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Think Global!

Today, I am off with 2 others from my small church on a mission trip to India. We are celebrating our 10 year partnership with a church across the globe and 5.5 hours ahead in time.

In 2004, we began thinking that our newer people in church would appreciate God as a global God if we had a link overseas. After much prayer, our pastor went to the Baptist World Alliance conference, with Gods assurance that he would meet a pastor from overseas (we didn’t know what country!) to be our partner.

Long story short, this happened and we met pastor Timothy. We have seen many changes in both our churches over the years and our people feel connected and involved with the work there, especially the work with the street children.

Any small church can make a BIG impact by being linked overseas. Sometimes the link is through missionaries or sponsoring a child. Any link is good. We have enjoyed the challenge of our pastor asking every year, ‘who feels God is calling them on the next trip to India?’. People have come on the trips who would never have volunteered to be missionaries, yet this is exactly what we are ALL called to be, at home or abroad.

I encourage you to be linked globally and make a difference. A few pounds sterling turns into a lot of rupees!

visible.clothing is a fairtrade company working alongside workers in a factory in North India. Their christmas line 2015 was pyjamas (PJ’s).

It is all about team work – to make the simple Pjs, took over 1.5 hours and involved 20 different people. 20. That’s a lot of people for a simple, no thrills, pair of PJs.

Let’s meet them all:

1. Bitu: “I stored the fabric for your PJs (we also found out first hand at dinner that he is the factory’s celebrity chef and does an awesome curry!)

2. Ayaz: “I cut the pattern for your PJs” (on our way to dinner we experienced that he can also carry almost as many people on a motorbike as it takes to make a pair of PJs.)

3. Ajay: “I cut your PJs” (he competes with Ayaz on safe riding with multiple passengers but thankfully a little slower.)

4. Sheshi: “I collect the waste fabric from your PJs (in addition to beginning to think through ways of using waste fabric, as a cutter Sheshi works closely with Ayaz and Ajay to make sure the PJ fabric is perfectly cut.)

5. Shakil: “I stitched your PJs (he is one of the team of tailors who have clearly been trained to the highest standard, the quality and attention to detail was incredible.)

6. Sanjila: another of the team of tailors (Sanjila, a mother to an 8 week old daughter, sewed your PJs.)

7. Ramen: “I measured your PJs (a great team player, who is both deaf and dumb and therefore relies on gestures to communicate with his colleagues.)

8. Mahinder: “I made the button hole on your PJs” (Who knew that there a specific job to make the button hole on a pair of PJs? Its a very useful feature on any PJs so we appreciated his attention to detail.)

9. Swati: “I sewed in the elastic on your Pjs” (a valuable member of the tailoring team who is able to make anything out of anything)

10. Sonam: “I made the drawstring for your PJs (thanks Sonam for ensuring Visible PJs will stay on…!)

11. Pema: “I sewed in the label on your PJs (a Tibetan member of the tailoring team whose skill is matched by her beaming smile!)

12. Sushma: “I sewed the button on your PJs (Sushma even spends her lunch break knitting clothes for her friends.  That is a serious commitment to making clothes!)

13. Shiwani: “I trimmed your PJs” (Ever find loose threads on your clothes? It’s Shiwani’s job to find them before they reach your bed.)

14. Menu: “I checked the quality of your PJs  (Menu started as a hand stitcher and was promoted to this vital role.)

15. Tsela: “I ironed your PJ’s. (As we walked through the factory I realised that I’d never seen so many irons in my life. Critical to ensure your PJs arrive looking as quality as you would want them to look.)

16. Tenzin: “I took a photo of your Pjs (trained on the job to use a camera for amazing photoshoots, he now takes and edits all the product images)

17. Ganesh: “I processed the payment for your PJs (Ganesh’s wife, is also a tailor at the factory, but is currently on paid maternity leave as they have just had their first child.)

18. Shetal: I FedEx processed your PJs (the factory has an amazing partnership with FedEx which means that products can arrive on the customers doorstep 6 days after being made.)

19. Tsering: “I supervise in the factory that makes your PJs”

FINALLY 20. Namgyal: “I manage the factory that makes your Pjs. (A family man, and a man who works tirelessly to do things the right way for the benefit of all the factory’s employees.  Fantastic leader.)

So thats the deal.  20 people = 1 pair of PJs. Great to meet the dream team.

What a brilliant illustration of church! It matches up brilliantly with Ephesians 4 v16

He (Jesus) makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love”. (New Living Translation)

Each of us is gifted and when we all do our bit, the church grows in love and in numbers.

Its like each member of the orchestra playing an instrument, all playing a different sound yet together producing amazing music.

In 2016, let’s work together as church to glorify God and see people come to know Him.

A Chocolate Christmas

A long time ago, God made the Galaxy,

It was beautiful, rich, wonderful and He filled it with people, people he made, people he loved, people like you and me, people who were special to him. And he gave these people everything. Everything except one tree, one Fruit (Pastille) which they were told not to eat.

But the people wanted to do things their own way, so they did a Breakaway from God. Trouble is, after the breakaway everything started to go wrong. Things were really really Rocky.

Suffering, pain, loneliness, bullying, violence, death, because we’d chosen our way instead of God’s way

Many years later, a young woman was FRIGHTENED OUT OF HER WITS, when an angel suddenly turned up.

The Angel wondered if he Malteser fear (‘might ease her’) Don’t be scared he said, You’re going to have a son, the Son of God, call him Jesus – A name that means he’ll save people, he’ll make them friends with God again.

And though Joseph was a bit confused, he was a good egg, you couldn’t hope to meet a Kinder man (Kinder Egg), so he decided to look after Mary, and God’s baby.

So the story goes that Mary and Joseph travelled to Bethlehem. Mary was heavily pregnant, and Joseph wondered if she’d Flake out on the journey. They finally found a room full of animals, a kind of stable. We don’t know what sort of animals were there, whether there was a Kit Kat!, but by morning there was Jesus, Nestleing in his mothers arms.

All sorts of strange visitors started to turn up.

First some shepherds: they’d been up on the hillside, looking up at the Milky Way, when some angels appeared in the sky and said go and see God’s promised Saviour. Tell everyone, don’t Wispa, shout it out, God is here. So straight as an Aero they headed for Bethlehem to find Jesus. And they were there in a Jaffa.

Further away, some wise men were looking up at the planets in the sky: Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, when they saw something amazing. By the way: in the ancient world, Jupiter was the ‘king star’, and at the time of the birth of Jesus, Jupiter appeared in the night sky very close to Saturn, which represented Israel. If you were reading the sky you’d see ‘new king in Israel’.

So the kings packed up their Bounty – their presents for the new king

And came to see Jesus. They didn’t find him at king Herod’s palace, but those wise men were Smarties, they didn’t give up. And when they found Jesus they brought out their gifts, Gold for a king, incense for worship, myrrh for death.

And here’s the Crunch (ie). The baby Jesus is the Son of God, sent by God into the world. He is Divine, wrapped in human skin.

God’s gift to you: but you can only taste how good the gift is if you unwrap it.

I hope you do choose Jesus, but in the end, it’s your selection.

Definitely a reason for a celebration!

I came across this recently, it gave me food for thought…

A live church has parking problems.

A dying church doesn’t

A live church often changes the way things are done to do things better

A dying church doesn’t need to change a thing

A live church has lots of noisy children around

A dying church enjoys peace and quiet

A live church dreams great dreams for God’s kingdom

A dying church has nightmares

A live church incites people to risk involvement and new ideas

A dying church plays it safe and never risks anything

A live church supports world missions

A dying church says ‘charity begins at home’

A live church uses its traditions and buildings to serve God and people

A dying church uses people to serve its traditions and buildings

A live church worships

A dying church worries

A live church is filled with tithers

A dying church is filled with tippers

A live church forgives and seeks forgiveness

A dying church never makes mistakes

A live church looks for challenges and opportunities

A dying church looks our for problems and dangers

A live church evangelises

A dying church fossilizes

(Author unknown)

1 John 3 v17 – “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?”

1. Give to people who are in need

Read The Message – James 2 v14-17

“Dear friends,

Do you think you’ll get anywhere if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it?

For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say

Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ. Be filled with the Holy Spirit!” and walk off without providing so much as a coat or cup of soup – where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?”

Refugees – foodbank – beggars

Matt 5:42 Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.

2. Lending – take a straw poll in your church about stuff – who’s got…

Lawn mower, Strimmer, garden tools

Saw, screwdrivers and other tools

Ladder, paint brushes etc

Slow cooker, fondue set, cool box etc

Baby equipment – pregnancy clothes etc

Expertise – computers / tax returns / filling in forms

Then share it!

streetbank.com 77,000 people have signed up to share stuff in their street – this is what the world is doing!! What are we doing???

Do we feel it is OUR stuff?? Old stuff to charity shops, furniture projects etc NOT THE TIP!

2 Corinthians 9:6

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.

Church Welcomes Students

In my last blog, I asked for good stories to be sent in. I love this one from Southampton.

During the week 21-27th of September, Central Baptist Church, Southampton in partnership with a number of local businesses, the Council and Solent University, is actively welcoming back the returning 98% student population of the Polygon.

For the first time, the church is knocking on the doors that surround their building and offering each student home a welcome bag.

Within it is:

  • a small jar of tea,
  • a small jar of coffee,
  • a packet of biscuits,
  • a pen,
  • a notepad,
  • a key fob,
  • some candles (always short power failures in winter)some sweets,
  • some information about the church and its activities within the community, and
  • a collection of leaflets (Bin & recycling info from the council, the Solent student living guide) and money off vouchers (CO-OP, Rymans, OXFAM bookshop) to help the students settle in.

The church recognizes that this may not be world changing, but are hoping that it will be life changing a first step in making friends rather than remaining strangers.

One of the issues of living in the student village that is the Polygon, is the sheer turnover of people who live here for only 10 months a year.  The students have little time to build relationships beyond their peer group, so the church is hoping this will break down a few barriers and begin to create a wider sense of community.

What’s your story? Share it with us

Collecting stories

I love to hear stories about what God is doing in the smaller churches. However they don’t usually make the headlines or the mainstream Christian magazines.

I would love you to share your stories with me and other blog readers, about what is happening where you are. Let’s encourage each other on our journey keep going.

It’s our job to be faithful, its God’s job to be fruitful.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

 

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