Breathing Space 2015 – #BSpace15 Session 3

4 Mar

Susie, in a slight change to her original plans, is focussing on the area of encouragement within relationships.

Again, focussing on Mark 5:21-43, we look at how Jesus encouraged people.

Jesus names people. He called the woman who touches His cloak “daughter” and calls Jairus’ daughter “little girl”. They are not seen as numbers but as people. Jesus acknowledges them both, not to take issue with them but to affirm them.

 Jesus was really present in the situation. Susie shares her experience of being present with a young person when the young person’s pet hamster had died. Susie points out that we need to be present, not at our own level but at the level that the young people need us to be. Jesus sees the things that really matter and is present in those situations and moments.

Jesus responds with compassion, first to the bleeding woman and then to Jairus and his family and household.


Breathing Space 2015 – #BSpace15 session 2

3 Mar

Susie leads us in thinking about those who have impacted us in our developing years, as we grew up. She shares her experiences of youth leaders who loved her regardless of what mood she turned up with, and who accompanied her on her journey of faith.

Susie then asks us to think about those adults that we knew on our journey and the positive things that they made us think and feel and then asks us to write them down on post it notes and put  them on a drawing of a stick young person.

We are then asked to think about what are the things that young people today need in order to build positive relationships with them, again putting them on post its and sticking them on a drawing, this time of a stick youth worker.

Susie then talks about the 4 stages of building/growing relationships with young people: contact, connect, care and challenge (Doug Fields)

Relationships aren’t about making things better, they are about being with people during everything, including the hard bits.

Young people rarely have the same expectations of their youth worker as we might think that they have. They often want to simply “be” and spend time having fun with their friends.

We also need to be aware of the expectations on us by adults where we work, being aware where these expectations are unrealistic and aware of when this takes its toll on us.

We need to be realistic in our relationships, both with young people and the adults that we work with.

Breathing Space 2015 – #BSpace15 Session 1

3 Mar

This year’s speaker is Susie Mapledoram, DYO for Manchester Diocese, who will be sharing on the theme of relationships we have with people in our lives and our work.

In our first session we are looking at the people in our lives that matter to us.

Susie has created a large number of picture frames, drawn on the back of sheets of wallpaper, for us to draw the people that matter to us, that support us in our work and in our lives outside of work.

After we have had some time to draw Susie asks for the stories behind the pictures, as we remember how important these people are in our lives.

Susie then reads Mark 5:21-43

“Now when Jesus had crossed over again by boat to the other side, a great multitude gathered to Him; and He was by the sea. And behold, one of the rulers of the synagogue came, Jairus by name. And when he saw Him, he fell at His feet and begged Him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter lies at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live.” So Jesus went with him, and a great multitude followed Him and thronged Him. 

Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.” 

Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction. And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My clothes?” 

But His disciples said to Him, “You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’” 

And He looked around to see her who had done this thing. But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.” 

While He was still speaking, some came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” 

As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not be afraid; only believe.” And He permitted no one to follow Him except Peter, James, and John the brother of James. Then He came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and saw a tumult and those who wept and wailed loudly. When He came in, He said to them, “Why make this commotion and weep? The child is not dead, but sleeping.” 

And they ridiculed Him. But when He had put them all outside, He took the father and the mother of the child, and those who were with Him, and entered where the child was lying. Then He took the child by the hand, and said to her, “Talitha, cumi,” which is translated, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” Immediately the girl arose and walked, for she was twelve years of age. And they were overcome with great amazement. But He commanded them strictly that no one should know it, and said that something should be given her to eat.”

Susie draws our attention to the part where the woman touches Jesus’ cloak and Jesus feeling power flow out from Him. Jesus’ response is to call her “daughter”, which shows us the love He has for us, that He cares for us and knows us before we have even come into being.

Soulnet 2015 – session 5

1 Feb

And so here we are at the final session of the weekend.

Krish is speaking to us on suffering.

Before starting Krish shares with us about his charity Home For Good (home

Krish starts by saying that suffering can cause some people’s faith to disappear and other people’s to grow stronger.

How do we prepare people to deal with suffering?

These are some of the ways that people try to tackle the existence of suffering:
Buddhism – bad desire. The world outside is an illusion so you need to disconnect and engage with the cosmic oneness. The problem of bad desire needs to be dealt with by removing our desires and accepting the world as it is. This leads to retraction from engaging with the world.
Hinduism – bad karma. Suffering that happens is a result of bad things you have done in a previous life.
Atheism – suffering is just bad luck. There is no reason for it, no purpose behind it.

And yet when we see the reaction of Stephen Fry we see that he is using a moral code to state his objections to the way the world is.

The logical problem:
– God is all powerful
– God is all loving
– Suffering happens

Can God create a stone that is too heavy for Him to lift? The problem with this question is that it is nonsensical, as it is asking the question about God’s omnipotence without realising that this is a part of His nature, not an ability He has.
This then links into free will, where we ask where suffering comes from. We go in to the understanding of God wanting a relationship with humanity. The only way for a true relationship if for God to give us free will, which means there is the capacity for us to do evil.
God is not outside of our suffering, He suffers with us. Not only that, but He suffered to on the Cross. And it’s not just about our personal relationship, but it is about Jesus making things new, for all.
We also need to remember that it is not all bad, there are good things in this world too. But in all this we must remember that it is a foretaste of the future. It is like the tasting booths at Waitrose, where you get a taste of the real thing, but not the whole of it.

We finished with this video.

Soulnet 2015 – session 4

31 Jan

Live blog from session 4 at Soulnet.

And we are back with Krish as he speaks on how we can be sure to do justice to our young people and to Scripture in our youth work and how to deal with the tough parts in the Bible.

Krish starts by pointing out that there are many parts of the Old Testament that often cause us to have problems in accepting who God is.
Deuteronomy 20:10-18
“When you go near a city to fight against it, then proclaim an offer of peace to it. And it shall be that if they accept your offer of peace, and open to you, then all the people who are found in it shall be placed under tribute to you, and serve you. Now if the city will not make peace with you, but war against you, then you shall besiege it. And when the Lord your God delivers it into your hands, you shall strike every male in it with the edge of the sword. But the women, the little ones, the livestock, and all that is in the city, all its spoil, you shall plunder for yourself; and you shall eat the enemies’ plunder which the Lord your God gives you. Thus you shall do to all the cities which are very far from you, which are not of the cities of these nations.
“But of the cities of these peoples which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance, you shall let nothing that breathes remain alive, but you shall utterly destroy them: the Hittite and the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite, just as the Lord your God has commanded you, lest they teach you to do according to all their abominations which they have done for their gods, and you sin against the Lord your God.

There are 3 ways people often respond to this:
1 – Is it actual or allegorical?
Old Testament events did not happen, they are just moral stories?
2 – Continuity or discontinuity?
We worship the God of the New Testament and he is different?
3 – Mascot or mishear?
The Israelites put words in God’s mouth or misheard him?

Krish affirms that the historical parts ACTUALL TOOK PLACE. God’s character HAS NOT CHANGED. The Bible is an ACCURATE record of what God said.

He points us to a 3 fold response:
T – Theological
H – Historical
E – Ethical

Theological response:
We need to look at the Bible in context. Just like if we try to understand a film by looking at a single frame, if we just looked at a single passage of the Bible then we will not be able to truly understand it.
Patient and just
Genesis 15
Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, horror and great darkness fell upon him. Then He said to Abram: “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions. Now as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”
Foretaste of judgement
Matthew 10:14-15
And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!
Trust the Old Testament because of Jesus
Matthew 5:17-18
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.”
Progressive revelation
Just as in education, we are taught to relearn things as we gain more knowledge and understanding, so we see in the Bible a progressive revelation of understanding of who God is.

Historical response:
We need to understand the language used. For example, it is possible that there were no civilians in Jericho as it may have been a military establishment. We can see how this might be so from the description of Jericho, as a city with such thick walls is unlikely to have had just a civilian population.

Ethical response:
Is morality personal (we decide for ourselves)? Is it communal (we decide as a community)? Or is it transcendent and eternal?
God isn’t safe, but He IS good!

Soulnet 2015 – session 3

31 Jan

Mike reminds us that the Bible talks a lot about generosity, particularly about giving financially.
He is very clear that it is not talking about the “prosperity gospel” teaching, but that of giving because of faith, not because of what we are going to get back. But this same message of generosity also speaks about a God who gives generously to those who love Him.
Mike tells us a story of how he used to be dependent upon having money saved in case the worst might happen and tells us how God showed him how he was putting his trust in the wrong things, when his trust should be in God.
Mike tells us that either we believe the promises God makes, both in the Bible and to us personally, or we don’t. But we need to remember to be cheerful givers. Don’t give out of duty, give out of a desire and a love to give.

2 Corinthians 9
Now concerning the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you; for I know your willingness, about which I boast of you to the Macedonians, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal has stirred up the majority. Yet I have sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this respect, that, as I said, you may be ready; lest if some Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we (not to mention you!) should be ashamed of this confident boasting. Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren to go to you ahead of time, and prepare your generous gift beforehand, which you had previously promised, that it may be ready as a matter of generosity and not as a grudging obligation.
But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. As it is written:
“He has dispersed abroad,
He has given to the poor;
His righteousness endures forever.”

Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God. For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God, while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men, and by their prayer for you, who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

Mike reminds us that generosity is not just about money. It is about every aspect of our lives. It includes our time. It includes our resources. It includes people in our churches.

There are 2 kinds of giving. There is strategic or planned giving.
But there is also “random” giving, giving as if on a whim, just for fun. Giving to reflect who God is, not for how the receiver reacts.

Soulnet 2015 – session 2

31 Jan

Live blog from session 2 at Soulnet.
We start with a vote to change from having 2 morning sessions to having 1 bigger one, but starting later and finishing earlier.
Mike then introduces Krish Kandiah, who will be leading this session.

Krish starts by introducing us to his family, finishing with a beautiful comment about his youngest child, who he and his wife adopted. When he was first fostered he was introduced as “a biter”. Krish said that when he heard this he thought “is “biter” the right way to describe a human being?” Krish reminds us that God doesn’t see us for just the worst thing that we have done, but instead looks at us and sees us as beautiful.
Krish asks us how many from a youth group of 10 young people 10 years ago will still be in contact with the church in their 20’s. The average answer we give is 2 or 3. Krish reveals that the answer 3.
Krish notes that a lot of people are pleased that they got the right answer, rather than being appalled that we are losing 70% of our youth!
He then asks us what we think the main reasons are.
One suggests that we often do not have adults who are modelling something exciting about being a Christian. Another suggests that it is how we treat people based on their sexuality. Another suggests that there is often nothing put on for young people and students as they get older.

Krish poses the paradox that sometimes we can find that the more securely we seek to ground young people in the Faith, the more vulnerable we may be leaving them in the long run.
Krish suggests that we should look to encourage our young people to wrestle with the challenging stuff, rather than creating clones and putting their faith in a nice, neat box. We need to help them build up a faith that has firm foundations, not one that can fall down if 1 thing changes.
What is the level of theological expertise are we giving our young people? Are we matching their academic ability with the way we talk about God to them? We need to reveal God in His fullness, which means dealing with the touch parts of the Bible with young people, not just the nice, safe bits.

Krish shows us a slide, showing that there are 3 key aspects to the Christian faith: Story, Praxis (doing) and community. He compares it to how WeightWatchers works.
He comments that none of these 3 areas work on their own and then asks us which area we tend to focus on the most in our ministry.

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