"New Blog"

In honour of my pending ordination (tomorrow!!) I have set up a new blog, which will (hopefully) be a bit deeper than my ramblings on here. It’s at revjameshandley.wordpress.com I intend to keep this site going with photos, reviews, random thoughts (not that there has been a lot of that recently – doing a theology degree will have that effect!), but my main blogging will now be on t’other site. This isn’t a sacred/secular divide thing, it’s more like the difference between the editorial and the cartoons in the newspaper. I will leave you to decide which one you think […]

"Corporate Prayer"

Prayer is the lifeblood of the church, and having discussed personal quiet times, it is worth thinking about corporate prayer – or prayer meetings. Sadly these can make the heart sink, at the thought of sitting in a cold, uncomfortable chair for 20 minutes in silence without 3 other people who are looking at their feet! However, there are many models of prayer that enable a group of people to pray in a way that is exciting, relevant, and powerful. The nicknames of these models are not my own, they are how I have heard them referred to over the […]

"Quiet Times"

If you attended a Christian Union (or equivalent) as a schoolchild or student, you will already be familiar with the concept – if not always the practice – of “Quiet Times”. What is it? For those who aren’t familiar, the “Quiet Time” is a (ideally) daily exercise of taking some time out, and spending it intentionally with God. It usually involves elements such as worship, bible reading, prayer, journalling, meditation, and so on. Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, and Night Prayer (or compline) are very structured way of doing this, required of all Church of England clergy as a part of […]

"Confession"

“If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” – 1 John 1:9 At Spring Harvest 2014 I was struck by something the speaker (Ness Wilson) said in the context of the above verse at the main Bible reading. She said that at her church they use this verse as a sort of general confession, but that there was a danger here that we would never confess specific sins, and therefore not really confess them at all. In her words (as I remember them), you can’t disown something […]

"Progressive Psalm"

Another activity that’s good for youth group, but also cell group meetings, is the progressive psalm. It requires no significant extra preparation, but is a nice act of corporate worship. It’s a bit like the game “Consequences“, except that a poem of worship to God is built, instead of a silly story. As with everything else on this site, this isn’t my idea, and I take no credit for it – it is an exercise I have taken part in that I found to be a source of blessing and enjoyment. I struggle to identify where I first came across […]

"All Hallow’s Eve"

October 31st is an interesting day for the Church. How to engage positively with modern culture while still celebrating the Light? One approach is to subvert the festival to point in another direction altogether (i.e to Jesus). One possibility is to run a Light Party – a celebration of all that is light, with music, games, and sweets. The idea being it’s even better than dressing up as a zombie and going trick or treating! Another approach is to carve a ‘Christian’ pumpkin – as illustrated here. There is a little poem that goes with it that is a sort […]

"Journalling"

Journalling is, I think, one of the more misunderstood spiritual disciplines. There’s a sense that you have to be super spiritual to keep one, or write 5 sides of A4 a day. Certainly if you were to read the journals of spiritual “heavyweights”, it could be quite a daunting and demoralising experience. It doesn’t need to be a masterpiece though, and the simple act of writing down your thoughts, and occasionally going back to reflect on them is extremely valuable, as well as being an interesting and enjoyable exercise. The first rule is to ditch the guilt. It doesn’t matter […]

"Wages of Sin…"

In Romans 6:23, Paul says: For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Aside from the obvious quip (“That’s fine, thanks – I’ll sin on a voluntary basis”), I’ve been reflecting on this recently, and my own experience of sin and death. Sin, for the purposes of this post, is anything which is contrary to God’s will, plan, or nature. It must be kept that in mind that God, and Jesus’ sacrifice, are far greater than any sin we could conceieve of, or do – however bad […]

"Awareness Examen"

Some years ago, I read a book called “Contemplative Youth Ministry”, by Mark Yaconelli. This was while I was a youth group leader, and it is a book that has changed my life and my spirituality. I mentioned it already in the context of Lectio Divino. It’s a book about understanding God’s role, and our role. About moving away from anxiety driven ministry to Spirit lead (and equipped) ministry. It’s about saying “actually, these young people have a deep relationship with God, and maybe I’m here because God wants me to learn from them, and not the other way around. […]

"Life Verses"

I think Life Verses are probably a bit of a marmite thing – you either love the idea, or hate it/don’t see the point. I must confess that I haven’t read any direct explanation of what they are, so I’ve inferred it from some of the youthwork books I’ve read and my own personal experience. As a concept, they perhaps grab youth a bit more readily, but I think there may be value whatever your age. In essence, and as I understand it, a Life Verse is a particularly verse from the Bible that you feel God has given you […]

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