Do not judge and you will not be judged.
Forgive and you will be forgiven.
Give and it will be given to you.
Luke 6: 37-38

22 February 2014

Courageous



Last night we watched a dvd, Courageous. The film 's come out some time ago so you may have seen it at the cinema.  If not, here is a summary.

Four men, one calling: To serve and protect. As law enforcement officers, Adam Mitchell, Nathan Hayes, David Thomson, and Shane Fuller are confident and focused. Yet at the end of the day, they face a challenge that none of them are truly prepared to tackle: fatherhood.
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While they consistently give their best on the job, good enough seems to be all they can muster as dads. But they're quickly discovering that their standard is missing the mark.

When tragedy hits home, these men are left wrestling with their hopes, their fears, their faith, and their fathering. Can a newfound urgency help these dads draw closer to God ... and to their children?

Filled with action-packed police drama, COURAGEOUS is the fourth film from Sherwood Pictures, the moviemaking ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia. Riveted moviegoers will once again find themselves laughing, crying, and cheering as they are challenged and inspired by everyday heroes who long to be the kinds of dads that make a lifelong impact on their children.

Protecting the streets is second nature to these men. Raising their children in a God-honoring way? That's courageous.

I ordered the dvd on amazon a few months ago but never found time to watch it!.I really enjoyed watching this film, brilliant cast, excellent acting and above all inspiring. 
Have a blessed week-end.

17 February 2014

Save the Storks

On March 13, in Dallas, TX, an organization you’ve probably never heard of is going to revolutionize the pro-life movement.

It starts with a kid from Philly, a bus in New York, and an idea that brought him quite by accident to the city where Roe v. Wade started — the city where he hopes abortion will finally meet its match.

David Pomerantz, 23 (right), does not look like a pro-lifer or a practicing Christian. He looks like a vegan hipster with emo hair. As a matter of fact, he sort of is a vegan hipster with emo hair. If you visit his loft apartment in an industrial section of downtown Dallas, he will offer you fermented tea with organic honey. You can lounge in a beanbag chair and talk about art while he surfs his Macbook and plays indie music and talks about Jesus.

A polite, friendly young man with a laconic kid-from-nowhere accent and a direct blue gaze, David Pomerantz — “Dave” to his friends — does not jibe with the stereotypical image of the angry activist holding signs outside a clinic. And he doesn’t mind, because that’s not the kind of pro-life activist Dave is.

He hails from Philadelphia, but he was attending Word of Life, a two-year Bible institute in New York, when he met Chris Slattery and Julie Beyel of EMC (Expectant Mother Care), a Manhattan pregnancy resource center. He was astonished to find that EMC had formulated a “new model” for approaching women outside abortion clinics.

EMC had a bus equipped with a sonogram machine. By approaching women outside the clinic with the offer of free help, with no mention of a pro-life ideology, they were able to see a staggering success rate. In fact, by their estimate, about 70% of women who got on the bus for a sonogram decided not to abort. In one day, they saw nine women decide on life for their children.

They did some simple math, and realized that if this success continued, 15 to 25 women a week, or about 800 a year, would choose life.

Excited by the possibilities inherent in this new approach, Dave contacted his friend and mentor Joe Baker, who flew in from Philly to see the results firsthand. Equally impressed, the two began to ferment the idea that would become Save the Storks.

Dave was already planning on attending Southwestern Theological Seminary in Dallas, so he headed down south. With Joe Baker developing the art and marketing, and the generous help of Dallas-based organization Get Involved for Life and other private donors to bring to life a sleeker, smaller, more mobile ultrasound vehicle, they were off and running.

Save the Storks was born. Or, if you prefer, flown in through the window.

“We don’t want to intimidate anyone. We don’t want to force anyone. We just want to serve.” Dave is the Local Director for Save the Storks. Today, along with Daryl Harshbarger, Head Female Client Advocate, and Julie Beyel in town from New York, we are having pizza (some of it vegan) in Southeast Dallas. Dave is explaining to me why Save the Storks is a new kind of pro-life action.

“No one is offended by our activism,” he says. “We’re delivering a loving message in a strong way.”

Here’s what happens: a woman is walking up to an abortion clinic. She is approached by Dave or Daryl or another member of Save the Storks.

“Hi, how are you? Would you like a free ultrasound?”

This is the approach. There is no dangling rosary, no graphic pamphlet, no doom-and-gloom. Just an offer of free help from a non-threatening, friendly, smiling young person.

And then there is the Stork bus.



The stork was chosen as the mascot because of its comforting, unoffensive, nostalgic connection to motherhood and pregnancy. We can all remember old cartoons where a smiling stork would fly in a window and lay a swaddled baby in a crib.

What Dave and the others weren’t aware of until later is the text of Job 39:13-17.

The wings of the ostrich flap joyfully, but are her feathers and plumage like the stork’s?

She abandons her eggs on the ground and lets them be warmed in the sand.

She forgets that a foot may crush them or that some wild animal may trample them.

She treats her young harshly, as if they were not her own, with no fear that her labor may have been in vain.

For God has deprived her of wisdom; He has not endowed her with understanding.


This is the kind of thing that makes you whistle the Twilight Zone theme music.

The Stork bus, however, is free of all Old Testament references. It is a bright, lovely blue on the outside, and the inside is clean and free of clutter, with a welcoming but no-nonsense clinical feel. There is a little couch for the mother to sit on and speak to a counselor, and a padded bench where she can lie comfortably.

The ultrasound machine pulls out from underneath the bench. It is operated only by a licensed sonographer whose work is frequently reviewed by an OB/Gyn. In the back there is a small private toilet for pregnancy testing. It isn’t the slightest bit cramped or unpleasant; these mothers get only the best. The completed bus with the ultrasound machine was paid for by private donations to the tune of about $140,000.

The Stork bus is by no means the first mobile ultrasound vehicle — it was Chris Slattery’s mobile sonogram bus that inspired Dave and Joe in the first place — but it may be the smallest, lightest, and most practical. It doesn’t require a permit or special permission to park. It will fit in a parking space or even at a meter.

It is an abortion clinic’s worst nightmare.

So now this woman, who was going to go into an abortion clinic, is able to have a pregnancy test and a sonogram without ever reaching its doors.

But what happens now? She’s heard, “Yes, you’re pregnant! You’re this far along! There’s your baby! Here’s his heartbeat!”

So what does she hear next? “Good luck with that?”

Nope. Save the Storks is directly connected to Get Involved for Life and the two pregnancy centers it operates in Dallas, one uptown and one downtown. Also, needless to say, any expectant mother will be welcomed by whatever pregnancy center is closest to the bus at the time. The Stork team is prepared to call a cab for the mother if she needs a ride.

In other words, unlike the abortion clinic, the Storks and the pregnancy centers are in it for the long haul. They are going to get her what she needs to take care of herself and her baby, body and soul.

“The heart of this ministry is the Gospel,” says Dave, after asking for more vegan marinara sauce. “There are two causes every Christian should take up: orphans and widows. This encompasses both.”

It is part of Save the Storks’ mission that every woman who steps on the bus hears the Gospel message. While this may seem off-putting to some, to the Storks it is an essential aspect of caring for the mother that goes along with the physical support and counseling she will receive through the pregnancy center.

“She is just as important as that child,” says Dave. “We aim to improve her quality of life… The major issue here is the devaluation of life, and the answer to every injustice on earth is the church of Jesus Christ.”

“Our ministry is designed to meet all the needs of the woman,” says Daryl. At the pregnancy center, every mother will receive whatever her personal situation calls for, be it help with affordable medical care, legal aid to escape from an abusive boyfriend, life skills counseling, mental health counseling, spiritual guidance, and more.

Which of course begs the question: if the Storks’ mission is in fact successful and Dallas pregnancy centers see 800 or so more mothers every year, how will they handle the added demand for resources?

The answer is simply: us.

“The churches need to stand up and start giving to their local pregnancy centers,” says Dave.

Without the generous help of good-hearted people giving what they can, pregnancy centers can’t work, and by extension neither can the Storks.


Abortion clinic workers and management are used to seeing protesters outside their clinic. What they are not used to is a name brand.

The Save the Storks bus is slick, recognizable, welcoming, and — horror of horrors — it sits in between a mother and the abortion clinic doors. With a simple offer of no-strings-attached help — “Would you like a free ultrasound?” — and a bright, comforting image, it appeals to the desperate woman before she reaches the clinic.She is not confronted. She is offered help. And while I firmly believe that virtually all sidewalk counselors and activists outside clinic are there for no other reason than to help women, the Storks are able to present help first. That is the key. The average clinic sidewalk approach is, of necessity, “Please don’t kill your baby. Here’s why. And here’s help.” Because they have their awesome bus, Save the Storks are able to say, “Here’s help. Now please don’t kill your baby. Here’s why.”

Because they don’t have to lead with agenda, there are no warning bells for a desperate and defensive mother. There is only a friendly face.

This new model will absolutely revolutionize the front lines of pro-life activism.

What is the battle cry of the pro-abortion movement? “Choice!” It is their mantra. What do you constantly hear from abortion advocates? “These desperate women feel like they are out of options.”

Right here, on four wheels, parked in front of the clinic, is another choice — one they might not even know they have. Inside that bus is an image of their baby waiting to be seen. Connected to that bus is a support system — in short, options.

Dave and the team have high hopes, and they should. The approach is breathtakingly simple and, if early tests are any indication, profoundly effective.

As mentioned, the Storks take to the streets of Dallas on March 13. Meanwhile their website is up and running at SaveTheStorks.com with the purpose of raising money to take the program national. A Save the Storks bus is not cheap, and it takes people to run it. While Dave and his team get things off the ground in Dallas, Joe is in charge of building a national movement.

The thought of a Stork bus in every major city in America should bring a smile to your face. Every one of these buses represents hundreds of lives saved every year.

I have met Dave and the gang. I have been on board the Stork bus. And I have never been more excited about a pro-life idea than I am about this one.
You probably are having the same reaction I did. You are probably thinking: “What can I do to help?”
First: spread the word. Use Facebook, Twitter, Twitbook, whatever, to share with people how awesome this is.  Second: go to SaveTheStorks.com now and volunteer. They need all kinds of stuff — bloggers, artists, counselors, you name it — all across the country to be part of their national team of Save the Storks volunteers. Whatever your talent is, Save the Storks can probably use it to help get Stork programs off and running across the country. You — yes, you! — can be a part of this movement from the ground up.

Third: donate if you can. Save your Starbucks money for a few days and buy a ridiculously cool Save the Storks T-shirt. Wear it and tell people about it. (I promise they’ll be curious.)
In just a few days, Dave, Daryl, and their remarkable bus hit the streets of Dallas, the city where abortion rights were born. As a native Dallasite, I hope what started here is ended here. And I wouldn’t be surprised if Save the Storks becomes a major factor in helping Dallas — and the country — see an end to abortion.

15 February 2014

Jonah...




Last Tuesday. The focus of our last session of Pathways to ministry was called 'An Introduction to Critical Incident Analysis', i.e. reflecting on an event in our life to find out what God was or is showing us. This was a really interesting session.

Thursday, I started to think about Jonah.
I remember the first time I read the story of Jonah, I thought that he was just mean not to tell the Ninevites to be saved by the Lord. Mean or arrogant? Did he decide it was not worth to tell the Ninevites because they were so sinful! One must think outside the box, forget about the 'fish swallowing Jonah' and think that it is impossible, Jesus says :

With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. Matthew 19:26
Tonight, I did more research on this story.

One theme appears : Jonah is disobedient and he suffers consequences until he obeys, that is, tell the Ninevites about the Lord and their salvation. You may ask what's that got to do with us. A lot. I started to make a list of the things I ought to do and I say 'later'... :(
Second theme. Who is He to chose who to bring the good news of salvation. Only the Lord is sovereign and decides. He is not subject to others’ decisions. His purposes for choosing some and rejecting others are hidden in the secret counsels of His own will. Moreover, everything that exists in the universe exists because God allowed it, decreed it, and called it into existence. “Our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases” (Ps. 115:3). “Whatever the Lord pleases, He does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps” (Ps. 135:6). He “works all things after the counsel of His will” (Eph. 1:11).

Third theme: Back in Deuteronomy, the Lord promised that if Israel was unfaithful, he would provoke them to jealousy by leaving them and giving his covenant blessing to another people (Deut.32:21). This is exactly the context of Jonah, who was a prophet in Samaria (Northern Israel) under Jeroboam II (2Ki.14:23-25). Jeroboam was no saint, rather he was an apostate king, and the people followed him into sin.

So when the "Word of the LORD" comes to Jonah and tells him to go to Ninevah. Jonah knows that this is the beginning of the fulfillment of that Deut.32:21 prophecy. A fulfillment that would find its fullest expression in the New Testament (Acts 13:45,17:5,Rom.10:19, 1Thess.2:14-15). It's not a hatred of the Ninevites that drives him in the opposite direction, but a grieving realisation that God is beginning to close the Old Covenant - something he doesn't want to face up to. 
Israel have ceased being the Head and would soon be the tail of the nations (Deut.28:44).
Any thoughts on Jonah, drop us a line. Have a blessed week-end. N.

8 February 2014

Meeting up!


During the summer holidays, I had the pleasure to meet up again with one of my blogger friends who live in the south of France. She told me that some other bloggers had actually arranged to meet at a convenient place so that everyone could get there. Of course it depends on which part of the country you are.
From virtual friends to visual! I don't want to use the word 'real' because the virtual is also real!

So, have you given any thought about meeting up? Have a blessed Sunday!

Humour!



There is the story of a pastor who got up one Sunday and announced to his congregation:


"I have good news and bad news. The good news is, we have enough money to pay for our new building program. The bad news is, it's still out there in your pockets."



A father was approached by his small son who told him proudly,


"I know what the bible means!"

His father smiled and replied,


"What do you mean, you 'know' what the bible means?"

The son replied,

"I do know!"

"Okay," said his father, "what does the bible mean?"

"That's easy, Daddy,"

the young boy replied excitedly,

"It stands for 'Basic Information Before Leaving Earth.'"

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About Me

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I was born in France and brought up as a catholic. After the traumatic divorce of my parents, I moved to England and became a lost sheep. However I was convinced that I was 'a good person' until I fell in a muddy pit in July 2005 after taking decisions without seeking God's Word for guidance.  I cried out to the Lord and He heard me. I was rescued and redeemed by Jesus-Christ my saviour. He has turned my life around. 
I live blissfully with my husband Steven,  a c.o.e. vicar, near Stafford (UK). We are the proud parents of three loving daughters, I am also a step-mum, I have an amazing family including a step mum, two brothers and two sister and a dear sister-in-law and her children and grand-children, lots of cousins and eleven nephews and nieces. We live near Stafford in the UK.