Some of my more detailed reviews - books, films, theatre trips, software etc. I will also post the text of some of my sermons here.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

THUD

THUD
Terry Pratchet
Doubleday ISBN 0385 608675

Another excellent book in the Discworld series from Terry Pratchet, and another one without chapters.  The dwarves and the Trolls have never been friends, rather they have been enemies.  Now there are so many of them in the city that trouble is about to occur in Ankh-Morpork. The ONLY one who can sort it out is Commander Vimes of the city Watch (police).  This is more that just a war story (well not a war story at all really), it has some good characterisations, some new characters, and the usual cast of old friends.  There is also some nice comment on the modern world.  I especially like the organiser – it is actually useful here!  The i-pod was a bit more un-believable, but this is a magic world after all. Sam actually scores a point off Vetinari.  If you have a good imagination there’s also a wonderfully comic scene with cabbages.  


If you haven’t read it already, then I strongly suggest you put a day or two aside, because you won’t want to put it down.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Reader Training Nov 2005

Reader Training

As many of you will know I was selected for Reader training (only training, they’re very definite about that).  I’m not going to cover what a reader does here, just give you all an update on the process, and how I’m progressing.
Firstly there are a number of things that you have to get set up, some you do yourself, and others are part of the course.  You MUST have a spiritual director, and they will offer a list of names.  That finally came through this week, so I have to ring one of the two people on the list, and see if they are prepared to accept me (and I them, of course).  Then there’s the tutor group, there are four of us in the group, three are from the Chelmsford Christian studies group, so I’m already with friends.  Tutor groups meet about once a month.  My tutor is based in Thorpe Bay, and as most of the group are local to Chelmsford, we meet alternately in Billericay and Thorpe Bay.  The other person you have to meet with regularly is your incumbent, no problem there!  The there are the training days at Chelmsford, always a Saturday, and again roughly once a month.
So what do we do?  We started with a quiet day in the church at Wickham Bishops, and were given a number of different passages and ideas to reflect on.  It is always good to put aside a reasonable amount of time and dedicate it to prayer and reflection.  As you must have guessed I had a wonderful day, and came back really looking forward to getting started properly.  The first thing we have to do is prepare and present a Bible Study.  I spent four hours with no-one around, and my books spread out all over the lounge, studying a chapter of Acts, and trying to extract the theology.  I’ve done mine now, I also tried so experiments with the presentation, which didn’t work as well as I would have liked – but that’s what training is for!  I don’t know whether I passed or not, as there are still two other bible studies to go.  Then we have to prepare a hermeneutics paper, about 2000 words.  This is due in January, so I will spend most of my time in December working on it.  Later there will be Leading Worship, to practice, projects in the parish to complete and write up, and a time spent in another parish.  At the November family service I was preparing for the ‘Worship’ training day, and taking lots of notes.  It was a very good service, and there are many positives to take from it, so thankyou to the seventeen people who made it work so well.  Towards the end of the course we will have to prepare and deliver a sermon in the church in Thorpe Bay.  That will also be an interesting experience.  That’s not all, but I don’t want to bore you with too much detail now.  Lookout for updates in future Spotlights.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Science of Discworld III: Darwin's Watch

The Science of Discworld III: Darwin’s Watch
Terry Pratchet, Ian Stewart & Jack Cohen
Ebury Press 2005 ISBN 00918 982 34

When I was thinking about writing this I came across http://dilbertblog.typepad.com/the_dilbert_blog/2005/11/intelligent_des_2.html, which as you can see is all about the issue of intelligent design. This is one of the topics covered in the book. I have to say the comments in the blog really do fit my own views, except that I come from the other side of the argument. Now I wasn’t looking for this, I just ‘stumbled across it’, and it’s a really nice way into what I want to say. The book starts out with a zeal for its message that the religious fundamentalists would understand. Why do we have to read through all this anti-religious ‘preaching’ about evolution? The authors clearly have strongly held views, and have not considered adequately either the effect on the reader, or that many of the scientists have a strong religious faith of their own. Throughout the rest of the book there is a story of the discworld Wizards acting as God in the roundworld, to alter the timeline, so that Darwin writes “The Origin of the Species”. It’s a nice story, but again somewhat overplayed. If the probability of Darwin actually writing this book is so low, why did it happen?

So what are we left with? Well there’s some interesting ‘science’. Not the sort of science where a prediction is made and then tested, revised, tested, and so on. This is the sort of ‘science’, which is mainly ‘mathematical models’. Entirely theory, and not able to be validated by observation. This it seems is where all ‘science’ leads. Perhaps we’ve gone far enough with pure ‘science’, and our future is in technology – the exploitation of our understanding, to make our lives more bearable, but I’ll get accused of preaching if I go on.

Unless you’re a REAL fan – don’t bother.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - the film

Having read the book quite a long time ago, I was aware of the story in general. I’d also heard that the film tells the story better than the book. Well I’m not going to agree or disagree with that. One reaction to the film is that it is too long, I can’t agree with that, but its best if I’m not the judge because the Lord of the Rings films also received the same response from some. If you have a good story and it takes 157 minutes to tell so be it. It is a good story, a very good story. In the film it is well told, and the interaction between the characters gives you a good understanding of what’s going on. I particularly like the ball for this. The special effects were superb, as usual and the ideas from the book were well portrayed. So a very enjoyable film, well worth the extra booking fee that the cinema charges.

Only one or two little niggles - Rupert Grint (Ron) just looked too grown up in a couple of scenes. Michael Gambon (Albus Dumbledore) just didn’t have the sympathetic approach of the character in the book.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Nanny McPhee

Nanny McPhee
A large family of 7 children with only a father frightens the nanny away.  This has happened many times before we pick up the story.  The last Nanny runs away when the children apparently eat the baby.  That was one of the least convincing parts of the film.  So an ugly super-natural Nanny arrives, with a number of lessons to teach the children.  There are a few other stories running throughout the film.  Will the father marry the housemaid, who is the only one the children like, and is also the only one who likes the children?  Will the horrid old aunt keep supporting them as she has promised?  Will the children learn their lessons?

Will the film live up to the opportunities of the plot?  This one I will answer. No, it does not.  There are plenty of opportunities, but somehow we never get there.  The children aren’t nasty enough, by half.  Think of Wednesday in the Adams family, she was nastier than the whole bunch of them put together.  What of Nanny McPhee, who appears next to people and says “I did knock”.  Think of a scary Mary Poppins, if that doesn’t work for you, you’ll start to understand why this film doesn’t work either.  There are some redeeming features.  The gay morticians, who managed not to say ‘suit you sir’, and the cook (Imelda Staunton) are both genuine clowns.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Twins

I have four children, 2 girls (twins) and 2 boys (not twins). this article appeared in YOU in October this year. My daughter asked me to comment. Here's the article, followed by my responses, and personal comments.

YOU article 9 Oct 2005

When my sister Frances gave birth to twin boys nearly eight years ago, everyone who knew her was delighted that, via the miracle of IVF, she'd finally fulfilled her dream of becoming a mother.

But as she struggled with the logistics of double breast-feeding, you could tell that the other mothers on the maternity ward were secretly relieved that it wasn't them who were taking home two screaming infants in one go.

Yet despite the prospect of a nappy mountain, a major sleep deficit and a double-buggy that required an advanced driving qualification to manoeuvre, Frances was thrilled that she'd got two for the price of one (quite literally, as she'd invested thousands in IVF). As a twin herself (she's my own 'other half), she knew that a multiple birth guarantees your child a ready-made playmate and lifelong ally, without having to brave the schoolyard popularity contest first. As our mother says, 'Those nine months spent so closely together before you were even born definitely counted for a lot'

Born in the 1960s, Frances and I were able to bask in our 'novelty value' when we were small. Our mother tells us that people were always stopping our double-pushchair to coo. Now, though, almost everyone knows someone who has twins. The rise in the age of first-time motherhood is partly to blame (statistics suggest that older mums who conceive naturally are more likely to have twins). And the epidemic of infertility (one couple in seven experiences infertility problems) has led more couples to IVF, the happy side-effect of which is an increase in baby 'partnerships', since 20 per cent of successful IVF births result in twins.

Of course, IVF is immensely stressful, and a multiple birth isn't without risks, but the 'silver lining' is that fewer children have to enter the world on their own. Those instant twosomes don't have to start school, never mind take exams, without someone who knows exactly what they're going through. Frances and I were always a gang of two. I don't know how I'd have survived the horrors of a rained-out Brownie camp, never mind the school disco, without having her to hold my hand.

According to psychologist and life coach Gladeana McMahon, twin studies show that, with the odd 'chalk 'n' cheese' exception, most twins have a closer bond than 'ordinary' siblings. Twins tend to go through the same experiences at more or less the same time - my identical twin brothers both got married for the first time when they were young, both got divorced, and have been very happy in their second marriages for years. Having someone to share all life's joys and woes with is a wonderful thing,' she says.

YOU's relationships expert, Zelda West-Meads, makes the point that many 'ordinary' siblings secretly resent each other, 'perhaps because they were an "only" until a baby arrived on the scene and "displaced" them, or maybe because they suspect an older sibling is getting all the attention.' Twins are less susceptible to such sibling rivalry because they've never known a life without the other, and anyway parents tend to treat them (and dress them) the same.

Indeed, Frances is amazed when people suggest that her sons Samuel and Isaac might thrive better if they were put in different classes at school, an though they have lots of separate friends. The whole point of having a twin is that you have someone exactly the same age as you to hang out with and spur you on,' she says.

Like Frances and me, the boys are non-identical - which is a disappointment to many new acquaintances. People always want twins to be mirror images -they're so keen, in fact, that my friend Andrew, who has a twin sister, is regularly asked if the two of them are identical! Our 'fraternal' status isn't as fascinatingly quirky (I'm afraid we're not telepathic either, and I'm relieved to say I didn't feel a thing when Frances gave birth), but, to me, being fraternal is the best of all possible twin worlds. You - have all the advantages without the weirdness of people scrutinising you for discrepancies, like a human spot-the-difference. Or the embarrassment of putting on weight and being confronted with the slimmer version of yourself that could have been.

Frances and I were always together when we were growing up and, although our two sisters had their own bedrooms, we shared a room at home. Until we were 18, the only nights we spent apart were the one I spent in hospital when I broke my arm aged seven, and a stint I did as an aupair in Paris. Placed with a frosty French family, I remember having the strangest feeling and suddenly realising with a shock that for the first time in my life I was lonely. I'm still grateful that until the age of 18 I always had someone to talk to - morning, noon and (much to the annoyance of our parents) night.

These days, Frances's and my lives are as non-identical as we are. I live in London, she lives in Somerset. I work on a magazine, she's a teacher. She's married, I live with my boyfriend. She's the family 'organiser, I'm more sociable possibly the result of being the eldest twin by ten sole minutes?), but I still get jittery if I go more than a day or so without talking to her; she's my confidante and the person I know will always be there for me. When I was single, it was reassuring to know I would always be in a 'couple' of sorts. I didn't suffer terrifying visions of growing old alone, with only a flea-ridden cat for company - Frances and I were always going to be on neighbouring ??g-covered rockers in the retirement home. Nowadays, as Mr or Mrs Right proves increasingly elusive for many young people, it's ??vely to know that, with more twins being born, more of us will have a soul mate nonetheless. 'In an era when people are very mobile, change jobs more often, get married later (or more than once) and find it hard to find the time to stay in touch with friends, it's fantastic to have someone who's known you all your life,' says Gladeana McMahon. It can take a partner years to get to know you as well as your twin does.'

And even today, when most primary schools have at least one pair of twins, they are still ;viewed as unusual, and thrive on being the object of attention. 'And don't we all want to feel special?' says McMahon.

But, if the IVF twin boom is a boon for children, what of their parents? They're the ones who have to cope with two demanding infants at once, and that's quite apart from the legacy of stretch marks from that enormous bump. Frances insists that two babies are far easier than one: 'Obviously the night feeds are tricky, but at least you get them out of the way in one go, and from quite an early age the boys entertained each other. As I'm a natural worrier, its great to know that Samuel and Isaac will always have "backup".' Or, as seven-year-old Samuel puts it, 'It's nice always having someone to play with, and at least your twin can never tease you about your age...'

Twins – a personal view from the outside.

It is important to note that my experience here is based on twins that are both identical, and natural. The excitement of having twins in this circumstance is no different form having a single baby. My twins were the 'first-born' of the family, so we didn't know how they would change our lives, as we would not have know how a single child would have changed our lives. So the added anticipation of something like IVF is not applicable to me.

This is a response to YOU's article on twins, requested by one of my daughters, who is a twin.

The uniqueness of twins.

The main things I remember are the things that are clearly different about having twins than having a single baby. The first thing occurred during pregnancy. We were asked if we would have an amniocentisis, a test to confirm that the baby is not affected by Spina Bifda, if I remember correctly. In any case the test carries a risk of miscarriage, and if it proves that the baby is affected there is the option of abortion. Lots of people go through this, the difference here is that twins are known to cause the measures to be increased, but. At the time we were concerned, and immediately under pressure from the medical profession. Later (after the test) we find that the Twins statistics are unreliable, so the medical profession needs additional information.

A natural birth is also something of a rarity (and is getting more so I expect). The fact that it occurred during the day – doubly so. We had an audience for the birth, as the hospital rushed around to find two of the 'just-born' support machines. They were small, and were in hospital for observation for a while.


“Our mother tells us that people were always stopping our double buggy to coo”

Yes, it happens, they are a novelty. They are not that uncommon though. Plenty of people stop for a new baby, more do for twins. It has its good and bad sides. The attention is nice, from strangers, but from people who I know, it became a bit of an attention seeking issue. “I'm here talk to me as well”. What effect does this have on the twins themselves? Who can tell, but they certainly get used to being the centre of attention at a very young age.

The twins, or the children?

“Twins studies show that most twins ... have a closer bond than ordinary siblings”

Very true, in many ways they are totally interdependent. At three months they would go to sleep quicker facing each other than facing apart. By four years old they would speak to us in our language, and each other to some extent in their own. This starts to break down when they start school properly.

“Twins are less susceptible to such sibling rivalry because they've never know a life without the other”

There is still something there of the mutual support, and they are still very close. They are also each others fiercest critics. To say there isn't a rivalry would be wrong. From where I am its seeing it that's the difficulty. The relationship can be so close and internalized that the rivalry can be invisible to the outside world most of the time. Never doubt that its there, it is and will spill over into the 'public' world of the family from time-to-time. Mine are as competitive as any siblings.

Other sibling rivalries.

Ours were the 'first-born', and suffered together the joint sibling rivalries when their brothers arrived. Do they secretly hate them? - I don't know, I doubt it. The idea that all brothers and sisters hate each other doesn't match my experience, either as a brother, a parent, an uncle, or a youth leader.

Approach to twins

What approach do parents take to their twins? It can be difficult, and there is significant pressure to treat them as 'one' rather than 'two'. It has always been my view of parenting that as much choice as possible should be given to the child at every stage. Our twins have similar tastes, in clothes especially, and we always insisted that they chose different colours if they wanted the same dress. This is just sensible way of stopping arguments later.

My specific approach is to be very strong about treating them as individuals. I have received criticism for this. “Ah there lovely, like two peas in a pod” and in a harsher tone altogether, “Why have you dressed them differently?”. I wanted to say “So, I can tell them apart – dummy”, but that wasn't the reason. Mostly the reason was because they chose what to wear themselves. Having provided them with the option of an individual life, you cannot then stop them being together, if that's what they choose. There was a time when I would have like to. The infant school they were at had a policy of keeping twins in the same class. This was not to their advantage, as they would easily become absorbed in each other, and ignore the class. Splitting them up would have been initially painful, but long term a better option.

Later they would make their own choice to be apart, attending alternate birthday parties of their joint friends for a year or two.

Dominant twin?

The article does not address this issue, although it is clearly an important part of the relationship. In certain situations one of the two (the oldest, in this case) generally takes the lead. First to ride a bike, first to holiday away from home, first to go to University. The other follows on. This is not exclusively the case, but the eldest has always played the 'big sister' role.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Last of the Mohicans

The Last of the Mohicans
J. Fenimore Cooper

Purnell and sons Ltd
Printed by Dean & Sons

This is an old book, but nevertheless and fantastic story. It is set in the Americas, where the French and British are in dispute over various territories. The local red-Indian tribes have moved from their traditional hunting grounds, either because they have to, or to follow their new masters.

We start out with a simple journey; two young women are to be escorted home through difficult territory by a young Major. He has an Indian guide, but the guide is not all he appears. The journey is not completed, and the adventure begins. Without ruining the story I can say that they do not all get home safely – the story is too realistic for that. Friendships are made, savages prove to be both savage, and civilised (though the book does not admit so much, it is implied in many scenes), and the white man is not shown in too bad a light. There is plenty of action, particularly towards the end, when war breaks out.

It’s the characterisations that make a story, and these are all real people, but remember that the language is old, and sometimes difficult to penetrate. Each chapter starts with a short quote, often from Shakespeare, which I assume is suppose to set the scene, as in the introductions to chapters in some books that start “In which our hero …”. For me this didn’t work, perhaps it was the language, or perhaps it was my lack of knowledge of the classics. I’d recommend an up-to-date version if you’re going to read it.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Four Gospels, One Jesus?

Four Gospels, One Jesus?
Richard A. Burridge

SPCK (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge)

ISBN:0281047804

Another level, to help you get closer to the real person

How do you read the Bible? I think it can be read in a number of ways, too often we read it just as a reference book, which is not the way it was intended of course. When we study the Bible, we look at all the information we can get to find the context for the stories we're reading about. We try to understand what life was like in Jesus lifetime, we look at who wrote the gospels and when. All this is to help us to get a better understanding of the one Jesus that we a so concerned about learning about and from.

Jesus was a real person, so what was he like? There are some things that we can get from the texts we read. Even a superficial reading will give the impression that Jesus was clearly a charismatic teacher, ans someone who is not afraid of confrontation. I should add that he was also a Jew, with some amazing gifts, who made some astonishing claims. Quite quickly we arrive at the “God, mad or bad?” question, which tells us that Jesus is someone who is difficult to ignore.

To find out more we read the Gospels more carefully and try to understand who the author was, who he was writing for, and where he got his material. That gets us a little closer, but from the texts we still struggle with some of the apparent contradictions. Why are there four accounts? Are they just accounts from different reporters? Can we assume that these 'eye-witness accounts' suffer from the same problems as modern eye-witness accounts? Does that account for the differences? Did it all really happen?

If you're still with me, then you should read Four Gospels – One Jesus. The approach here is to try not only to understand some of the answers to the questions above, but also to understand how early Christian writers and their contemporaries wrote biographies. The approach they use is not the same as 20th Century writers. Each Gospel is examined for its main theme using characterizations from the early church as a base. For example, in Mark, Jesus is a Lion; In John an Eagle. The use of these images is carefully explained, and can be a helpful way of remembering the main themes. For those who are familiar with Lord of the rings, Tolkein is referenced often, sometimes this is a strain, as in the description of the eagles who rescue Frodo and Sam from the mountain. In John, Jesus the Eagle is not under the command of anyone, but G... is clearly being directed by Gandalf, so the analogy breaks down too early.

Overall, this is a helpful book if you are really trying to get closer to the character of Jesus. It generally has an easy style, and is thought provoking, without getting too technical. If, like me, you finish the chapter on John, and ask “How are we ever going to get back to one Jesus now?”, then just read on.

Here are some links that might help:

http://www.eharper.nildram.co.uk/stm/fourone.pdf

http://www.spck.org.uk/cat/show.php/0281047804

Reign of Terror, Reign of Love

Reign of Terror - Reign of Love

Kefa Sempangi

A first hand account of life and death in Amin's Uganda

An Aslan Lion Paperback ISBN 0 86548 192 0 - First UK edition 1979.

Have you ever had a book scream "READ ME!" every time you walk past it? I bought this one ages ago, at a book sale somewhere, because the back cover starts "There were five of them, they stood between me and the door of the church vestry, pointing their rifles at my face." The author obviously survived because he wrote the book and I just love stories that show Gods power. It turned up while I was browsing through the book cabinet, and sat on top of the pile waiting to be read.

These stories are often moving and challenging, so I don’t always read them on the train. This one took my mind off having to stand for forty or more minutes.

As the book opens Kefa Sempangi is a professor at the Makerere University in Uganda and is also a leader of the Revival Fellowship. The mood is positive after the overthrow of Obote. We follow Kefa, his church and the developing situation in Uganda. Kefa starts a home for destitute children, and learns from God that he cannot save every one. Jesus says "Kefa, you are not the Messiah. You are not in charge of my vineyard. You are only one small worker …. This is the child I want you to take".

The church achieves amazing growth through the belief and dedication of its leaders. The leadership holds all night prayer meetings to resolve their problems, and seek Gods direction. It must leave them tired the next day, but there are never any complaints. Their commitment was my first challenge. As problems start with Amin’s assassins Kefa does not know how to pray for the children who have witnessed the massacre of their family, so he simply reads them John Gospel. The child is healed. There are many other healing, dramatic escapes from the assassins, victories over witch craft, and unexpected conversions as the church and Kefa grow. God is also seen to teach them in unexpected ways. In the middle of a crisis a woman asks them to pray because she needs a bed. Kefa is annoyed with her, agrees and sends her away. Next week she is back, praising Jesus excitedly – she has a bed. Kefa is more annoyed and tries to keep her quiet. From this he learns that "A religion is true if it works, if it meets all the needs of the people". My second challenge is to understand what this means for us 2001.

The story of Kefa’s escape from Amin is too good to tell here, so I’m keeping it for a talk at some time, unless of course you all read the book!!

My biggest challenge was early in the book, where there is a description of their confession. Kefa finds it a difficult experience, confessing all his "personal jealousies" and other very private sins. One of the other elders explains that when they hear confession (it happens in a group!), it is not the sins that they hear, but Jesus power of forgiveness. They seem to derive enormous power from Jesus’ forgiveness. That seems to me to be a part of Christianity that we are missing.

Pete Fisher 10/1/01

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

John 21:15-25

Outline

Preparation

Request that some sheep are made - from cotton wool, and straws.

Background

Start with video clip from Miracle maker to give background – Peter's denial of Jesus (1:05:00-1:07:20)

Reading. John 21:15-25

stand for Gospel

Introduction

[Show “Simon says” cartoon]

Simon says – as a game- but in reverse – so Don't do what Simon says.

Prayer

Look at Peter

What had happened to get Peter here?

  • his background

    • the 'school bully situation' [slide 3]

    • Declared love for Jesus – everyone else may leave you I won't

      • Matthew 26:33
        Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”

    • Defended Jesus – inappropriately (sword incident)

      • John 18:10
        Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant's name was Malchus.)

    • Denied Jesus – three times.

What did we see last week?

Disciples, at Simon's direction had returned to previous profession – fishing, and failed.

John spots Jesus on the shore

Peter :“It is the Lord” – diving and swimming to Shore

Motivations?

A chance to put things right?

Pure excitement?

Love?

What's in a name?

Simon son of John”

Where has Peter gone? Simon was renamed Peter in John 1:42
Jesus looked at him {Simon} and said, “You are
Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter [ Both Cephas (Aramaic) and Peter (Greek) mean rock.] ).

From then on John refers to Simon as either Peter, or more often Simon Peter until now.

Today's conversation:

[slide 4]

1)

Do you truly love me more than these?

Boats & nets, or disciples – disciples – refer to the claim

You know I love you

Weak, guarded response

Feed my Lambs

[get some lambs]

Only the young ones – an important start

2)

Do you truly love me?

No confusion – Just Jesus

You know I love you

Weak, guarded response

Take care of my sheep

[get some sheep]

Peter is asked to be a shepherd. To look after the welfare of the sheep

3)

Do you love me?

Is there any love you can show in your response

You know all things – you know that I love you


Response from the hurt caused by the first reasonable question.

Feed my sheep

[get some people]

Finally the whole job is back, and Peter is back.

What's been going on? - Some thoughts

How have thing changed over the course of the conversation?

Questions, Commands , Responses

Jesus

Questions [slide 4 overlay 1]

Get easier – From detailed strong specifics – “truly love” and “more than these” to simply “love” - which of course is all that any of us are asked to do.


Commands [slide 4 overlay 2]

(or opportunities) get harder / more extensive

from “Lambs” to “Sheep”. And finally there's the prediction of what's going to happen, which mirrors Peter declaration.

Peter [slide 4 overlay 3]

Peters answers change very little, but do go from being self centred towards being God centred. Some commentators believe the answers show that Peter has already learnt his lessons, centring on what Jesus knows, rather than what he himself feels – then the final answer just extends this. However, what happens next shows that Peter, is still Peter – and has a long way to go. What Peter shows throughout these three questions is that he really wants this, that's why he's prepared to go through the questions – to put right, if he can, his previous failure.


If you really want something, you'll do whatever it takes to get it What do you really want:


15 Minutes of Fame:

The Word – I'd do anything to get on television – Sitting in baths of snakes, or worms.

Fame academy – queue for hours, and have some professionals be really rude to you – possibly all for nothing. Is it worth the risk, are you really going to get chosen from all those thousands of people.

Big Brother – live for twelve weeks with a group of people who've been chosen for their incompatibility. Perhaps you'd prefer to live in a real version of the “Truman Show”.

The Marathon – all that training, in all weathers, working up from 5 miles to 25 miles slowly, painfully ...you must really want it

Chocolate – what would you do for a bar? - Lets find out ---

Jumping

Running

Hand stand?

Sit quietly ---

[give out chocolate]

How de we know what we want?

Ask yourself the question “What would you be prepared to give up to get whatever it is?”

Your answer might include Chocolate, or it might be more – your home, your friends, your family, your religion, your Life

Remember the parables Jesus told – the treasure hidden in a field, and the extremely valuable pearl.

Paul said:Philippians 3:8
What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ

“What would you be prepared to give up to know Jesus better?”

“What would you be prepared to give up so that others can know Jesus better?”

Mission will bring changes to the Church – one way or another.

Peter had been prepared to give up his life for Jesus, and now Jesus predicts that that is exactly what he will do, but that it will not be in the way that he had expected.

Peter's Error

From understanding to error – it happens every time we see Peter:

Transfiguration

Luke 9:29-33 As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendour, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfilment at Jerusalem. Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters–one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what he was saying.)


You are the son of God --> to Get behind me Satan

Mark 8:29-33 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

Peter answered, “You are the Christ.”

Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.

He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.

But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”


Its his way, and its repeated here, but Jesus turns the attention back on to Peter – “What is that to you – you must follow me”


Exchange ends with You must follow me

What does it mean for us to Follow Jesus?

Try these:

Three Dumb Hunters

Three idiots decide to go hunting. The first one says he's going to get a buck. He goes out, and indeed comes back with a buck. The other two hunters ask how he did it. He says, "I see tracks. I follow tracks. I get buck."

So the second hunter says that he's going to get a doe. And he does. They ask him how he did it, and he says, "I see tracks. I follow tracks. I get doe."

So the third hunter says, "I'm just gonna shoot at anything I see."

So he goes out and comes back half a day later all beaten, bruised, bloody, and totally trashed. The other two hunters ask him what happened and he says, "I see tracks. I follow tracks. I get hit by train!"

Perhaps thats not the right way?

Someone called Robert Leighton said:

The flower that follows the sun does so even on cloudy days.

[pause]

The flower that follows the sun does so even on cloudy days.


Peter certainly had plenty of cloudy days – look at Acts, and the tradition of his death.

Keep you eyes on Jesus, and don't let anything distract you, you can never be sure exactly where He'll lead you

I must also end with Jesus saying to all of us “You must follow me”