Thursday, 14 March 2013

14 inches of Snow!!!

Today is the 14th March and 20 years ago today on 14th March 1993 we awoke to 14 inches of snow at our front door.  

Needless to say this was not in Northern Ireland, nor in Belgium but in the lovely village of Hockessan in the state of Delaware, USA.

The kids were young then and Fred and I were full of energy then too so as Fred dug down into the hard packed snow on the driveway and cut it away in blocks which the kids and I used them to make an igloo on the front lawn.  Of course we could not form it completely to curve it in so it was an open-top igloo.

Then our neighbours (another couple from Northern Ireland) came out and we all went round to the back of our houses to enjoy sledding down the slope of our gardens which was a good distance because none of the houses had boundary fences or hedges or walls.

We just got on the sleds and slid until we came to a natural stop, or an unnatural one where we ended up across the side cul-de-sac and up to the front door of another house (but that was mainly Fred).

That is one of the greatest memories we have of winter in Delaware.

Well last Saturday here in Banbridge, NI we had some snow and even though it made us think back to all those years ago, we could not even make a snowball let along an igloo in our front garden here.

Memories are great, especially when they make us smile or laugh, and they are something special that we have to share together.  However we need to have spent time together to form these memories and these days I often look at the kids in church and everywhere else and wonder what memories they are building up with their families for the future while they are so engrossed in all these electronic games and gadgets. 

I am thankful to God for all the places we have been and all the experiences we have had as a family over the years but I'm also grateful for the fact that we became Christians before we had our children so that God was a part of our marriage and family life together because that makes such a difference.

Are there any children in your neighbourhood or church who do not have the privilege of growing up in a Christian family?

Can we not find some ways of making a difference for Jesus in the lives of those children?

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Beth Moore Bible Studies - A Review

Last Year our church ladies studied "The Patriarchs" by Beth Moore.

In Belgium the Ladies group in the church we attended only used Beth Moore Bible Studies and although I had not been to any of these I felt that all the talk from the ladies was how Beth Moore was so good  but rarely did I hear them mention what they had actually learned from the studies.
 I came to think of those ladies as fans of Beth Moore and indeed some of them would have described themselves in that way.

So when our church here in Northern Ireland decided to do one I thought about it for a while and decided I would give it a go even if it was only to get to know the ladies themselves better.

Well I quite enjoyed the bookwork (homework as Beth calls it) and spent a lot of time going through the chapters in Genesis as we studied character after character and I never missed a study both as the group or the individual work.

I also enjoyed the brightness, enthusiasm of the DVDs, and I enjoyed the times we talked together and discussed the characters as a group.

There were a few times I thought her illustrations from her or her family's life were a bit long and not exactly what I considered as the right illustration for the point she was making but that was a minor point.
On the whole I considered it as a good get-together for our ladies and a useful time of OT study for me.

This year it was decided that we would do another Beth Moore Study and so "Believing in God was chosen".

An extremely long illustration in (I think) the first Dvd bothered me afterwards when I realised that I could tell anyone what the illustration was (and how I thought she treated the dog far more like a daughter than she treated her actual daughter) but I could not remember at all what the illustration was supposed to highlight in the study.

The bookwork took a different course than the other one in that there was a lot of Beth Moore's thoughts with some bible verses listed and looked at, but not the passages they were in so I felt that some of them were taken out of context somewhat and might lead to the wrong ideas being formed on faith.  Then there was a very long section in each day's study where it was just a time for the person to think and write whatever they wanted.

The Dvds were just as entertaining as the previous course Dvds but then I realised that this was the thing that had made the ladies in Belgium just keep referring to Beth rather than to the study, she is a charismatic person who is loved by the camera and then hence loved by the viewer.  I could even see that kind of attitude here as the ladies were mostly remarking on what Beth said but not so much on the bible.

I felt I did not enjoy the bookwork at home as much as I should and had difficult settling in each day to it (too easily distracted by other things - even housework, which is not like me) so decided not to continue with the rest of the study.