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Monday, 27 June 2011

Succinctly Yours, A Tribute

Many thanks to at Grandma's Goulash for running the Monday Microfiction Meme. Grandma posts a photo and invites us to write a caption or story in either under 140 characters (tweet-length) or under 140 words. As an extra challenge we are given a word to insinuate into our offering.

Todays word: Tribute

Today's inspiration:

Barbara was beginning to think that wearing her tribute to 
Lucian Matis' tissue paper dress wasn't such a good idea


Friday, 24 June 2011

Book Blurb Friday - Hell to Pay


The lovely Lisa at Writing in the Buff hosts Book Blurb Friday. Each week Lisa posts a pretend book cover to fire our imaginations. Our task is to write the book blurb for the back cover in 150 words or less.

Hell to Pay


Kim Grady is late for work; she is still single although it’s complicated, has a nightmare boss, is addicted to sushi and has a cobweb on her car. Except when she brushes it away, it turns out instead to be cracks in the Material Plane of Existence. Now her car has a hole to Somewhere Else, somewhere very dark and hot and smelling faintly of brimstone. She also has voices in her head that want her to be despicable, but the only thing they can agree on so far is to paint the bathroom black. Should be an interesting day; perhaps things are looking up.

104 words plus notebook!

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Happy Fathers Day

Happy Fathers Day!

I'm not sure if it is Fathers Day anywhere other than the UK, but hey, Happy Fathers Day anyway!

It was my privilege to preach on the subject today, so I thought I would share it with you.

Today we are celebrating fatherhood, and in particular the ultimate role model for us dads, the one after whom we are named – God, our father in heaven.
But before I start I want to say one thing. Chambers dictionary defines a father as “a male parent”. Of course it does – what else would a father be? But when you think about it, why should the role of father, or the role of mother for that matter, be in any way tied to a person’s gender, apart from the "minor" issues of child birth and suckling that is?! In practice BOTH parents are called upon to fulfil the role of father on occasions and the role of mother at others. So we are thinking today about the role of a father rather than their gender and God therefore is a role model for ALL of us who have responsibility for nurturing others.

Now, I am sure you have all seen the posters, fridge magnets and greetings cards which say “any man can be a father but it takes a special person to be a dad”. So I’m going to talk about God being “Dad”. After all, that’s what Jesus called him – Abba – it means dad. God is “dad” to us too, as Paul wrote to the Romans and told them “you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, Abba, Father.
So how is God “dad” to us?
In the words of the psalmist (Psalm 46): "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging." God is an ever-present help in trouble.
Again the psalmist tells us (Psalm 18): "The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold."

God does not promise that nothing bad will ever happen to us, he does not wrap us in cotton wool, but he does promise that when things are tough he will deliver us, that he will be that place of refuge, and that he will care for us. We cannot keep our children from hurt, however much we might want to, and through the knocks and the scrapes, the heartache and the disappointments, we can be “dad” by being there for them, by being dependable, loyal and understanding – an ever present help in trouble.

Our heavenly dad provides for us. As Jesus told the crowds in the sermon on the mount, and I use the New Living Translation here, “Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs, and he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.
Jesus went on to tell the crowds “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
As fathers we don’t give our children everything they want – that just spoils them, but we do seek to give them everything they need, whatever the cost to ourselves. And do we not desire to give our children good gifts?

Then there is our dad the teacher, and what a wealth of teaching, advice, guidance and rules of life he has given us. There is the huge wisdom in the bible, there is the teaching and example of Jesus, and there is the Holy Spirit who guides us - as Jesus tells us, "the Spirit of Truth who goes out from the Father will guide us into all truth". With all that guidance, how can we possibly go wrong?! But we do don’t we?
And so we need discipline. The word has become synonymous with punishment, but in fact it means self control, it means doing the right thing at the right time, whether we feel like it or not. With great patience and understanding, God steers us towards the right path.
But does he punish us? Take the story of the prodigal son. He sins against his father by demanding his inheritance ahead of time, and he sins again by squandering that inheritance. Don’t we do exactly the same?
In the story the son suffers the consequence of his actions, and that in itself is a punishment. Those consequences make him come to his senses and bring him back to his father. Does his father punish him? No, instead he runs to greet him, hugs him and throws his cloak around his shoulders. The young man has suffered enough.
As dads we have a huge responsibility to teach our children not only how to live and thrive in this modern society, but also how to do so with honour and integrity, with compassion and tolerance and to reach them that in God can be found true joy and peace. And when they drive us up the wall with their disobedience, we need to remember that God is slow to anger and quick to bless.

Finally, the most important characteristic of our heavenly dad is his love for us. He loves us so much that when we were still far off in our sinful ways, like the prodigal son, he ran to meet us in his son Jesus, to welcome us home, and to make us his children. In Jesus’ death and in his resurrection, he declares God’s love for us and  reconciles us with him forever.
So what are the qualities of a dad? Compassion, dependability, loyalty, generosity, wisdom, understanding; but suffused through all of them is love.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Book Blurb Friday - The Last Geranium


The lovely Lisa at Writing in the Buff hosts Book Blurb Friday. Each week Lisa posts a pretend book cover to fire our imaginations. Our task is to write the book blurb for the back cover in 150 words or less.

The Last Geranium


On a crisp, clear night the skies over London are illuminated by eerie flashes and aurora-like pulses. Many believe them to be a son et lumiere show, until a mini-nova sears the heavens and devastates the city below. The discovery of an dying alien in an escape pod promises unprecedented technological advances, provided humanity can heal it.

In a race against time Derry Calahan, leader of a disparate group of the world’s leading scientists, learns to harness the alien database and finds that a cure may be found in the humble geranium. Unfortunately a mysterious blight has been decimating the world’s angiosperms for years. Particularly hard hit has been the Cranesbill family, and geraniums seem to be all but extinct.

Derry must protect his charge from the foe that hunts it, a foe that seems to be altering the past, and somehow he must find the last geranium.

148 words.