Potholes and Belly-flops, Susie Flashman Jarvis, 2013
ISBN 978 0 9559135 8 7
This is an auto-biography written without polish or pretence. As an established Christian Susie tells the story of her transformation from a hedonistic lifestyle in the modelling industry to a life of faith. The later part of the book documents her daily discussions with God and how she practises her faith today.
I enjoyed reading Susie’s story and learning how God has changed her life.
Faith on the Streets, Les Isaac & Rosalind Davis, 2014 Hodder & Stoughton
ISBN 978 1 444 75009 6
This book was inspirational and tells the story of The Street Pastors movement. Having recently seen a woman wearing a ‘Street Pastor’ T Shirt in Bath I felt called to buy this book when I saw it at a Christian Festival this summer. It didn’t’ disappoint as it explains the birth of this movement, the work Street Pastors do through the eyes of people who have encountered their help on the streets and how they work in community; a book of Christianity at work in our schools and on our streets today. This is something I would like to explore further.
Have you noticed the abundance of fruit on the bushes and trees this year? Apple,plum and damson, elderberry,sloe and rosehip? Have you been enjoying this explosion of God’s bounty? It is easy to let this season pass us by without doing anything other than deal with the abundance that falls to the ground.
This year as I’ve been making fruit crumbles and jellies, as I plan chutneys and jams I have been thinking about fruit. God desires to see fruit in our lives (Galatians5 v22-23) and as I’ve peeled and chopped I’ve tried to honestly look at my life and see where I’m being fruitful and give thanks for it. Then, with more difficulty, I’ve looked to see where there is a shortage of fruit and ask God to deal with that area so that I can be more like Jesus.
So far so good, an interesting exercise that has made me stop and reflect.The next part took me more by surprise as I peeled and cored and noted the seeds inside. I began to think how the fruit of the Spirit, that God was developing in my life, contained seeds that could in turn bear fruit in someone else’s life. This is what I found exciting because it led me to think about the people and places where I was potentially having an effect/influence and to pray about the seeds contained within my words and behaviour.
Today, every small kindness, every encouraging word, every moment of self control or patience contains a seed that can bring the love and presence of Jesus into someone else’s life! – I said it was exciting!
Book Review: I absolutely loved this piece of Christian chic-lit! I bought this as a lighter summer read that would still have content to inspire me and that’s exactly what it did. Yet, it seemed to follow on beautifully from the somewhat more intense subject matter of Bill Johnson, Hosting the Presence, that had recently been the subject of our home group.
Chelsea’s marriage has fallen apart and after the death of her mother she returns ‘home’ to run her mother’s café. I can’t help but hope that we might be able to witness some of the delights of this story here at St Katharines: wonderful coffee, lives changing, guardian angels, people communicating directly with God…or maybe this is happening already!!!
Miracle at the Higher Grounds Café, Max Lucado, 2015
I love keeping up to date with the latest worship music. I often find that several churches across the globe will be writing music at the same with similar intentions and themes. Its so exciting when this happens, it really shows how we are all connected to the same God, the same source of love and that we are all listening to what he has to say to us fresh today.
With this in mind I often find that some of the old hymns come back to me time and time again. Not just their melodic and harmonic content but the rich depth of the lyrics are enough to chew on throughout the day. From a young age I have always valued the old hymns but I sometimes struggle to detach feelings of restraint and often frustration when I sing them. I believe this was because as a little girl whilst attending a different church I would become so confused watching people singing “oh the deep, deep love of Jesus” for example, with very little passion or joy. Not that I believe worship should be consistently happy but the stuff we were singing was completely radical and there was no obvious expression that as a church we were engaging with that.
So now, let me introduce to you a man who has revitalized christian hymns. This guy has become a huge success via YouTube through uploading hymns that are acapella. Just listen to this:
For me this version of the hymn, Oh Love That Will Not Let Me Go is completely outstanding. He has managed to marry the lyrics and harmonies so perfectly that it truly resembles the essence and purpose of this hymn. I have listened to this song countless times and I believe that with each time I grow stronger in spirit and mind. The hymn was written by George Matheson (1842-1906) here is an account from him as to why he wrote it;
“My hymn was composed in the manse of Inellan on the evening of June 6, 1882. I was at that time alone. It was the day of my sister’s marriage, and the rest of my family were staying overnight in Glasgow. Something had happened to me which was known only to myself, and which caused me the most severe mental suffering. The hymn was the fruit of that suffering. It was the quickest bit of work I ever did in my life. I had the impression of having it dictated to me by some inward voice than of working it out myself. I am quite sure that the whole work was completed in five minutes, and equally sure that it never received at my hands any retouching or correction. I have no natural gift of rhythm. All the other verses I have written are manufactured articles; this came like a dayspring from on high. I have never been able to gain once more the same fervor in verse.”
Wow. Researching the background stories of old hymns can completely transform their meaning and relevance to every day life, a bit like examining the oldest parts of the bible. How beautiful that Jesus can speak to us through history and day to day. I would love to challenge you all to broaden your listening and research when it comes to sung worship. There are so many revelations of love out there that have been wonderfully compacted into a ‘dusty old hymn’, hidden treasures you might say.