Thursday, 31 December 2015

Whatever 2016 is, may it be a blessed one for you

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things - aim for such things - and may your 2016 be blessed with such things.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Lost and Found - How much?

Lost and Found
It was getting dark. Henry ushered George into his house, holding his fingers to his lips he was urging George to keep quiet. Henry didn’t want to disturb his wife. Not yet anyway. The disturbing was going to happen anyway, but he wanted to try to manage the disturbing.
“Come in George” said Henry quietly. George came in. “Put those slippers on, your poor feet must be freezing”’
“They are” said George putting on a pair of pink fluffy slippers that Henry hands him “and thank you for all your doing for me.
“Oh that’s quite alright. It’s what Christ calls us to do as Christians.” Henry is still trying to be quiet and looking around nervously. He knows his wife in in here somewhere.
“I know, you keep telling me that, but I am grateful. Ever since you started talking to me in the subway, and you’ve been so kind. I mean I’m just some homeless guy and you’ve…”
“Shhhh, I think I can hear her” Henry is alert now.
“Sorry” George stops talking.
“Please don’t apologise, it will be OK. Now don’t worry, I do want you to meet her. Besides you’ll have to meet her otherwise she will wonder who it is in the shower when you are up there. ”
There is a rustle, then Rita, Henry’s wife, shouts from the kitchen “Henners, is that you?”
“She calls me Henners” He shrugs.
“You’re late again.” she continues ”You’ve not brought another beggar home have you?” 
There’s an awkward silence then she walks into the hallway and stares. “Good evening” she says politely to George.
George smiles “Good evening, nice to meet you” he says.
Rita smiles. She turns to her husband and turns her stare back on. Henry wants to manage the ‘disturbance’ he senses, and drops they work bag he has been carrying and runs over to greet and attempt to hug his wife. “Hello darling” he blurts “I’m home”
“Yes, you are aren’t you” says Rita, not responding to the hug. Henry releases her from what has turned into some kind of bear hug. She grabs his arm and pulls him to the corner of the hall.
In staccato tones she whispers “This is the third one you’ve brought home this week.”
“I know but God calls all Christians to give” He turns to George, feeling awkward “Please take a seat in the lounge. Make yourself at home”.
“Thank you, through here?” Asks George. Henry nods and George walks through the only door in the hallway and in his new pink slippers finds a seat.
Rita, arms folded, she says defiantly “I have no food left”
“What none at all?”
“How am I meant to feed him and us? I only have a meal for two left in the freezer. I was going shopping tomorrow”
“We can split it three ways?” Henry suggests.
Rita tuts, then sniffs. “What’s that smell?” she asks.
“It’s what I brought him back for” says Henry smiling.
“For a shower?” she asks. “I don’t believe you?” She sighs “OK but keep an eye on him. Last time we lost our toothbrushes and I had to go to my pilates class with breath that could peel wallpaper.”
“How can I keep an eye on him?” Henry is indignant “It’s a bit rude of me stood in there with him”
“Well I can’t, can I?” Rita retorts and then before he can answer “Are those my pink slippers he is wearing? Why is he wearing my slippers?”
“He has small feet” Henry replies. Rita is about to explode so Henry hastily attempts to defuse the situation “He had nothing on his feet. He was homeless”
Rita softens “Look I know God calls us to give, but those are my best slippers. At least you’ve given him your scarf, although I did give you it for your birthday. It took me ages to find one like that”
“Well, “ Henry begins sensing the softening in his wife’s resolve “In the early church they shared everything according to those who had need.”
Henry should know better than to argue with someone who knows the book of Acts “Yes but they were in the same Church. They were sharing things with each others. In the same church. They were brothers and sisters in the same Church” she says repetitively.
“He is in our Church” says Henry.
“No he isn’t.” Insists Rita “Our Church isn’t that big. I would know if he was in our Church”
“He is a new member” says Henry proudly.
“How new?”
“About 2 hours ago”
“2 hours ago?”
“When he became a Christian” Henry says with a little smile in his eye “It was a beautiful moment. He just…”
“Hold on” Rita interrupts the eulogising “Hold on a minute. You said about the early Church sharing things. How much exactly have you shared?”
There is an awkward pause. Henry looks up in the air. “Welllll, “He begins “There are your slippers as he had no shoes” There’s a pause.
“Oh my scarf, and my hat” Another pause. “My belt as his trousers were about to fall down. That was a funny…”
“And what else” She interrupts again.
  “My sandwich as he had no food, erm, and my drink. Actually I am bit thirsty. I would love a cuppa”
Rita glares at him. He’s not going to get a cup of tea.
“He had no money so I gave him some”.
“How much, £5, £10?” She asks.
“A tad more than that. He has nothing you see. Only the clothes he is wearing”
 “OK, but how much. It’s the end of the month and I don’t have much for the shopping tomorrow.” Rita pauses and “Hold on. You’ve not given him our shopping money have you?”
Henry shuffles awkwardly “Oh no, I didn’t do that”
“That’s a relief” Rita laughs “We have to eat as well you know”
“I gave him our savings”
“OUR WHAT” Rita is finally ‘disturbed’.
Henry turns to the door with George on the other side “Sorry about the shouting” he says.
“I’m not causing any problems am I? Asks George.
“No none at all. Make yourself comfortable.” Henry turns back to Rita.
It turns out Rita is still disturbed “You… gave… him… our… savings…. All of it?
Henry pleads with her “In the Bible the rich ruler had to give up all he had to follow Jesus. I didn’t want to go away and be sad like he did.”
“Yes but all of it?” She is feeling resigned to losing everything “Why on earth would you … oh no …hold on … he’s homeless. Tell me you’ve not given him our home.”
Henry pauses “Not exactly. We do have a spare room though. I said he can move in after his shower”.
“My mother is coming to stay this weekend” States Rita triumphantly. “Where can she sleep”
“Good question.” Henry acknowledges, and pauses to think and then has an idea “I know, after his shower he can take a drive and look for a job”
“He can take a drive?” Rita is getting disturbed again “HE CAN TAKE A DRIVE? How can he take a drive he hasn’t got a car!
“I gave him your car so he can…”
“MY CAR, why my car? He only joined the Church two hours ago and …”
We will end the story here, although the argument will go on for a while yet. George can hear it all obviously. But he is tired and exhausted. He just wanted a chance to start again and what he had been told about Jesus was exactly that opportunity he had been seeking. Anyway, as I say he was tired and he falls asleep. He is warm for the first time in days. He also has a peace he has never known before. This is a new feeling for him. Even in the good times of his life he had never felt this peace before. He starts to drop off to sleep. As he does so, there are a few of the thoughts and questions that go through his mind. Here they are…
“I may be a bit new to all this, having just become a Christian, but even I can see there are a lot of questions to be answered here. Questions like – How much should a Christian give? Who should they give to? When should you share with Church members? Should you give to Beggars? Should they get marriage guidance? These are questions I can’t answer. All I know is 2 hours ago I was lost, but now, thanks to this mans actions and words, I am found. Because of what he gave I found Jesus and I am saved.” 

So all I want to ask at the end of this story is how much are you prepared to give to win souls for Jesus?

Thursday, 19 November 2015

The Shepherds – God doesn’t always do what you expect

Based on the story of the Shepherds at the time of the birth of Christ and the fact that by God calling these men, who lets be honest in the worlds eyes weren’t the most important people around, God doesn’t always do what you expect.
The sketch has been written for a minimum of:
·         4 Shepherds – Are normal working class lads.
·         2 Angels – Speak throughout in loud dramatic voices.
If you want to get more people involved you can use some extras simply as walk on roles.

Shepherds are sat in a line warming their hands against a fire, or drinking out of mugs. One has a bucket in front of him which he keeps dipping his hands into and rubbing whatever is in there together to try and get clean. He actually has socks in the bucket but these should not be revealed until later.

The 2 Angels walk on behind the shepherds and Angel 1 nods knowingly to the other as they walk across the stage and stop on the other side to say the following...

Angel 1
And the time came, while Mary and Joseph were in Bethlehem, for the baby to be born.

Angel 2
As it was written Mary gave birth to her firstborn, a son.

Angel 1
Now there were shepherds living out in the fields near by, keeping watch over their flocks at night.

Angel 2
Whilst the Angels (Pause dramatically and sweep arms towards the shepherds) watched over the shepherds.

Angel 1
And though, verily, I say unto you, it was a bit nippy.

I’m really cold. Aren’t you?

Not really. Oh no look what I’ve done (Lifts up a pair of grey socks out of a saucepan) I've washed all the colour out of my socks.

What colour were they to begin with?



Yeh, like my hands. Aren't you two cold?

(Ignoring) What temperature was the water you used to wash them in? Temperature can make all the difference you know.

About 40 degrees, that’s about right isn’t it?

(Shepherd tands up calling to God) LORD, PLEASE WARM ME UP

(All look at shepherd 1)

Shepherd 3
What are you doing?

Shepherd 1
Asking God to warm me up.

Shepherd 2
Asking God to warm you up? What makes you think God will turn up here and make you warm.

Shepherd 3
You’re just an insignificant shepherd on a hill. What makes you think God has time for the likes of you?

Shepherd 4
God doesn't always do what you expect.

(All stop and turn to look at Shepherd 4)

Shepherd 2
What are you on about?

Shepherd 4
God doesn’t always do what you expect.

Shepherd 1
Yes that’s right. Why shouldn't he come down and make me warm. God doesn't always do what you expect.

(Awkward silence)

Shepherd 3
You’re right though - It is a bit nippy.

Shepherd 1
(Starts to hop from leg to leg as he wants to go to the toilet)
All this cold air...well its gone straight to my err…I’ve got to go. (He runs off the stage with knees together)

Shepherd 4
Go where?

Shepherd 2
Let’s just say a bush is being nurtured!

All Shepherds

(All go back to what they were doing)

Angel 1
And then suddenly we, the Angels of the Lord, appeared to them, and the glory of God shone around them and they were terrified.

Angel 2
The Shepherds were terrified not the angels… obviously (Shepherds shake/be terrified). So we said to them…

Angel 1
We bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.

Angel 2
Today in the town of David a saviour has been born to you; He is Christ the lord.

(Shepherds go down on knees, heads bowed in humble prayers)

Angel 1
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the Angels praising God and saying…

(Shepherds prostrate themselves and if you have them available bring more Angels on)

Angel 1 & 2 plus others if available
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests.

Angel 1
And then the Angelic host left them and when they had gone the shepherd said.......

(Shepherd 1 comes back on at this point)

Shepherd 1
What are you lot doing laying down there.

(All the shepherds get up and are very excited)

Shepherd 4
The Angel of the Lord has appeared to us.

Shepherd 2
He did, He did. It was amazing.

Shepherd 3
It was, it was… wow….

Shepherd 4
He told us a saviour has been born today in the town of Bethlehem.

Shepherd 1
An Angel told you that did he? (Picks up a mug and sniffs it) What have you been drinking?

Shepherd 4
(Continuing) and they said he is Christ the Lord.

Shepherd 1
And then I suppose even more appeared and started singing.

Shepherd 2
Yes, they did. You heard it to?

Shepherd 2, 3 & 4
(All excitedly speak over one another saying how amazing, exciting, wonderful, scary awesome, and ‘did you see the big one in the middle’ etc)

Shepherd 1
(Shaking head then suddenly shouts to stop interrupt the hubbub)
LOOK! (Then calmer) You really expect me to believe that God sent his Angels to a few insignificant men on a hill.


Shepherd 4
Look, we did say earlier God doesn't always do what you expect.

Shepherd 1
OK prove it. Take me to the saviour.

(Then all except Shepherd 1 get up and start walking off)

Shepherd 1
What’s up? where are you going

To prove it. (Leave the stage)

Shepherd 1
What? Really? You’re going! Well hold on then, wait for me. Watch out don’t go near that bush. Oh sorry (runs off after the shepherds).

Angel 1
Accordingly they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and their saviour, a baby lying in a manger.

Angel 2
And when they had seen Him they spread the word concerning all they had been told about this child.

Angel 1
Thus we now find the Shepherds returning to their flock

Angel 2
As a consequence of their experience they are glorifying God and praising God for all the things they have heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Angel 2
Verily…(pause) As they had been told by us (smiles)

Angel 2
Verily indeed. (Pause and smiles back) Yep, we told em!

(Shepherds come back on, all a bit dazed and in awe of what they have seen)

Shepherd 1
WOW, that was amazing. We have seen our saviour. So beautiful.

Shepherd 2
Praise God

Shepherd 3

Shepherd 1
Who would have believed it? Of all the people God could have told he chose to tell us.

Shepherd 4
It’s good isn’t it? It’s exactly what we were saying earlier.

(All turn to look at the Shepherd 4)

Shepherd 4
God doesn't always do what you expect.