Thursday, 31 October 2013

Bible Challenge day 32

So it's been a month already. I have enjoyed the challenge, and managed to take my Bible out with me most of the time, except for a few times when I forgot.

One thing I learned is that when I am feeling grumpy and don't want to read my Bible, that is the best time to do it. The other day I read when I didn't feel like it, and found this great verse:

2 Corinthians 4:17-18

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

I didn't have anyone asking me why I was carrying my Bible around, which is a shame, but I guess it's still a good witness. The more people see something, the more normal it becomes, and I would love for Bible reading in public to be more normal.

I probably enjoyed reading my Bible the most on the bus, so I think I will still take it out with me on public transport. Also it was cool having it at church for the first time in years.

Hopefully my co-challengees  also enjoyed their task. :)

Be the change you want to see.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Bible challenge day 19

My Bible challenge has inspired me to talk to people more often. As I said in my last blog, I believe that I am becoming more sympathetic to others, and wanting to chat to strangers is part of that. Previously I would never have spoken to anyone that I didn't know. Now I find myself talking to people on the bus and shop workers and mums at the school.

I believe that God has prompted me to speak to specific people a couple of times over the last week. I'm not sure why, as I haven't actually got round to mentioning the gospel yet, but I do feel that being more friendly is part of this process. I did tell a nice old lady the other day that I have some friends who are living in India for a while, but didn't get the chance to say why. Maybe I'll see her again, I don't know. It has been good practicing being more obedient to God though.

I forgot to take my Bible when I went out today, but I did have the chance to talk about my church to two people who previously didn't know that I was a Christian. It helps that our church is so involved in the community! If Gateway church was a Sunday club then that wouldn't be a good witness to non-Christians.

I am now reading 1 Corinthians and this passage jumped out at me:

1 Corinthians 22-25

Jews demanded miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling-block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom , and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

This passage makes me think of the intelligent people who disdain and mock Christianity because of thinking that God has to fit into human limitations (e.g. he has to have been born at some point or he has to follow the rules of science.) I can see how some people would think that believing in God is crazy, but that's because they don't have the wisdom of God nor understand that God made the laws of science, maths, time etc.  
When you are saved, I believe that the Holy Spirit is given to you, and with that some of the wisdom of God. Of course we still have comparatively little understanding or wisdom of God, at least until we meet him in Heaven one day.  Having a good knowledge of the Bible helps as it's the word of God.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Bible challenge day 13

I have found a good way to carry my Bible around when I go for a walk - on my daughter's pram. I took it to the local shops this week. Sometimes I don't bother with a shopping basket so I was pushing around my Bible and some brioche. That sounds a bit middle class doesn't it? :/ I did get a couple of funny looks but everyone is too polite to say anything.

I have become a fan of reading it on the bus and have done so a few times this week. Two things that I have noticed over the past 13 days are:

1) I am generally in a better frame of mind.
2) I am more sympathetic.

I really wouldn't have expected this from the challenge, but there you go. I believe that point one comes from reading my Bible more often (simply because it's to hand) and point two is more due to reading in public.

I wonder how my fellow challengees are doing? It was good to see another Bible being placed on the table alongside mine at lunch this week. I really should get a smaller one; mine is so heavy!

I must remember to take it to church tomorrow.

Thursday, 10 October 2013


The wind blows hard

And the conkers fall

With a plop plop plop

They drop drop drop

At my feet onto

A crunchy bed of

Yellow, orange, red.


Conkers conkers conkers,

Shiny brown and smooth.


I hunt around,

Find them on the ground,

Pick some up and

Put them in my pocket.

A boy has a

Blue jumper-full.

He hands me some:

One, two, three.


I take them home;

Count them out

On the carpet:

Sixty-one in all.


Conkers conkers conkers,

Shiny brown and smooth.


Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Bible Challenge - day 9

Something strange happened to me while I was reading my Bible on the bus yesterday.

I started looking at people's faces as they were getting on; wondering who they were and what they were like. I actually felt fond of them- strangers on public transport that I would usually ignore or tolerate. There were some old ladies, teenage lads,  a girl with bright red lipstick and another lady with a baby. As I read about the early church in Acts and then looked at these people, it's like I made a connection between Jesus' love for people in the Bible and his right-now love for some travellers on a bus in Swindon. Because it's exactly the same. This is something I knew in my head before very well, but now I know it in my heart. And that's completely different.

God cares about these people. He loves these people. He wants these people to be saved. Just like us- we're nothing special. God didn't choose us because we are somehow better than non-Christians. What a joke! God rescued us while we were still dead in our sins, not because we were good or nice.

Have you ever spoken to someone and it's obvious that they are not really interested or have something else on their mind or don't really like you? It's happened to me a lot. Sorry if you thought that you were getting away with it, but you're not. I guess in the same way, if we go out telling people about the gospel or doing good deeds out of a sense of duty or wanting to look good then people are going to know. They are going to see that there's something false about the whole thing. And if you can't love them or even like them, then why would God?

Our job as Christians is to reflect God's love to others; not to tell them about their sins or how much better we are than them. If you are judging then you are not loving. You won't be fruitful for God's kingdom if you are constantly looking to yourself. You need to look to God.  

And that's why I think reading the Bible more and in public is helping me to love people more, because it means that I am looking to God first. After all, loving each other is the second commandment, so it's quite important.


You know the feeling when you smell freshly washed clothes that have been out in the sun all day?

Or when you jump into an outdoor pool or lake?

That's the feeling that I get when I read my Bible. Clean, pure, good.

When I travel to London, it's fun and exciting and different. But I can feel a layer of grime on my skin from being there. When I leave and get back to Swindon, I look at the trees and the sky and the familiar roads and I think "I'm home." It's such a good feeling to be out of the concrete and noise and pollution.

I think the world adds a thin layer of grime to our minds. Newspapers and websites and TV and games are all fun, but consume too much and you start to feel cynical, pessimistic and weary. Reading the Bible is an antidote to that because it's full of truth and light and love. We need to constantly remind ourselves of God's goodness because we have short memories.

Don't let the world wear you down. Read your Bible.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Bible challenge day 8

I have been carrying my Bible around with me pretty much everywhere since last Monday. It's going well, although the one time I did forget to take it along with me was when I was to church on Sunday. Ironic. Maybe that's the place that I almost need it least as there are fewer non-Christians there to witness to? Maybe.

I haven't bothered taking my Bible to church for years as they put the words up on the screen during the preach anyway. Yes I know that this is lazy. Yesterday was the first time in a long time that I missed having my Bible around actually.

I read it waiting for the bus and on the bus today, for the first time ever I think. I enjoyed that, and I noticed at least one person looking at me. It does make you think about how you act though; if you are carrying a Bible then you are aware that people are watching you and know or at least suspect that you are Christian. It's a bit like driving a company vehicle with a logo on I guess- you need to behave!

I finished Acts today and there was something about reading what the first church got up to, in public rather than hidden away in your house or church building. It makes you wonder what you would do if you were one of the disciples with Paul. He spent a lot of his ministry in jail, preaching to the prisoners and guards. Some people hated the early Christians and the disciples were persecuted for their faith. Today in the Western world we can go to church, read our Bibles in public and generally be Christian without too much fear of arrest. That' s a privilege that we shouldn't take for granted.

One time that I haven't been taking my Bible out is when I go for a walk, simply because it's too big to carry around conveniently, and hiding it away in my bag doesn't seem good enough. I'm going to see if I can be brave enough to carry my Bible around in my hand next time I go for a walk. We'll see.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

100 word story

I wake up. What was that noise? I look around, but can't see anything unusual. There was definitely a strange sound, coming from outside. It's dark so I can't see what it is. I stretch and yawn. I begin to drift back to sleep.  

I hear terrible shrieking. Is this real? My heart starts to race and I feel sick. Something is wrong. My head is hurting. I feel scared.

A whoosh of cold air and a terrible noise. I screw up my eyes against the sudden bright lights.

It's all too much for me.

I scream.

'It's a girl.'