Wednesday 28 December 2011

Aim High!

This is a copy of my church magazine article for January 2012

What a year it has been! In our church, we began as we usually do with our motto for the year:

‘Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.’ (Psalm 119:105)

From there, we launched out into the Essential 100 readings from the Bible, which led us into 20 Sunday sermons and weekday small group studies. If you shared the journey with us, I hope that you feel both better informed and increasingly inspired by the Word of God! I encourage you to go on reading the Bible regularly, for it is foundational to our faith.

What about our motto for 2012? In this year when the Olympic Games is coming to London, we (that is the deacons and myself) thought it would be good to develop that theme. The Games were familiar to members of the early Church, and the apostle Paul often drew upon the world of the games for inspiration. Here, then, is the verse we have chosen:

‘I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus.’ (Philippians 3:14).

Paul is picturing the athlete in a race, never looking back but always looking forward. The moment that the athlete looks over her shoulder, she is likely to be beaten. The more she looks and strains towards the finish line, the more likely she is to win.

This is a scene we may return to many times in the coming year, as we look towards all that God has for us to be and do. We need to press on in everything to which God calls us, treasuring the past but never wanting to return to it, looking towards the glorious future that God has prepared for his people.

May God bless us all in 2012, as we run the race and keep the faith!

Thursday 22 December 2011

Politically Correct Santa!

I received this today and thought it worth sharing. Enjoy!

'Twas the night before Christmas and Santa's a wreck...
How to live in a world that's politically correct?
His workers no longer would answer to "Elves",
"Vertically Challenged" they were calling themselves.
And labour conditions at the North Pole
Were alleged by the union to stifle the soul.
Four reindeer had vanished, without much propriety,
Released to the wilds by the Humane Society.
And equal employment had made it quite clear
That Santa had better not use just reindeer.
So Dancer and Donner, Comet and Cupid,
Were replaced with 4 pigs, and you know that looked stupid!
The runners had been removed from his sleigh;
The ruts were termed dangerous by the C.A.A.
And people had started to call for the cops
When they heard sled noises on their rooftops.
Second-hand smoke from his pipe had his workers quite frightened.
His fur trimmed red suit was called "Unenlightened."
And to show you the strangeness of life's ebbs and flows:
Rudolf was suing over unauthorized use of his nose.
So, half of the reindeer were gone; and his wife,
Who suddenly said she'd enough of this life,
Joined a self-help group, packed, and left in a whiz,
Demanding from now on her title was Ms.
And as for the gifts, why, he'd never a notion
That making a choice could cause so much commotion.
Nothing of leather, nothing of fur,
Which meant nothing for him. And nothing for her.
Nothing that might be construed to pollute.
Nothing to aim. Nothing to shoot.
Nothing that clamoured or made lots of noise.
Nothing for just girls. Or just for the boys.
Nothing that claimed to be gender specific.
Nothing that's warlike or non-pacific.
No candy or sweets...they were bad for the tooth.
Nothing that seemed to embellish a truth.
And fairy tales, while not yet forbidden,
Were like Ken and Barbie, better off hidden.
For they raised the hackles of those psychological
Who claimed the only good gift was one ecological.
Dolls were said to be sexist, and should be passé;
And Nintendo would rot your entire brain away.
So Santa just stood there, dishevelled, perplexed;
He just could not figure out what to do next.
He tried to be merry, tried to be gay,
But you've got to be careful with that word today.
His sack was quite empty, limp to the ground;
Nothing fully acceptable was to be found.
Something special was needed, a gift that he might
Give to all without angering the left or the right.
A gift that would satisfy, with no indecision,
Each group of people, every religion;
Every ethnicity, every hue,
Everyone, everywhere...even YOU.
So here is that gift, it's price beyond worth...
"May you and your loved ones enjoy peace on earth."