more with solving, less time with arguing and more with listening, less time with shopping and more time with being thankful, less time with worrying and more with exercising, less time obsessing about food and more time eating well, less time planning and more time doing, less time scheduling and more time living one day at a time.” Jim Wallis

1 The Gospel is hard, and it contains within it, not…….. merely life but glory. Gospel confidence.
2 Things that matter, don’t happen by accident: reading more matters. Jon Acuff says it very well.
3 Alan Scott’s take on reading Scripture to release culture. Important stuff.
4 The sanctification spiral: Wendy Alsup’s journey for us.
5 With numbers, and counting: what matters most. What do we measure?

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“The church, which is a kingdom fellowship under King Jesus, counters each of these stories with the story of new creation that becomes possible through the power of the Spirit and the life of Jesus. Kingdom creates a family called a church.” Scot McKnight

1 Eight killers of momentum and motivation. Ron’s insight. 
2 Creativity’s worst enemy: “Creators carry with them the scars from cynic’s attacks, wounds that are healed because of grace.”
3 Corderio’s Dead Leader Walking video footage. 
4 Thom Rainer’s insights as to what may happen in the church this year.
5 Tim Chester’s blog on the puritan classic, the reformed pastor. The questions are so helpful.

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Jesus said you are to love one another as I have loved you, a love that will possibly lead to the bloody, anguish gift of yourself, a love that forgives seven times seven, that keeps no record of wrong. This is the criterion, sole norm, the standard of discipleship in the New Israel of God.”  Brennan Manning, The Furious Longing of God

1 Wedding cakes and what they might tell us. An interesting read!
2 Steve Tilley’s honest telling of an alternative career as a pastor-priest.
3 Don Carson’s insightful five reflections on the failures of the young, restless and reformed!
4 Why the future will be much less materialistic. Right. Please and most welcomed!
5 Being the kind of person you can talk about spiritual things about. Jan says it well. 

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as the year winds down…..here’s been some of my favourites…..so what about yours?

Five favourite fun moments: Walking with a church through pain and loss into a new and enduring knowledge of Gods love, Grenson vibram footwear gifts aka my new preaching shoes, sitting with others in the possibility and hope of new beginnings, the extended family goodness of eight of us holidaying in Florida and making sense of the calling of my life.

Five favourite movies:  A thousand times good night, Captain Phillips, The fault in our stars, Parkland and Calvary.

Five favourite tastes: The discovery of Keevil and Keevil beef, smuggled Ormo soda-farls from the homeland,  The Citrus fruit drink that Shoreditch House serves, that dirty brilliant curry from Tayyabs shared with Brian and Stuart, and my home-made Lamb Tagine.

Five favourite sounds: Popular problems by Leonard Cohen, Live at Bangor Abbey by Foy Vance, In the lonely hour by Sam Smith, Love ran red by Chris Tomlin and The Art of Celebration by Rend Collective Experiment.

And the hardest of all,……..five favourite reads: Desiring the Kingdom by James KA Smith, A Thicker Jesus by Glen Stassen, A Praying Life by Paul Miller, Repenting of Religion by Greg Boyd, and The Good & Beautiful series by James Bryan Smith.

2014

“Jesus calls us to his rest, and meekness is His method. The meek man cares not at all who is greater than he, for he has long ago decided that the esteem of the world is not worth the effort.”  AW Tozer, from The Pursuit of God.

1 Seven habits of highly effective mentors. Indeed. 
2 David Hieatt’s manifesto of the doer. Classic stuff.
3 Five things that cause us to drift spiritually….beware.
4 The five-isms of insecure leadership….. named and known!
5 “We have replaced the call to be conformed to Christ with a desire to be conformed to comfort.” Jake Belder and the challenge of the doctrine of scripture.

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Shauna captures it well:- “…..this season I’m not trying for perfect.  I’m just trying to show up, every time, with honesty and attentiveness.  Let’s be courageous in these days.  Let’s chose love and rest and grace.  Let’s use our minutes and hours to create memories with the people we love instead of dragging them on one more errand or shushing them while we accomplish one more seemingly necessary thing.  Let’s honour the story – the silent night, the angels, the miracle child, the simple birth, with each choice that we make”.

So Father, Thank you for the never failing story of sending your Son. Thank you for giving us eyes to see your wonder in His mundanity and Your strength in His divinity. Open our eyes this Christmas to the importance of being presence, of breathing and pausing more than rushing and fretting. Thank you that in your grace we have many blessings. Give us ears to hear your voice, and attentiveness to your nearness.

Thank you that you know us better than we even know ourselves and give gifts that we need before we even ask for them. In the waiting, we will be found. In the seeking, we are yours. Amen

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“Pay attention to the things that bring a tear to your eye or a lump in your throat because they are signs that the holy is drawing near.” Frederick Buechner

1 Emma Scrivener’s helpful Jesus prescription. Compelling and clear.
2 Five ways to kill your partner and ruin your marriage. Important stuff.
3 Advent searching…..”Keep digging until you find you’ve dug deep into the heart of God.”
4 David Fitch’s reflections from around the table. Insightful.
5 A great grab of Alan Hirsch’s missional thinking…. Worth watching.

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“… without the incarnation, Christianity isn’t even a very good story, and most sadly, it means nothing. “Be nice to one another” is not a message that can give my life meaning, assure me of love beyond brokenness, and break open the dark doors of death with the key of hope.

The incarnation is an essential part of Jesus-shaped spirituality.”
― Michael Spencer

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