November 28, 2013

Thursday Ponderings

Thought for Thursday

A rich young ruler encounters Jesus!

Mark 10:17 -  As Jesus started on his way; a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honour your father and mother.'"

"Teacher," he declared, "all these I have kept since I was a boy."

Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!"

Matthew describes him as a young man (Matthew 19:16-26). Luke describes him as a wealthy ruler (Luke 18:18-27). In Mark’s account, he is simply a man (Mark 10:17-22). Put altogether that makes him a rich young ruler. He runs up to Jesus and falls on his knees before him. He wants eternal life, wants it now and so asks Jesus about it. When he calls Jesus a good teacher, Jesus responds “No one is good—except God alone.”

What do you think you are asking?

Now Jesus could have been correcting the young man, but more likely Jesus was asking: “Do you know what you are saying and how close to the truth about me you are?” This young man had fully kept the commandments listed by Jesus (Mark 10:19). However when Jesus said to the young ruler that in order to follow Him, he would have to give up all his wealth in order to have treasure in heaven and eternal life, the man left disconsolate.

That was a step too far for this man. He wanted his riches and also eternal life but Jesus said he couldn’t have both. He remains the only man to have left Jesus’ presence sorrowful, and that due to putting his trust in his riches and wealth alone. Now riches are not necessarily wrong but they do make trusting fully in God very difficult (Mark 10:23). So what does trusting in Jesus look like?

An Outcast Woman encounters Jesus!

Now we look at somebody who was despised by the world and an outcast in her community! Reading from

John 4:3-10, 23-26

So he left Judea and returned to Galilee. He had to go through Samaria on the way. Eventually he came to the Samaritan village of Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime. Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food.

The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?”

Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”

Then down to verse 23

But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”

The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming—the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

Then Jesus told her, “I Am the Messiah!”

Now we come to see somebody who accepted Jesus for who he was. Jesus went via Samaria as it was the shortest route back to Galilee. It was hot. Jesus was thirsty and wanted a drink. His disciples had gone into town to get food. So he asks a Samaritan woman to fetch him some water from the well. That he asked a Samaritan would have been bad enough, but to also talk to a woman!

The woman

We don’t know the name of this woman. But by looking at this conversation between Jesus and her, we discover several things about her! That she was a Samaritan. There was equal animosity between Jews and Samaritans, hence the end of John 4v9: “(For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)” The Samaritans were a mixed race people of both Jewish and Assyrian descent from the time of the division of Israel into two parts and the annexation of the Northern kingdom by Assyria.

She was an outcast, which is why she was fetching water at the hottest part of the day! This was probably due to her sexual immorality having had 5 husbands and currently in a 6th relationship (John 4:18). We do know for sure that she was waiting for the Messiah (John 4:25) to come!

What does this encounter tell us about Jesus?

We see Jesus' genuine humanity. He was tired, drained, hot, thirsty and hungry – normal human feeling and reactions. We know Jesus contravened tradition in that he spoke to a woman who was a Samaritan and a sinner. Respectable Jewish men never did that sort of thing! Hence the disciples reaction in John 4:27! That in asking for water, he was capable of great humility by asking for a drink of water; for by so doing, he was putting himself in her debt.

Yet, he knew the woman’s life of sinfulness (John 4:17) and it tells us of his divinity, when he offered her the water of eternal life (John 4:14) would spiritually satisfy her (John 4:14)! He Loved the woman, and gave her the most revealing and explicit statement we have in the Gospels as to who he really was (John 4:26) when he said outright “I Am the Messiah!” Remember, he said that to an outcast and non-Jew! Amazing!

When the disciples returned, the woman left her water jar, (quite probably one of her only possessions) and went back to the town to tell other people about this Jesus (John 4:29-30). In the remainder of John 4, we read of the many people coming to faith because of the Samaritan woman’s testimony.

Jesus as the ‘I AM’, was ever-reaching out with an all-encompassing forgiveness and love to the poor or rich, learned or uneducated, male or female, wanted or unwanted, Jew, Gentile or Samaritan. Through his exclusive claims there is a great inclusiveness of all who are willing to submit only to Him, as both the rich young ruler and the Samaritan women found out – both with different outcomes – one left dejected and the other left celebrating! Thank you!

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November 27, 2013

WOW Word 02

Alphy the WOWChurch Cat

goes for a drive and teaches us all a lesson!

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November 25, 2013

All For The Good - Sue

He Loves You

by Sue Goodall

He loves you
With a love so pure;
So unremitting and unconditional...

He loves you
With a love so vast;
So unlimited and Unequalled....

He loves you
With a love so stong;
So infinite and Incomparable.

He loves you with a love
So beautiful
So inexorable and Incalculable.

He loves you With a love so PERSONAL;
So inexhaustible and inestimable.
He. Loves. YOU

Thanks for reading and listening! Let me know your thoughts by making a comment below!


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November 24, 2013

Tickle 2


The Art of Tickling -


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G'day! Welcome to Partakers and we are on day 2 of the series "The Art of Tickling" addressing the question of "How can traditional churches and those with older congregations use new media without excluding people?"

Use the talents of people!

I think that everybody has some measure of talent that can be used, including those who would ordinarily be dismissed from having any input into Christian worship and thinking, such as the elderly and those we earlier identified as being from the excluded group!

We have to use people's talents, knowledge and wisdom, whatever it maybe, and whoever they maybe, and put them online using New Media!

We combine those talents, knowledge and wisdom with the methods of New Media: Websites, Blogs, Mobile Applications, Social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Video and Audio.

We have to also ensure these people are safe! Don't disclose too much personal information about them! Also ensure they get some measure of feedback, because that will encourage them to do more!

Things that can be put on with New Media are photography, poetry, bible talks, testimonies, hobbies, interests and short stories. We could make an impact using New Media!

New Media Activity Days!

Another idea is New Media Days at your church, or churches together! You could hold a regular event, say quarterly, at your church where people can come and contribute something using New Media. For want of a better name call it a New Media Activity Day or something like that.  It would be a good way to get the younger members of the church to interact with the slightly less young members of the church! Using New Media to build and encourage the churches helps build stronger communities..

Prayer is the key!

Another idea of how to include people in this new media is to get them to pray for people you tickle and interact with online! Facebook and Twitter are rife with prayer requests from people! Take those prayer requests and sensitively get members of your church to pray! Get them interested! What a great way to include them! If possible, do ask however the person needing prayer if you can ask others though, as some people may not want you to! You don't need to give names or even initials - God knows their name!

Get Beside People!

Somebody could get beside them regularly and help them - building community! For example, they could record several podcasts or videos at one time and then distributed over a long period of time.  Or it could be once a month or whatever!

Have regular monthly spots on your church blog so that on the 5th of each month, people know who will be on!  Here is a good example! In your Church, I reckon the ladies there have amazing recipes! Why not garner the recipes, put online - with photographic evidence and taste tests!  Another way we can include those who wouldn't necessarily want to be involved in New Media! For example, on the 5th of November Marjory shares a recipe she has used for years! This particular poem was recorded by George who can't get out much but has a fine strong voice still. Somebody has taken the time to be with these two people, has taken Marjory's recipe, had it recorded by George on a smart phone and put it online! How about that for a bit of tickling?

Use People's skills!

The elderly, in particular, have a lot of knowledge and wisdom which can be distributed.  The retired company chairman has invaluable advice she could give in regards to how the unemployed people in your church and community could do better to make them more employable.  Writing interview and application tips for example!

No Technology? No Problem!

Now here is a potential problem! For those without access to technology, there is the use of facilities in most libraries. Where I live, the libraries run courses for those wanting to know more about being online! Whatever the person's interest is, it can be put online!

Or how about this! Passing on older technology for people to use! We all upgrade at some point, so why not give on the obsolete technology to those who maybe able to use it! And even help them to use it!


  • Get people to pray for those you interact with using New Media!
  • Get those people to pray for YOU as you use and develop New Media.
  • Get beside people and get them using New Media!
  • Have regular New Media Activity Days!

We can do it! Let's go tickle!

Now, you may well be here representing a large church! Go for it - you have the numbers! What is stopping you?

Or you may be here representing a small church. You can go tickling with New Media as well...

Whatever church you represent, here is a bit of a radical idea. How about getting churches to work together in some way as a New Media expression within your local community?

Use your blogs and other New Media to reach out into your local communities.

Be willing to participate in New Media activities of your community. Large numbers of local communities are represented on Facebook. Instead of starting a new page for your church there, be willing contributors on the community page.

Go! Let's go Tickle with New Media!

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November 23, 2013

Tickle 1


The Art of Tickling -

What, why and who?

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Welcome! We are starting a new brief series based on a session I did at the 2011 Christians in New Media Awards and Conference. This session addressed the question of "How can traditional churches and those with older congregations use new media without excluding people?"

What is New Media?

Now you may well be asking what is this New Media or Social Media as it is also known. It is Websites, Blogs, Mobile Applications, Video, Audio and Social Networks such as Facebook and Twitter!

At the conference, we were given the opportunities to investigate how to do those 8 things, to a greater degree of skill! This series, based on that session is about putting that knowledge into practise!

To use New Media is to Tickle!

Now instead of using our question each time I want to address, I have summed it up into one word - Tickle!  Here is what Tickle stands for!

Teach & Train

Interact & Inspire

Create and Communicate

Kind and Kindle

Love and Learn

Encourage and Explore

So by the time this short series is over, hopefully we will have learnt a bit more about the art of Tickling and how to get people using it!

Why Tickle?

However, before we know how to tickle, there are two questions to answer. Our first question is why. You may well be here and not know why you should be using new media and tickle! Why do we want to know how to use New Media and include everybody?

The church of the New Testament had the 3 r's! There were seen as radical! There were seen to take risks as led by the Holy Spirit! There were seen to be relevant to their communities! How far from this has your church gone?

  • It can shows church acting as a community!
  • Gives the excluded and elderly an opportunity to know they are loved, valued and included.
  • Gives those same people, the chance to use their talents and spiritual gifts!
  • Further along those lines it gives them an opportunity to further enhance and be trained in the use of their talents and knowledge!

So that's why!

Who are the excluded?

But now a second question remains before we get to how. That question is: Who are we excluding - either deliberately or accidentally?

Here are the kinds of people, in our churches, who I think are generally excluded from participating:

  • Elderly
  • Home confined & isolated
  • Disabled
  • Homeless
  • Unemployed
  • Poor - financially and technologically
  • Disinterested and self-excluded

Part 2 will be tomorrow and that will be about ways in which I have tickled. Thank you.

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