The Widow’s Offering – The Voice of Andrew

We were there in the temple with Him again, the way we had been many times before. We were all there, the twelve of us and some of the women who had followed Him from the beginning.

We had gone to pray, but as we had come to expect, nothing was ever straightforward with Him. Many people grouped together, a few women congregated in the courtyard and several men entered the main part of the temple almost as one. We hovered in the doorway waiting for instruction, teaching or blessing. We had not yet grasped that the blessing would come from Him.

He ushered us through the gates, and deep into the heart of the temple and there He began to teach us.

“Look,” He said, “Watch as the men of wealth give their offerings to God. They give little of what they have and keep much for themselves. They give little, not only from their pockets but also from their very souls,” He told us.

He paused, for breath and for effect. He wanted us to take it all in, but I’m not sure we did, I’m not sure we really understood.

“Look,” He continued “Watch as the widow places her last two coins into the plate – this is all that she has and yet she gives it willingly to her God. She offers all that she can, the little money she possesses and all of herself.”

We did as we were told, we looked.

We looked and we saw the men of wealth giving little and we looked and saw the bent over old widow giving all she had, but what were we to do next?

Did He want us to go to her and lend her money or did he want us to rebuke the men for not giving enough? We did not know or understand what He wanted from us.

Years later we recalled the scene and reflected on what Jesus was trying to tell us. It is important that whatever we have we give generously back to God so that he can use it to further the kingdom.

(From the book – ‘In The Shadows of Victory: Ride the Rollercoaster of Holy Week’  by Deacon Becky Lovatt)




With many peaceful blessings



The 23rd Psalm

The famous actor, Edward Kean, once recited the 23rd Psalm to an audience which was held spellbound by the perfection of his diction and the beauty of his voice.

Among the audience Kean noticed that there was an elderly Minister, and he invited the old man to repeat the Psalm as he thought that it should be read.

Somewhat reluctantly the Minister agreed, and when he had reached the end of his reading, the great actor, deeply moved, said,
“I read it as if I knew the Psalm, but he read it as though he knew the Shepherd!”



With many peaceful blessings


Never Write Off Something As Worthless

There is a wonderful story about Henry Ford, the world famous car manufacturer, most noted for his mass produced Model T Ford.

He was out walking with his grandson one day when the boy picked up a coin from the path, looked at it and then threw it down again, remarking that it was not worth very much.

“Wait a minute,” said Ford, and he took a dollar bill from his wallet. “This dollar bill may seem of more value, but in some circumstances the coin is of much more worth. For instance, I can use the coin to prise open a bottle cap, I can use it to turn a screw if I am without a screwdriver, or I can place it underneath a table leg to level the table.”

The boy learned an important lesson that day – never to write off something as worthless.

It can apply to so many things: the smile and greeting that can develop into a lasting friendship; the decision to take up a new hobby than can lead to all sorts of possibilities; the impulse to step out in an entirely new direction.

All things which at the time may seem quite unimportant, but which are later found to have had an important influence on our lives.

When I Have Time

Here is a very thoughtful – and inspirational – poem from our old friend Anonymous:-

When I have time, so many things I’ll do
To make life happier and much more fair
For those whose lives are crowded now with care:
I’ll help to lift them from their low despair
When I have time.

When I have time, the friend I love so well
Shall know no more these weary, toiling days,
I’ll lead his feet in pleasant paths always,
And cheer his heart with words of sweetest praise.
When I have time.

When you have time, the friend you hold so dear
May be beyond the reach of all your sweet intent,.
May never know that you so kindly meant
To fill his life with bright content.
When you had time.

Now is the time: Speed, friend, no longer wait
To scatter loving smiles and words of cheer
To those around whose lives are now so drear;
They may not need you in the far-off years.
Now is the time!


With many peaceful blessings


The Courage of Louise Braille

The young teacher sighed. It was hard to discover a system that would enable blind people to ‘read’.

Louis Braille knew only too well the frustration of trying to learn anything when books and documents were unseen. As a small boy, he had been blinded while playing with a tool in his father’s workshop.

His parents and friends had been determined to educate him, and that was how he came to be living and teaching in the Blind Academy in Paris. Here he was determined to use his training to help other blind people, and that was why the discovery of some method of  ‘reading’ was so very important.

Nowadays we know he succeeded in inventing an extremely successful method, but it was against a background of enormous difficulties and even spiteful opposition from some people.

Yet Braille never lost courage. When he reached one goal, he moved to another. As a gifted musician, he knew the joy music brings, and was determined to provide blind musicians with musical scores they could ‘read’ and use..

He used his talents to make the world a better place for people with the same handicap as he had himself.

Marvelling at the wonderful things blind people can do nowadays, we know he succeeded in helping future generations beyond his wildest hopes.

What a fantastic inspiration he is to us all!


With many peaceful blessings


Playing Second Fiddle

A conductor of an orchestra was once asked which musical instrument he considered the most difficult to play.

After a moment’s thought, he gave a rather surprising answer:-

“Second Fiddle,” he replied, “I can get plenty of first violinists, but  to find one who can play second fiddle with enthusiasm – that’s a problem. And if we have no second fiddle, we have no harmony.”

I think that that is a very comforting thought.

All of us are not meant to be leaders in life, and what a strange imbalanced world it would be if we were!

Where would we be without all those who supply the harmony in the background?

We all have our part to play, great or small, and each one is important, and very much needed.


With many peaceful blessings


They Do What They Can

I never ceased to be astounded at how many people – just like you and I – find the strength to cope when they are faced with a personal crisis.

Most likely, in similar situations we would respond:-

“Well, you’ve got to make the best of it, haven’t you?”

Or, perhaps, we would recite this little couplet:-

He did what they do in the Isle of Man,
If they can’t do what they want, they do what they can!

This is a profound message that does not just apply to the Isle of Man, but should apply to us all!


With many peaceful blessings



10 ways to improve your church’s hospitality

It’s a stereotype that’s been around for about as long as dear old Agnes who falls asleep in the second pew every Sunday – churches don’t do hospitality well.

We’re very good at opening our homes, providing an endless supply of quiches for the annual bring-and-share lunch and encouraging generosity. So why is it that we reach the front of the tea and coffee queue only to be confronted by a plate of dodgy-looking homemade cakes and tea horribly reminiscent of that middle-class painting luxury ‘eggshell white’?

Turn to the kids table, and you’d be forgiven for recoiling in horror. Biscuits (no chocolate ones in sight) which look disconcertingly like they may have already been licked, and weak squash. We don’t need to tell you why this stuff matters… and yes, of course you can be welcoming and still serve rubbish refreshments (or none at all). But why not take this chance not just to get your snacks in order, but give your church a full hospitality audit? It will make all the difference for strangers and visitors in your midst…

Get some decent biscuits. You don’t have to buy the most expensive ones on the shelf, but at least spring for some ones with (Fairtrade) chocolate on top. When Jesus turned water into wine he made it the best stuff, and the people will thank you.

Orange squash is not a priceless commodity. There seems to be an ingrained fear that any more than a drop of concentrated juice in the jug and we might have a national shortage on our hands. Rationing is not a thing anymore; treat everyone to something that doesn’t taste like stale water.

Only get people who are good to make the cakes. There’s a Maureen in every church who sacrificially bakes every week only to see her abysmal effort sit sadly in the corner, untouched apart from a couple of nibbles courtesy of an inquisitive child who later thought the better of it. Perhaps this is not Maureen’s calling, but Erik, on the other hand, is fantastic in the kitchen and has never been given the chance. Find your star bakers and get them on board.

A smile goes a long way. As important as a tasty selection of treats is, equally vital is having a few friendly faces dotted around the room and prepped to talk to anyone who might be on their own – including those seemingly engrossed in their phones. Chances are, they’re only checking Twitter to avoid the awkwardness of standing alone.

People not pamphlets. On that note, the welcome table needs to be more than a few lurid-green pamphlets stacked in the corner. Have at least a couple of people ready to chat to new people and be the face of the church for those who feel a bit lost.

Weak tea makes everyone sad. Ignore the guidelines – 3 teabags in the pot isn’t enough. And at the risk of sounding incredibly middle class, if the budget allows, get some real coffee in. The smell of a fresh brew is welcoming, if nothing else.

Get someone to manage your social media accounts. There’s nothing more depressing than a church account with only 12 followers and 2 tweets about the flower-arranging course you ran in 2011. Be a real online presence, and encourage people to get involved with all that’s going on in the life of the church. And while we’re at it…

Sort out the website. Make sure contact information, correct service times and a ‘where to find us’ are clearly available, correct and up-to-date. Don’t be one of the (worryingly high number) of church websites that are still advertising Olympic Games or Diamond Jubilee-themed outreach events.

Go a bit 007. Get a friend to come to church and ‘audit’ your welcome. It’s helpful to get an outsider’s perspective and to know where you’re starting from. What rituals need explaining? Is it obvious where the toilets are? Make an effort to explain (without over explaining!) things each week for the benefit of visitors.

Keep it personal. One of the hardest to things about going to a new church is not feeling known, so make an effort to learn new people’s names as soon as possible. If remembering’s not your forte – try adding a corresponding adjective to help you along, eg Handsome Harry. But for your own sake, don’t say it out loud.

(From Christian Today)


With many peaceful blessings



It is not what we eat
But what we digest
That makes us strong;
Not what we gain
But what we save
That makes us rich;
Not what we read
But what we remember
That makes us learned;
And not what we profess
But what we practise
That gives us integrity.

Very wise thoughts and words, indeed!


With many peaceful blessings


The Galloway Shepherd

Les Nichol was the last in a long line of Galloway Shepherds in Scotland.

He lived and worked on the Scottish Border hills all his days, tending to his sheep.

Les once spoke at the time of lambing:-

“It was fine if you were ‘in by’ and had a shed to take the sheep into overnight, but if you were out on the hills I just had to turn my collar up and pull my cap down and spend the night with my sheep.’

Didn’t you get bored, Les was asked. He ridiculed the very idea. It would be a very poor man, he insisted, who didn’t have enough in his head to think about for a night or two.

“And if ever I ran out of things to talk to myself about”, Les said, “well, that’s when I listened while the Lord did the talking.”

The greatest shepherd of all eventually called Les home.

One cared for humble sheep, the other cares for humble humans. I guess that they must have lots to discuss together!


With many peaceful blessings