Category Archives: children

A Lion in the Manger

“They were in Lucy’s room, sitting on the edge of her bed and looking at a picture on the opposite wall. It was a picture of a ship—a ship sailing straight towards you. Her prow was gilded and shaped like the head of a dragon with a wide-open mouth. She had only one mast and one large, square sail which was a rich purple. The sides of the ship—what you could see of them where the gilded wings of the dragon ended—were green. She had just run up to the top of one glorious blue wave, and the nearer slope of that wave came down towards you, with streaks and bubbles on it.…all three children were staring with open mouths. What they were seeing may be hard to believe when you read it in print, but it was almost as hard to believe when you saw it happening. The things in the picture were moving. It didn’t look at all like a cinema either; the colours were too real and clean and out-of-doors for that. Down went the prow of the ship into the wave and up went a great shock of spray. And then up went the wave behind her, and her stern and her deck became visible for the first time, and then disappeared as the next wave came to meet her and her bows went up again. At the same moment … Lucy felt all her hair whipping round her face as it does on a windy day. And this was a windy day; but the wind was blowing out of the picture towards them. And suddenly with the wind came the noises—the swishing of waves and the slap of water against the ship’s sides and the creaking and the overall high steady roar of air and water. But it was the smell, the wild, briny smell, which really convinced Lucy that she was not dreaming… a great cold, salt splash had broken right out of the frame and they were breathless from the smack of it, besides being wet through…”

So begins The Voyage of the Dawn Treader from The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. At face value it is a beautiful children’s story about a sea voyage. But Lewis intends us, young and old, to view it as a parable about life. More especially about discovering the purpose in life. And along the way, understanding the insidious power of evil, learning to resist temptation, and realising that rescue can only come from another realm. The realm of Aslan. Remember the first time you entered the world of Narnia? And came under the mesmerising spell of the evil White Witch who makes it “Always winter, never Christmas”… But the redemption of Narnia and the end of the White Witch’s reign has been prophesied and the arrival of “sons of Adam and daughters of Eve”, is a sign that the coming of Aslan as the rightful King is near. Clearly Aslan is a picture of the Lord Jesus. How do you feel about Jesus portrayed as a lion? Jesus is actually described as a lion in the first and the last books of the Bible. In Genesis, is this prophecy.

“You’re a lion’s cub, Judah, my son. Look at him, crouched like a lion, king of beasts; who dares mess with him? The sceptre shall not leave Judah; he’ll keep a firm grip on the command staff; Until the ultimate ruler comes and the nations obey him.” (Genesis 49: 9-10)

And in the Book of Revelation, the Apostle John, is told, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed.” (Revelation 5:5)

But why the name Aslan? Simple. Aslan is Turkish for ‘lion’. The abiding message of Narnia, so powerfully re-told in the new film, the Voyage of the Dawn Treader, is that God calls us to a grand adventure, an epic journey that will never end to know him and make him known. As Prince Caspian exclaims, “Think of the lost souls we are here to save”.

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Is Christmas Just for Children? John Ross

John Ross “Is Christmas Just for Children?” from Stephen Sizer on Vimeo.

John Ross speaking to a Men’s Breakfast at Christ Church, Virginia Water, Surrey in December 2010.

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The Redemption of Shaun the Lost Sheep

Shaun the Lost Sheep from Stephen Sizer on Vimeo.

The Redemption of Shaun the Lost Sheep

This is the story of Shaun the Sheep. Shaun was a short-sighted Sheep. He is always wandering off and getting lost. He lives with his friends and is a happy sheep. His master loves him and cares for him and provides everything he needs. But Shaun is always wandering off and getting lost. His master calls him and searches for him and eventually finds him and brings him home rejoicing.

Shaun loves to play in the garden on the swings and slide. He loves climbing trees. But Shaun is a short-sighted Sheep.  He is always wandering off and getting lost. His master calls him and searches for him. He eventually finds Shaun and brings him home rejoicing.

Shaun loves to help out in the church. In the office and the kitchen. Making tea and coffee and washing up. He loves making music and playing with computers and distracting the staff. But Shaun is a short-sighted Sheep. He is always wandering off and getting lost. His master calls him and searches for him. He eventually finds Shaun and brings him home rejoicing.

Shaun’s favourite place is the Sunday Clubs. He loves playing in the crèche with the toys and reading Bible stories. But Shaun is a short-sighted Sheep. He is always wandering off and getting lost. His master calls him and searches for him. He eventually finds Shaun and brings him home rejoicing.

Shaun loves to be in the Church and help with the flowers and straighten the chairs. But Shaun is a short-sighted Sheep. He is always wandering off and getting lost. Then one day Shaun gets really lost and is put in the lost property box. Oh dear. His master calls him and searches for him but cannot find him. His master is very, very sad. So his master leaves his other 99 sheep and goes in search of Shaun. He searches very high and low.

Eventually he finds Shaun, sitting in a charity shop window. He looks very sad and lonely. His master goes into the shop and gladly pays the price to buy Shaun back. His master is so happy to find Shaun. He brings him home rejoicing. And that’s the story of Shaun the Sheep. Shaun the short sighted sheep who was lost and redeemed. His master paid to get him back. That is what ‘redeem’ means – to pay for something you really want back.

You know we are like Shaun the sheep. Sooner or later we all get lost and lose our way. The Bible says, “we all like sheep have gone astray” (Isaiah 53:6).

But we don’t have to stay lost. Jesus said “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11).  That is how he ‘redeemed’ us. He bought us with his life.

Titus says, “[Jesus] gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.“ (Titus 2:14)

The Book of Romans explains it like this: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:23-24)

Ephesians says, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” (Ephesians 1:7)

We are all like Shaun. Whether you are lost or found. Jesus promises today: “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.” (John 10:27-28)

Jesus wants us to listen to him and come to him and stay close to him so that we will never get lost again. Lets say a prayer to thank Jesus for redeeming us.

Thank you Lord Jesus for loving us so much that you gave your life to redeem us, to buy us back. Help us to listen to your voice through the Bible. Please purify us and make us a people that are your very own, eager to do what is good. In Jesus name.

You can see lots more photos of Shaun the Sheep here and on Flickr here

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A Route of Hope: Katie Ruth

Our daughter Katie has just published her first book of poetry.

The book launch was held at the Fox and Hounds, Bishopsgate Road, Englefield Green, Surrey on Saturday 12th December. You can view photos here

“I have, in recent years, learned an extremely valuable lesson about the importance and rewards of perseverance. ‘A Route of Hope’ is a collection of my poetry which has been published with a prayer that I might be able to encourage people.

Anyone who struggles, feels alone, suffers with anxiety or stress; I want to inspire these people to persevere and rest in the knowledge that we are never alone. I hope that my simple poems bring you a smile for the moments you feel unable to. ” – Katie Ruth

 

After the Rain

Diamonds on the leaves
They’re perfectly round
The blue sky is settled
And there’s much less sound
The grasses looking happy
Waving to the trees
Where the birds are sitting
In the evening breeze
And the flowers are thankful
That now they can show
Their beautiful colours
Early, tomorrow.

At least 10% of the profits from the book are being donated to Umthombo and their work among homeless street children in Durban, South Africa.

Priced £4.99, you may pre-order copies from Katie

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Harvest: Past, Present and Future

Harvest – Past, Present and Future from Stephen Sizer on Vimeo.

Why do we celebrate Harvest Festival? Ideas? The Bible mentions Harvest a lot. Lets find out about:

Harvest Past – its origin
Harvest Future – its objective
Harvest Present – its opportunity

Read more here

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Colin Buchanan is Back

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