Nothing? Well then - come to the RDYC FUN NIGHT in DUNFANAGHY!!
MORE INFO: Who: Anyone 11+ What: A night of games / quizzes / food / craic !!! When: Saturday 9th November @ 7pm Where: Dunfanaghy - Holy Trinity Parish Hall Cost: FREE! (With box for donations for Charity) Why: YOLO!
At the time of writing this I have just come back from one of the most encouraging and heart lifting retreats I have ever been on - surrounded by solid Christian leaders who love God and who serve the church with passion and sacrifice. I met old friends, made new ones - but more importantly God was present and spoke into many who were there. We were challenged and encouraged, both by the trigger talks which got us all yakking - and by the small group and one on one chats which sought to encourage and identify things we had maybe missed in our ministries as we got side tracked by the busyness of our daily graft...
I can genuinely say I do not think I had one conversation which was nor purposeful or useful to me personally, and which sought to edify the church. By the church I mean the body of Christ - because the people at this retreat were from para-church organisations, Elims', Vineyard, Fellowship Churches, Presbyterian, Anglican and others... Sadly no Catholics - but that was due to a diary clash. It was a truly amazing bunch of people. And then there was me...
Two conversations stuck in my mind - one was about how we as Christian brothers and sisters need to learn to 'talk up' each other - it's always easier to join in the bad mouthing in order to get a cheap and plastic sense of self importance, isn't it? But this sort of thing is sad - it damages the church, it sends out a message to others that we are people who slabber about others behind their backs, it subconsciously tells the person you are slabbering to, that they could be your next target for bad mouthing... However it is more than that, because it is a bad witness to others about what Church is about.
Yes - it is easy to gripe and moan about people - I feel particularly convicted about this - however the momentary buzz of mutual intrigue and satisfaction gossip offers masks the very real spiritual damage we do to ourselves when we engage in such activity.
We damage the body.
We are not meant to damage the body...
When Lurgan Elim has a breakthrough in their schools work - then it is our breakthrough in the Anglican Church.
When we damage the body, we damage the head. It was explained to me by Alain Emerson - who is coming to speak at our youth leaders retreat, like this - when Vineyard church has a breakthrough in their ministry - for example in healing - then it is our breakthrough in the Anglican church. When Lurgan Elim has a breakthrough in their schools work - then it is our breakthrough in the Anglican Church. Your victory is my victory - for we are all in the body of Christ - we are one body.
If this language sounds familiar - it is because it should be - Think of the communion service in Church - 'The bread which we break is a sharing in the body of Christ’, ‘We being many are one body, for we all share in the one bread’
We being one body - share in the one bread - in other words, we being one body all share in the VICTORY of the cross. Jesus died and His victory is our victory because He is the head of the body - and because we are the body - we celebrate the victory of the head.
At exam time - the feet, hands, bellybuttons and armpits all share in the victory of the results (if they are good)! Similarly they share the pain if they are not... Just like we cannot un-attach our body bits - we cannot be un-attached from our brothers and sisters in the body from other church traditions! Their victories are our victories - we need to talk them up. There is no place for envy or jealousy in the body of Christ. After all it is His work in the first place - it is His power, His Glory.
We need to begin to discipline ourselves to dismiss cheap gossip - to disengage in cheap cynicism. Ok - we cannot unattach our body bits from sharing in the victory or pain - but we can get rid of them if they cause us to sin. Mark 9.43 says we should get rid of our hands if they cause us to sin as it is better to enter Heaven without them, than to sucked to Hell with them... Scary stuff.
But what it is saying in effect is that if you struggle with something - find a way to lose it from your life - even if it means you are disadvantaged because of it. If you gossip - then find a way to lose it from your life... Even if it means people stop talking to you about things they have heard on the grapevine. People may think you are trying to be 'holier than thou' and judge you for that too...
To succeed at this takes discipline and prayer though.
You start small by praying that God would reveal to you when you do gossip - that God would convict you when you do it. This works!
Ask your Christian friends to call you on it when you start to gossip - ask them to be honest - give them permission to challenge you or check in to see how you have held your tongue today.
When you hear gossip, refuse to feed it. Instead try to turn it to good - try to extol the virtues of the person opposed to getting stuck into the character assassination. This takes time and is hard - but it produces wonderful results. Eg - 'did you hear about XXX?' - instead of tilting your head and lifting your eyebrows, deliberately reply with something positive about the person. 'I hear he is doing good things...', 'Yes but did you know he said this?', 'Lots of people say lots of things - we can't believe everything we hear.' and move the conversation on...
Then pray that you would not return to old habits. Keep focussed and disciplined and you can defeat the power gossip has in your life...
This deliberate intention to speak well of each other is something which brings glory to God - it edifies the body - it defeats the enemy who seeks to spread lies and deceit. In doing this small thing, we can achieve massive goals.
You may think that the gossip is true, it may be that the person annoys you, or that they are someone who needs a good slap with a wet fish - but that is not your battle to fight. When we give in to bitterness and cynicism we become cynical and bitter people - why? Because of what someone else is doing???
But there is good news - when we are people who disengage with gossip - chop it out of our life - then we become people who do not buy into the rumour mill, who is not defined by the half truths and quiet whispers. We become free and liberated from the lies of the enemy - we live in light and truth, we have a peace which can never be found when we get sucked into gossip - we become people that other people trust - that others look to and say - there is something different about her/him...
We as people need to realise our responsibility in belonging to the church - that 'the church' is not some abstract thing - IT.IS.US.
Today - who will you speak well of - break the habit and the burden holding you back - speak well of someone, refuse to engage in idle gossip - refute negativity with positivity... Edify your brothers and sisters, build the Church... Give glory to God!
Why is it so hard to say sorry? Maybe it has something to do with ego and self importance, for saying sorry brings liberation from hurt and a break from the past which can very often hold us back. However once those words are said, we begin a new chapter living in the aftermath of the apology just offered. Sometimnes the fear of what happens after we say sorry actually prevents us from saying it in the first place...
It may mean we have to make a new start as we come to terms with the consequences of the actions which lead us to say sorry in the first place. This is because the recognition of our need to apologise has come from an awareness that we have been wrong - that we have hurt, offended, ignored whatever... When we know we have to say sorry, we realise that we were wrong, and realising we were wrong is a humbling experience. Think of it like this, when we have been in the wrong and we refuse to apologise then we are deluding ourselves that the lack of apology makes it all ok - because with no apology, there was no wrong. It's a weird little cycle every single one of us has got caught up in at some stage...
It's like a little deception we play on ourselves, only it is one that we are in on, but never admit to... Still with me?
OOPS - Ummm... I'm sorry!
Apologising is not simply a matter of saying sorry though, it is a matter of looking at what we did which was wrong, and deliberately deciding not to do it again. A shift in behaviour, a shedding of the old and a taking on of the new. This is what the Bible means in 2 Corinthians 2.17 when it says we are a new creation - the old has gone, the new has come!
When we realise we were wrong - we apologise, when we apologise we then begin a new chapter in the aftermath of the act of saying sorry - facing the consequences of what saying sorry entails...
Saying sorry to one another does not guarantee forgiveness...
When you say sorry, the person you are apologising to ususally accepts it, and over time when they trust you again, they usually forgive you. This depends on what you are actually apologising for of course, but this is generally the case.
However, sometimes saying sorry to someone releases the anger within the other person - the thing you have done and denied for so long is now in the open. The person you are apologising to now has the proof that they were right - and boy are they going to make you suffer for not apologising sooner. This can result in all sorts of consequences from rejection and anger all the way to criminal prosecution!! Forgiveness is not always guaranteed.
Another consequence of saying sorry is that the person you are apologising to does not actually realise you have anything to apologise for - and this is where it gets interesting. Why would you apologise for something that no one expects an apology for? Either this means you have got away with it, or it means they don't think you are in the wrong at all. This is where it comes down to conscience - if you know you have wronged someone, then you know what you have to do - even if they haven't a clue you have done something wrong in the first place... Still with me?
Apologising for something that is not expected is where INTEGRITY comes in. Imagine the scene... You come meet me in the street and we chat for a while about all sorts - we have a laugh, give each other a high five (as you do) and go our seperate ways... Then I go home, get on the phone to my mate and slag you off till I am blue in the face... The next time I see you, I fist bump you (like you do) and we then have another great chin wag...
You know nothing of what has happened in between, that I called you this, that or the rest of it... you may never find out. However this sort of thing is not acceptable to God. IT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE.
This sort of behaviour is called gossip - and God does not like it, so when we gossip we need to repent of it, say sorry for it. But not just to God - but to the person we have gossipped about. This is where the unexpected apology comes in. This is where I randomly meet you (with a firm handshake) and apologise for something you haven't a notion even happened!!
Before we think this is a great moment of healing and restoration - we must remember that to the person we are apologising to, we have just told them that we have done something nasty to or about them behind their back. They may be a little miffed and even hurt by this... Be prepared!
So I apologise to you even though you know nothing about the act I did against you. Why? because we are a family under God. When we fight and disagree - this grieves the Spirit. How do I know this? Well look at Ephesians:
14 Then we will no longer be infants... 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
This is saying that when we speak the truth in love - ie saying sorry even when the other person knows nothing about it, we grow into maturity with Christ - a move from infancy to adulthood in faith terms. For Truth is to be open and confess our sins and ask forgiveness - deceit is when we hold it in and deny it happened in the first place - in other words keep it in the dark, but remember - God called us OUT of darkness into His wonderful light!! 1Peter2.9
Even though bringing things into the light may mean we do it minus friends or popularity or anything else we sacrifice as a result of admitting our mistakes, it means we grow in maturity - therefore living up to our God given name of the Royal Priesthood (1 Peter2). In speaking truth and living in the light we honour the body, we build it up (even if our act of saying sorry does initial damage - but remember this is nothing to the (spiritual) damage we are trying to run from and deny.). The act of saying sorry brings about a new beginning for all concerned. It free's the Spirit to move and bring healing, peace - that inner peace the world cannot offer in the depths of the person recieving the apology and in the person repenting. When we live with our sin buried deep within us - we cannot access the fulness of life Jesus talks about in John 10.10...
... But with God ALL apologies bring forgiveness!
While the sorry we offer to those around us may be rejected, the sorry we offer to God never is. We face the consequences of our mistakes on earth when we apologise for them on earth (Proverbs 19.5) but with God, when we say sorry to Him our eternity is assured - when we turn to God and say sorry for our sin, our Salvation is a firm, solid, unmovable thing.
Listen to this - Psalm 91.1: 1 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty.
When we dwell in the secret place of God - where the fountain of life and healing flows - then our Salvation is stable - unmoving and fixed - stable, secured and assured!
However our God offers us more than this - He offers us NO CONDEMNATION. No fall out - no rejection - no lost relationship. Even though we deserve it so much. Even though it was our sin which put Jesus on the cross - God reacts with joy when we realise our mistake - when we deserve judgement and Hell. When we say sorry and when we turn to Him and say sorry... Listen to what Jesus says in Luke 15.10: I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.
There is REJOICING - not anger or wrath which can face us when we apolopgise to people here on earth - yet we have done SO much more against God that we could ever hope to do against any other person on earth - it was our sin which put His Son, Jesus on the cross remember - and God would be justified to be angry with us - no one would dare question Him on that - yet His Word tells us this amazing Truth in Romans 8.1: Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. More than that - there is not simply no condemnation - there is REJOICING that the apology has been made and the new chapter with God can begin...
This is why we call the Gospels GOOD NEWS! It just doesn't get much better than this... Today say sorry to those you have grieved - expect a consequence - suck it up - you were wrong! But say sorry to God, especially if you have never done so before... When this happens - Rejoicing happens, Heaven rejoices!! And begin your new adventure with God as His friend., no - His son, His daughter - His child !
DRY is supporting the campaign to raise awareness among young people about sexual exploitation they may face, or may be aware of amongst their friends/ peers.
For the next month of October DRY will have the NSPCC banner displayed prominently at the top of every page on our site.
For a long time DRY has had the Childline link for the UK and IRELAND at the top of every page so that any young people visiting our site can talk to trained professionals about any issues free and in confidence at the click of a button.
We also link to the CEOP on every page, this is where reports can be made by concerned parents or guardians about suspicions they may have.
Please feel free to use these links at any time, even if you are not 100% sure - these people can take any question or concern which you may have.
We are delighted with this appointment, and commend her and Earl, Carolyn and Luke to your prayers at this time. We also remind you to consider St Augustines parish as they face a future without their much loved rector.
We are proud and humbled that this remarkable and historic moment has happened in our diocese and to the best candidate (not simply the best female) for the job.
Well done Pat, you will be sorely missed, but congratulations to the house of bishops on this appointment, Meath and Kildare are very blessed to be getting you.
R&P is a school situated in Raphoe, DRY seeks to support and encourage Christian learning through involvement in assemblies, lessons and extra curricular activities.
The DYO takes two R.E classes in Royal and Prior School, Raphoe ever week. Topics range from discrimination and human rights to Church history and the role of Christianity today.
To educate young people in Donegal about the life of Jesus and teach them in relevant and inspiring ways, so that they discover more about Christianity in a positive environment.
Two half hour classes on Tuesday and Wednesday where the focus will be on discussion, chat and informal learning. This is not an assessed class, so a variety of discussions around various topics will be explored.
How it meets the diocesan strategy:
Deeper: Many people decide at a young age if they want to follow Christianity. School can a place of great learning and it is hoped that through interactive and informative lessons, pupils will see how real and relevant Christianity can be for them. It is hoped that this will help those who have faith, encourage those who are seeking, and respectfully challenge those who do not believe.
Closer: In working in the school, it is hoped that relations between the diocese and the young people in Co Donegal will strengthen. Events will be publicised and new opportunities for growth and development will hopefully emerge.
Wider: In working in the school, the DYO intends to explore opportunities to broaden horizons through possible summer trips.
In the world of work a new start is someone who has just begun their job. Now I know that's not exactly a mind blowing fact - actually, it's very logical, so if you are starting a new year, school or job this September, then you are a 'New Start!' The one thing which unites new starts the world over is the nerves and the feeling of the unknown before they actually start. Even if you just progressed a year in school - things change. Teachers leave, new class mates arrive, the walls have been painted a new colour... (excitement!)
New things very often mean they are unknown things. When I worked in a bar (yes I worked in a bar) one of the traditions we did with new starts was to send them next door to the hardware shop and ask for the bubble from a spirit level or something... silly things like that which aimed to initiate the new person into the staff team. I still feel guilty about asking one guy to go for a long weight (long wait... gettit?). I am not joking when I say he was gone for about 20 minutes, and even then, when he came back he hadn't a clue - so I sent him back again!
New starts are almost ALWAYS hard - because it often means you have left something old, something familiar, comfortable, enjoyable behind you. But without endings, no new beginnings can happen. And new beginnings can lead to amazing adventures.
So it's no wonder we worry about new starts - will you be initiated like that poor guy in my story, or will you feel isolated or alone, regretting your decision to move and start something new? Maybe you feel like you are in the wrong place? But believe me - I have felt all those things. I left school mid A-levels and began catering college only to last ONE WEEK before I chucked it in and went back to school to start U6th. I should have stuck at the catering though (my A levels were terrible), but I caved after a week because I just felt it was too hard for me to settle in. Was it the wrong decision to leave catering college? I will never know.
The flip side of that however, is that I also left N.Ire to go to England to study for my degree, again I felt awful about going. I cried on my first night there, I just wanted to come home - but this time I stayed - and I lasted 5 years. I am not kidding when I say it took me about 2 years to settle in , but I knew it was right to stay, even though it was hard. Something in me had learned from my catering college experience.
The point of me telling those stories is to say sometimes we cant trust our emotions to guide our decisions. When we do, we end up over-reacting or regretting what we do. So if you feel like your latest new start is going badly, or you are finding it hard to settle in - give it time. Don't trust those emotions - they always go to the most extreme place and scream in your ears about it... Yes pay attention to your emotions, but don't let them guide you.
New starts are almost ALWAYS hard - because it often means you have left something old, something familiar, comfortable, enjoyable behind you. But without endings, no new beginnings can happen. And new beginnings can lead to amazing adventures.
Our God is all about new beginnings - making the hard choices, the unpopular decisions, walking the narrow paths. While our emotions may be screaming at us to remain on the well worn wide road of life, the harder thing to do is to walk the narrow path with Christ - this is the right but hard decision - but the one which costs us something - which goes against the grain, which is counter intuitive.
So if you feel like your new start is hard - it doesn't make it wrong. Stick at it, don't trust those emotions, lean on God for the strength to guide you, and remember the family of the church is here for you - while all else changes, God's Love remains. While you start new things, even new things with God - God is there unchanging, steadfast and solid as a Rock!
Check out Psalm 136 for proof!
Contemporary English Version (CEV)
God’s Love Never Fails
136 Praise the Lord! He is good. God’s love never fails. 2 Praise the God of all gods. God’s love never fails. 3 Praise the Lord of lords. God’s love never fails.
4 Only God works great miracles.[a] God’s love never fails. 5 With wisdom he made the sky. God’s love never fails. 6 The Lord stretched the earth over the ocean. God’s love never fails. 7 He made the bright lights in the sky. God’s love never fails. 8 He lets the sun rule each day. God’s love never fails. 9 He lets the moon and the stars rule each night. God’s love never fails.
10 God struck down the first-born in every Egyptian family. God’s love never fails. 11 He rescued Israel from Egypt. God’s love never fails. 12 God used his great strength and his powerful arm. God’s love never fails. 13 He split the Red Sea[b] apart. God’s love never fails.
14 The Lord brought Israel safely through the sea. God’s love never fails. 15 He destroyed the Egyptian king and his army there. God’s love never fails. 16 The Lord led his people through the desert. God’s love never fails.
17 Our God defeated mighty kings. God’s love never fails. 18 And he killed famous kings. God’s love never fails. 19 One of them was Sihon, king of the Amorites. God’s love never fails. 20 Another was King Og of Bashan. God’s love never fails. 21 God took away their land. God’s love never fails. 22 He gave their land to Israel, the people who serve him. God’s love never fails.
23 God saw the trouble we were in. God’s love never fails. 24 He rescued us from our enemies. God’s love never fails. 25 He gives food to all who live. God’s love never fails.
The internet can seem like a virtual world, an unknown unlimited online space contained in your computer or your phone. It’s away from the reality of every day life, of bills, work pressures, homework or exam results. To many it’s an enigma, impossible to explain, even to those of us who use it every day…
I often wonder when scrolling on websites, what happens when what I’m looking at disappears off the screen – is it still there – hovering above the screen in some cyber status, or has it dissolved into a black hole? The fact that there is nothing physical about being online (apart from the phone we are holding or the screen we are looking at) can delude us into dismissing the net as a harmless bit of fun, however the effects of the internet on our young people can be huge.
From cyber bullying and dodgy websites to personal security and privacy – your child could be suffering from any of these issues every time they log on. Far from being a harmless past time – the net can actually be an extension of the pressures and stresses of school. Where we used to be able to leave problems at the school gates when we were young, with the knowledge that when the front door closed behing us, we escaped the school bully – today facebook and twitter can bring them into your childs bedroom. 24 hour access to the net can mean 24 hour access to the school bully – and with this can come a more intense pack mentality amongst young people as they retweet or ‘like’ a status which only compounds the feeling of isolation for the unlucky person in the middle.
You may not understand the technology, but the principles of privacy and security are the same. Advise them not to talk to strangers – familiarise yourself with the sites they visit - just as you would in the real world
Simply because we do not understand how the phone line has gone from a wired up talking device into a wireless, handheld means of transmitting millions of websites, videos and social media all in an instant, this should not mean we should leave it ‘to the experts’ to grapple with. Let’s remember the experts are mostly the very children who need our understanding and help with it all. While they may not immediately thank you, your child needs a parent to guide them through this minefield just as much as they need you for any other walk of life. You may not understand the technology, but the principles of privacy and security are the same. Advise them not to talk to strangers – familiarise yourself with the sites they visit - just as you would in the real world, consider installing parental controls on your laptop or checking in on their phone every now and again (this will NOT be popular).
While the net has good qualities, (DRY facebook page for example) it can harbour darkness. Ask.fm is one such website which positions itself as being good fun for young people – yet it is indirectly responsible for countless tales of online bullying and recently was named by the BBC as playing a key role in Hannah Smith aged 14, taking her own life. Its anonymous ‘ask a question’ feature is used by people to ridicule and abuse others without fear of reprisal. It can be a tremendously damaging experience if young people find themselves on the receiving end – there is literally nothing they can do, apart from boycott the site in the first place (which we highly recommend).
Young people tend to isolate themselves from their family when online, taking themselves to their rooms, or sitting in silence on their phones as they go into the virtual world of facebook, instagram or ask.fm. So if it all goes wrong, all the usual support networks of family and friends can be completely oblivious.
I know parents don’t want to pry or seem over-zealous with such things, but simply familiarising yourself with the issues, even knowing the names of these websites can help to open up a conversation with your child should you be worried. It may also help your child to share the load if they think you are aware such things can arise.