Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Tuesday's Reflection

Read Isaiah 61:1-3. What is God’s promise to his people? Notice all the reversals. And spend some time praising Him.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Good News and Real Ale

One of the best things about living in Bristol and the West Country is its long standing tradition of birthing amazing foodie businesses. Whether it be Hart’s Bakery, Orchard Pig, Butcombe Beers, Bart Spices or Pieminister Pies, there’s nothing more fun than walking down the Gloucester Road on a Saturday morning or going to a food festival at the Harbourside and seeing  lots of people sampling and enjoying butchers sausages, olives, and fresh bread.

And because we know Bristolians love food that we came up with the idea of running some Food for Thought events. We really believe that it’s a passion that lots of us share and therefore an easy way to connect with our friends, introduce them to our church family and give a short introduction to the Christian gospel.

That’s the vision. So when’s it next happening?

Next month on Friday 14th October at Alma church hall we have invited Vince Crocker, the founder of Ashley Down Brewery to come along and introduce us to a number of real ales and provide us with some tasting tips. Alongside the ale, we will be able to enjoy a Pieminister Pie – the company that has been making pies from its base in Stokes Croft since 2003 and now supplies pies to the Queen!  After that, we will hear a short talk about our good God who made it all for our enjoyment.

It won’t be cringey - we work hard to make these events fun and accessible for friends who wouldn’t usually come to church. Please come, even if your friends can’t make the night, as it’s great to have a buzzing atmosphere. And if you might be able to work behind the bar/make mash/help behind the scenes, please also get in touch. 

Friday 14 October, 20:00 – 21:30
Alma Church Hall, 29 Alma Rd, BS8 2ES
Tickets: £10 on the door.

If you are able to come, please help our planning by letting us know at www.emmanuelbristol.org.uk/ale/

Monday's Reflection

Read Isaiah 59:1-20. What is God’s diagnosis of his people’s problem? Spend some time confessing your sin to God.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Sunday's Reflection

Pray for Mike Cain (from EW) – and us all – as we begin a series in Luke’s Gospel. Read Luke 4:14-30 a couple of times. What grabs you?

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Saturday's Reflection

Emmanuel City Centre:  Read Isaiah 43:1-7. How do these words help you feel inseparable from God? Hear God speak them to you personally.

Emmanuel Bishopston and Emmanuel Westbury: Reflect on the book of Titus as whole. What has the Lord particularly spoken to you about in the last three weeks? What will change as a result? Pray for the Spirit’s help as you seek to good.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Books that will help you take comfort in God's Sovereignty

At ECC our time in Romans 8 obviously included some time looking at it's most famous verse (v.28);
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
This verse is meant to be such a comfort in the midst of our sufferings but that comfort can be snatched away by the questions it raises - some of which we can't answer, but some of which we can.

I promised to point people in the direction of some of helpful answers to our questions and concerns over God's sovereignty. Here we go...

The shortest introduction to the subject is Scott Petty's Predestination available here.

The slightly more-detailed new kid on the block is Orlando Saer's Big God: How to approach suffering, spread the gospel, make decisions and pray in the light of a God who really is in the driving seat of the world - which has a very long title but which also comes highly recommended by loads of people I really trust. Buy your copy here.

An older and massively mind and heart stretching take on the subject is John's Piper's classic The Pleasure of God: Meditations on God’s Delight in Being God that you get hold of here.

Friday's Reflection

Emmanuel City Centre: Read Romans 8:35-39. What do you think might separate you from Jesus today? Demolish your list with Paul’s list in these verses.

Emmanuel Bishopston and Emmanuel Westbury: Paul ends the letter by identifying a particular need the believers in Crete can meet. What is that need? Are there similar needs within Emmanuel that you could meet?

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Thursday's Reflection

Emmanuel City Centre: Read 1 John 2:1-2. Remember that Jesus’ job is to speak up for you in God’s presence – and that God will always accept his defence because of his death that covers your sins completely. Thank them both.

Emmanuel Bishopston and Emmanuel Westbury: In Titus 3:9-11 we’re warned against a form of teaching that may sound spiritual but that is ultimately damaging. Pray for someone you know who may be in danger of being seduced by unhelpful teaching that doesn’t keep the truths of v3-7 front and centre. How will you be the answer to your prayer?

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

What on earth is a Jesse Tree?

The Jesse Tree has its origins in Isaiah 11:1, where the birth of Jesus is prophesied “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a branch will bear fruit” .(Jesse was the father of King David, from whom Jesus was descended.) 

As early as the 11th Century depictions of a Jesse tree were commonly found in churches as a way of teaching the mainly illiterate churchgoers the Biblical history as told through characters and events leading up to the birth of Christ. Sadly the majority of the Jesse tree carvings and windows in churches were destroyed during the Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII and very few remain in the UK today. They can be more commonly seen in Europe and Chartres cathedral in France has one of the finest examples. This is from a church in Krakow, Poland.

In more recent times the Jesse Tree has been used by families and sometimes in churches to help prepare for Advent. Starting on 1st December with Creation, an ornament or decoration is hung on a tree, accompanied by reading the relevant Bible verse. On 2nd, the Fall, on 3rd, Noah and so on, through Abraham, Moses, David, the prophets until John the Baptist, Mary, Joseph and finally Jesus on 24th December. I’ve not found an ‘official’ Jesse Tree list, but there are several published books and lists, which can be found online. Unwrapping the Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp is a lavishly illustrated example, and The Jesse Tree by Geraldine McCaughrean weaves the Jesse Tree story with a modern day tale of God’s love. I’ve adapted my Jesse Tree list a couple of times.

We decided to do this as a family during Advent a couple of years ago. I printed off a set of circle templates and used some pictures I’d found as inspiration for drawing simple images to represent the characters and events. The children then coloured them in. I found some twigs in the garden and put them in a pot-very simple and not at all sophisticated! However we loved taking out the new ‘ornament’ each day and talking about the character, reading from the Bible and seeing how the big picture of God’s plan for salvation worked through the whole of history. We haven’t done it every year since as I like to ring the changes, but we’ve used them at least 3 times so they’re now a bit tatty!

This year I’d love to make a new set, a little bit more creative than the ones the children coloured in a few years ago, and so I’d love anyone interested to come and join me! If you have craft skills you could design your own, if you don’t feel ‘crafty’ then come along and there will be plenty of helping hands to guide you along the way and some simple ideas. The decorations make a wonderful wedding gift or for a godchild, and if we were really productive working together we could make a set for our mission partners….  We can chat too as we cut/stick/glue/sew. A few ideas for inspiration below.

If you want to find out more about joining in please contact Lucy Russell. If you don’t know how, send a message via admin@emmanuelbristol.org.uk.

Wednesday's Reflection

Emmanuel City Centre: Read Romans 8:33-34. When do you need to ask yourself Paul’s questions and respond with Paul’s answer? Ask God’s Spirit to prompt you to do just that.

Emmanuel Bishopston and Emmanuel Westbury: Why will taking the truths of Titus 3:3-7 into our hearts result in a devotion to “doing what is good”? Pray that v3-7 would be the theme tune of Emmanuel.