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Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Re-building a right foundation.

I cannot believe that it is now my fifth month as Pastor of the Mustard Seed Evangelical Church in Callington and this is my first post about the church. It might be hard to believe but it is not surprising considering all that has been going on.
This public forum is not the place to reveal what has been happening over the last few months as much of it has been deeply personal and very painful to all that have been involved. 
The church called me to be pastor in May and held an induction service (simply put this is a recognition service) where together before God we recognised that together with His help we would work together as the church.

The above picture to some might appear a bit spooky but all that is happening is that respected leaders of various churches are recognising that this is God's appointment and are praying for the work here at the Mustard Seed and the part that I will take in the ongoing ministry of the church. Without the help of God and the support of His people the church will never prosper and so prayer is vitally important.

J.K.Rowling is a great example of somebody who hung on in there in desperately difficult days and has from great difficulty has been able to rebuild her life. The church reached a very low ebb at the end of 2014 when we became involved but God is good and He loves His church and is building a people for His glory that we call the Mustard Seed. 

How does a church go about raising up when the people are so downcast? On my first Sunday I felt it necessary to begin a series of sermons from Acts of the Apostles called "Building a right foundation" where we are learning lessons from the infant church of the New Testament. The Apostles were being re-commissioned by the Holy Spirit and were having to come from rock bottom to victorious followers of the risen and ascended Lord Jesus. They were now about building His church and so Luke records a wonderful history of how it all took place. Acts is not a paradigm of how church should be but simply a history that reveals the high and low points of the emerging church of Jesus Christ.
What we have most learned is that as we move forward and seek to be more Godly then opposition is always heightened. It is then that we need to be resolved. The devil will not let go of the damage he has caused easily and so will in every way that he can cause grief for the people of God. 

We all agree that the past has been difficult and that there are issues that are still in need of resolution but if we keep on looking backwards we will stumble and fall therefore yet another line is drawn in the sand and we are determined by God's grace to move forward. Scripture is full of wonderful promises of blessing if we look forward and to Jesus only and so we are looking at what can be for the church. We are well aware that the promises of God are that He will bless His people but that His blessing is not our wants. we would want many things but what we need is what he has ordained for us. 


We are praying and studying the bible and seeking the way in which He would have us go. there are some very practical issues that first need attending to. Our building had fallen into disrepair and needs some re-vitalising attention and so we have had a good old clear out and have cleaned and are continuing to do so. The entrance into the building is awkward and somewhat dangerous for any with even minor mobility problems and so we are embarking upon re-siting the entrance and making it not only easy access but also attractive and welcoming. This is something that most thought would never happen but is now in progress! 

We are moving forward!

Pray with us and for us that God will be our motivating force, our guide and that all will be for His glory and the benefit of the gospel here in East Cornwall.

Thursday, 8 October 2015


One of the blogs that I regularly follow published this article that says just what I would love to have done. It gives a biblical rationale for putting away the communication device that has become all important. I get tired of talking with people who are constantly looking at an electronic device rather than the person in front of them We would count it as the height of ignorance for a person to walk up to us and speak privately to the person in front of us but yet a phone can do just that and so often it does. It is infuriating to say the least and always leaves me with the temptation to get up and walk away. I am now even more determined to be the last man standing that does not own one of the wretched devices.

Please read what Janet Denison has to say and even if you are not a Christian take note even if it is only when you are talking to me.
Written by Janet Denison on her blog: Focusing on God's word. 06 October 2015 10:00

Sherry Turkle holds an endowed chair at MIT and "serves as a kind of conscience for the tech world," according to a New York Times article. Her recent book, Reclaiming Conversation, is a self-help book for people who overvalue technology and undervalue the fundamental art of meaningful conversation.

This book lists important reasons to consider quieting our technology that every spouse, parent, friend, and family member needs to pay attention to. I'm writing about this topic because I think that the conversation crisis in our culture will also dramatically impact the church. Did someone text you the plan of salvation, or did you come to know Jesus after deep and meaningful conversations?

Even as I type I am picturing a large number of cell phones that are buzzing or dinging or ringing—right now. If that just happened, look Satan in the face, tell him to flee, and keep reading.

The NYT article summarizes the conversation crisis, saying, "Our rapturous submission to digital technology has led to an atrophying of human capacities like empathy and self-reflection, and the time has come to reassert ourselves, behave like adults and put technology in its place."

We all know what it is like to be speaking with someone who regularly glances down at a cell phone during the conversation. We don't mean to be rude, but what if the phone call is from…? Looking down at a cell phone says that whoever might be calling is more important than whomever you are actually with.

If you were sharing the plan of salvation with someone, would you interrupt that opportunity for a text message? We might not ever have the opportunity to share Christ if we treat our other conversations with that person any differently. Philippians 2:4 reads, "Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others." When we speak with people, do they think we are more interested in them than a message on our phone?

Sherry Turkle lists five reasons why we need to carefully evaluate the impact of cell phones on our lives and our relationships, and I've listed some Bible verses to ponder as well.

1. People have adopted new technologies in pursuit of greater control, only to feel controlled by them. Ephesians 5:15-16: "Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil." Do we spend time we should be walking with the Holy Spirit on our cell phones instead?

2. Idealized selves that are created with social media leave real selves all the more isolated. Romans 12:2 says, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." Looking down at a cell phone might seem like a way to look busy, important, or popular but it is really just another way to isolate yourself from someone God might have wanted you to connect with.

3. People communicate incessantly but are often afraid of face-to-face conversations. Ephesians 4:29 says, "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." Almost everyone is more careful about what they say to someone's face than what they put in a text message or email.

4. Children develop better, students learn better, and employees perform better when their mentors set good examples and carve out spaces for face-to-face interactions. 1 John 2:20 says, "But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge." The Holy Spirit is the most important source for information in our lives. In my own experience, he has never spoken to me in a text message.

5. Through conversational attention, people acquire a sense of enduring connectedness and a habit of talking about their feelings, rather than simply acting on them. One of the first verses in our Bibles is Genesis 2:18. God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him." The Lord God was not referring to a cell phone.

Stop and look around the sports arena, the school cafeteria, the mall, or even the church parking lot. As Christians, called to share our lives and our witness with others, are we connecting with people like we should? Does a small electronic device seem more interesting than the child at your feet or the spouse at your side? Does your cell phone exert too much control on your life and drain too much of your time each day?

People matter most. When we stand before the Lord on the Day of Judgement, not one of us will glance down at our cell phone. A challenge: Leave that phone in your purse, your pocket, or—better yet—at home or in the car. You might have a meaningful conversation with God or someone else as a result. Why did I think it was important to write this blog post?

"So you will find favour and good success in the sight of God and man" (Proverbs 3:4). Amen??

Monday, 5 October 2015

My aversion to facebook.

A number of years ago now I opened a facebook account for the sole purpose of being able to contact a member of the family whilst they were is a heavily censored communist state. They had a link through facebook that was via a close by open country. Facebook at the time meant that I was able to keep abreast of their work and security without the inconvenience of opened or disappearing post or the telephone going suddenly dead.

Facebook to me at that time was a very useful tool but very quickly I learned what a silly and potentially dangerous thing it really was. Not only is it childish, playground and geeky stuff it is a replacement for the old garden fence for gossips. I found so much of it to be trite tinged with all sorts of foolish and dangerous content.

One morning when opening up my page I learned what colour underpants a member of our congregation had gone to work in that day. That was enough for me and I vowed to never look at it again. I have kept that vow for the last 5 or 6 years and am resolute to keep well away from what I now refer to as Facelessbook:

It therefore gave me great joy when I received the following by e-mail the other day.

Facebook.. in real life...

For those of my older generation who do not really comprehend why Facebook exists:
It's a way of sharing your life with thousands and making new friends. Presently, I am trying to make friends outside of Facebook while applying the same principles.
 Therefore, every day I go down on the street and tell passers-by what I have eaten, how I feel, what I have done the night before and what I will do tomorrow night.  Then I give them pictures of my family, my dog, and me gardening and spending time in my pool.
I also listen to their conversations and I tell them I love them.
And it works.
I already have three persons following me:  two police officers and a psychiatrist.

This seems to put all in context to me!