The Transporter - Jesus Army Life, Day 136

In community we try to share transport as much as possible. Sometimes it can be a bit of a nightmare. A couple of weekends ago the 'transport deacon' had to make seven different lists for all the traveling that took on the Sunday. It doesn't exactly sound like living in simplicity does it? But he did make everyone else's life easier and he must have looked after about 30 people that day.

Last night, of course, it was snowing. To make it worse we were delayed leaving our office and the deacon had had to rearrange transport already because someone had to work late where he was too. We ended up transporting seven people home in the people carrier and arrived home 40 minutes later than intended, only to have to rush off again for the evening's church leaders' meeting.

Still, it makes life interesting, if not a little complicated sometimes.

(The meeting was excellent by the way, all about the 'Ziklag experience' where we leave behind our Saul mindset to find our David spirit... because it is not our character which achieves God's work but our availability for his purpose.)


Boomerang - Jesus Army Life, Day 135

A White Stone brother is over in Australia at the moment. We've been keeping in touch with him by email. I wonder how he's really doing though.

It's no doubt an important time for him to catch up with his parents but I hope it brings blessing and growth to his own soul too.

There is something about being away from the 'Body of Christ'. Like the proverbial boomerang, you're always glad to get back.


Speaking faith into dreams - Jesus Army Life, Day 134

"Why do you always do this to me?" she asked as I asked her to lead us in another old song she'd never played before. When God made me he ticked 'no' on the musical brain option, but I like to think my lack of music sus brings a raw edge to our worship experience... At least that's how I comfort myself when we fall about laughing at another musical blunder in the church times I lead.

This multitalented friend of mine quickly found the chords and we were soon singing and bopping away to another chorus. The theme of the evening had been 'church' and while it might not have scored too highly on profound thought we discovered an emphasis on 'family'. And the consciousness of God's life among us grew, even if it was with a note of hilarity.

At the endof the meeting, most of us drove over to another community house to celebrate the 50th birthday of a well respected saint. The room was packed full of friends and, as the community leader pointed out, most of them hadn't been around before she had come; in other words there were many who were there just to celebrate her place among us. It seemed like a suitable way to honour someone who has worked hard and set an example to us all in speaking faith into our dreams.

It's because of people like her that I continue my dream of gathering a people for God. Something which, by my own ability, I could not achieve.


Appreciative - Jesus Army Life, Day 132

Life is full of changes. Events keep taking place. You catch up with people you realise you should never have lost touch with. Thank goodness for those friends who stick with you for the long haul. Those who are committed to you in all the ins and outs of life. When you have friends like that you feel like the richest of kings - or at least I do.

In our church we make a big thing of covenant. And rightly so. Jesus didn't establish a 'new covenant' with God's people for nothing, it was done through his blood and it should mean everything to us. That covenant joins us together, it is a promise to never betray, but to always build with each other. At White Stone I can think of three people who are thinking of making a deliberate covenant in the by and by. I am very grateful. Their commitment, sacrifice and consecration will mean that more souls can be saved, more people truly loved, more people come to know Jesus and build the beauty of his church. It is a good thing.

Of course Jesus' covenant has to be worked out in the immediate context. It is the focused, local vision that galvanises a household of God into action. Our commitment together is a force to be reckoned with, it celebrates the love, purity, power and wisdom of Jesus as he works his Spirit in us. And it is this empowering that means we can spend time discipling younger ones, break bread together, commit ourselves to greater works, spend time in the company of one another's hearts, welcome the many with chaotic lives who know their need of Jesus. Jesus Army there is so much more for us to do...

Sorry, I haven't written lately - but, rest assured, that is what we've spent the last few days doing. And we need more labourers in the field.



One good turn deserves another...


Life is full - Jesus Army Life, Day 128

Life seems full of problems and joys, so, I'm planning to embrace both with energy.

What, after all, is the point of going through life simply ducking the issues that present themselves to you? And life without making the most of every joy would leave it tiresome and bland.

So whatever the exquisite curiosities of life, whether it be friends, early mornings, meetings, books, church, study, girls, fitness programs, family, small wonders, god, salvation, me, town life, strangers, conversation, cares, laughter, woes, food, distant friends, mini-victories, loved lost ones... I intend to enjoy it all.

Friday night was good by the way. And the weekend seemed typically busy. Maximum appreciation to everyone who made each bit possible.


Fearing to trust - Jesus Army Life, Day 125

Last night was a positive time. Lots of people around. Lots of gospel conversations happening.

Tonight is a scheduled time for the house family to be together. I'm not sure what is planned, we're just going to make sure everyone who lives in the community house is involved. Part of me is dreading it because of my current focus on trusting others more.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not all tense around other people. I love the friendship and banter we have. I'm just not very good at relaxing with people.

Still, I have no doubt it will be an excellent time...


Knock yourself out trust - Jesus Army Life, Day 122

I've been thinking about building trust (See 'Significance' below) and I haven't worked out much yet.

Trust is the basis of any friendship, you can't create it through a pumped up meeting, you can't have set trust-building times. Trust is what happens when you're not doing anything much.

Trust grows because you are there, in the right place at the right time.

If being there when you're needed produces trust then it means wanting to be around enough to put aside any other agenda. It means sacrificing your time. For me that means not hiding from the love of others through being overly-busy.

I need to deliberately choose to be with those I love rather than be off doing something else. Even if it does seem boring, scary, unemotional, knock-yourself-out, mind-numbingly pedestrian (at first...), achieving the beauty of friendship with those you're not naturally drawn to (but love anyway) is worth it. And God will bless it.


Best deserts - Jesus Army Life, Day 121

At the end of an eventful weekend I was sitting in the kitchen with some of the other guys forstalling the inevitable retreat to bed. We were chatting about various curiosities such as the days of egg collection at some of the farm-community houses, and the dozy hens we used to keep. "Silly hour" was kicking in with full force.

We danced over a range of topics: the coming week, a resident member feeling poorly, the chickens. Earlier in the day we'd shared baked alaska with the parents of a student friend who had stopped for the night in their camper van outside our house. It was good to make new friends and the delicious desert was a belated birthday treat for me. One sister commented that the first thing she knew about the dinner guests was coming downstairs in the morning and finding two strangers eating breakfast in our kitchen. It's certainly good to be able to share life with such activity and spontanaity. "That," she resigned, "is one of the things about living in community."


Good friends - Jesus Army Life, Day 118

The other night the brothers' cell group was invaded by a couple of new faces. They just er... weren't brothers. (Okay so we forgot the twiglets and had the cheek to ask a sister, thankfully a good friend, to bring some over). Still, it was a good laugh and the guests joined us for a short while.

Wednesday night groups can be very relaxing times of just coming out of yourself. We asked the question: "What do you need to achive in your life that you would always regret not doing?" Some excellent heart sharing followed.

One of the things that I love about living in community is that I'm spending my life with people I admire, respect and love. Some of them were fellow students at Uni, some of them I got to know after. It is nothing short of a dream to think that these are people I'll be good friends with for the rest of my life. And beyond.

There is a quote which has become something of an urban myth among us...

Sitting with his church at their regular Tuesday night meal, with friends among whom he'd known great times and miseries, the man told his companions: "I'd rather be here with you than with the finest people on earth."

That's kinda how it feels.


Nothing doing - Jesus Army Life, 115

(Today I have a cold - I always get colds when I slow down, must be one of the reasons I keep going.)

Last night I relaxed. I spoke to a few people on the phone. I read The Silmarillion. I chatted to a few friends. I had intended to go out to see one friend in particular, but I was a bit too worn out. It can wait.

We had a group of guys and a group of gals round our place last night. I may have said before, every so often we get together in groups to discuss our lives as disciples. It was just good to know people were in touch, discussing problems and encouraging one another.


Significance - Jesus Army Life, Day 114

It's been an interesting weekend: parties, meetings, meals with friends, spiritual times, significant times, family times, community times.

I feel very thankful for the brotherhood of love there is around me. I needed holding together a bit last night after leading what felt like a difficult gospel meeting. I was really just too tired. A good friend gave me a hug and helped reassure me. Another friend told me this morning how effective they felt the meeting had been. It's curious how we can perceive things differently.

But I was praying this morning, musing over my fast-paced lifestyle and wondering how I could serve God by being less tired. I live fast because I'm not confident in the friendship of those around me.

I have always been conscious to assert my own identity, independent of others. There are reasons for that which are too boring to go into. But I want to relax in the company and love of my friends and find confidence in that...

Hmm, this is too difficult to get my head round right now, but I'm sure you understand. If you know what I mean, leave us a comment. As usual I need the security of thinking an idea through before I embrace it.


Manic moments - Jesus Army Life, Day 110

7.30pm: House family sits round the dinner table, joking about passing various objects to each other: "Can you roll me that tomato?" At one point husband "hovers" a banana over to tonight's dinner guest. Banana falls in wife's soup and soup falls out onto wife's clothing.

1.00am: Yours truly returns home after long drive, exhausted and ready for bed. Having borrowed friend's keys, dopeyhead hangs keys on noticeboard with thank-you note. Keys drop behind cabinet. Yours truly lies on stomach to reach under cabinet and feel for keys. Find keys... can't retrieve arms. Everyone else in bed, still can't pull out my arms. Tired. Minutes pass. Nearly decide to go to sleep in same position in hall way...