Vatican Humour

I thought that today – for a change – I’d share some Vatican humour with you.

May our Father God Bless you mightily as you Worship and Praise Him in your Church this wondrous Sabbath day!

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After getting all the Pope’s luggage loaded into the limo, (and he doesn’t travel light), the driver notices the Pope is still standing on the curb.

Excuse me, Your Holiness,” says the driver, “Would you please take your seat so we can leave?”

“Well, to tell you the truth,” says the Pope, ‘they never let me drive at the Vatican when I was a cardinal, and I’d really like to drive today.”

I’m sorry, Your Holiness, but I cannot let you do that. I’d lose my job! what if something should happen?” protests the driver, wishing he’d never gone to work that morning.

Who’s going to tell?” says the Pope with a smile.

Reluctantly, the driver gets in the back as the Pope climbs in behind the wheel. The driver quickly regrets his decision when, after exiting the airport, the Pontiff floors it, accelerating to 120mph.

Please slow down, Your Holiness” pleads the worried driver, but the Pope keeps the pedal to the floor until they hear police sirens.

“Oh, dear God, I’m going to lose my licence – and my job!” moans the driver. The Pope pulls over and rolls down the window as the cop approaches, but the cop takes one look at him, goes back to his motorcycle, and gets on the radio.

l need to talk to the Boss” he says. The boss gets on the radio and the cop tells him that he’s stopped a limo going at 120 mph.

So pinch him,” says the Boss. “I don’t think we want to do that because he’s really important”’ said the cop.

“All the more reason!” ‘No, I mean really important,” said the cop with a bit of persistence.

The Boss then asked, “ls it the mayor?”

Cop: “Bigger.”

Boss: “A politician?”

Cop: “Bigger.”

Boss: “The Prime Minister?”

Cop: “Bigger.”

Well, said the Boss, “Whoever is it?”

Cop: “I think it’s God!”

The Boss is even more puzzled and curious

What makes you think it’s God?”

Cop: “His chauffeur is the Pope!”

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

The Marriage between Charles Wesley and Sally Gwynne

As an active member of the Wesley History Society I take a great interest in the works of both John and Charles Wesley.

I also am the Publicity Officer for the Methodist Philatelic Society and I have a large collection of Methodistic stamp covers going back to 1970 (the year when the Methodist Philatelic Society first came into being).
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The Rev Charles Wesley (1707-1788) and Miss Sarah (Sally) Gwynne (1726-1822) were married at Llanlleconfel Church, Breconshire, South Wales (in the UK) on 8th April 1749.

In August 1748, Charles became friends with Marmaduke Gwynne of Garth, Breconshire and he was especially attracted towards one of Marmaduke’s nine children, his daughter, Sarah.

His first introduction to Marmaduke, a wealthy magistrate and early Methodist patron had been on July 31st 1745, when he and his brother John Wesley accompanied Marmaduke to examine the Bristol Society. And during the following five days in Bristol the three of them, together with others, held the second Methodist Conference.

Charles’s friendship with Sally quickly ripened into romance, hampered only by his unsettled life and lack of a guaranteed income. The problem with having no regular income was overcome when his brother John guaranteed him an income of £100 per year from the publication of Charles’s hymns.

Sally and Charles were married by John Wesley in Llanllconfel Church on April 8th 1749. John Wesley, in his journal, tersely writes, “I married my brother and Sally Gwynne. It was a solemn day, such as became the dignity of a Christian marriage.”

Charles, in his journal, writes more fully about his marriage. How he was up at four and, with John and Sally, spent three and a half hours in prayer before going to the church at eight.

Charles writes, “Mr Gwynne gave Sally to me (under God). My brother joined our hands. It was a most solemn season of love! Never had I more of the Divine presence at the sacrament. John prayed over us in strong faith. We walked back to the house, and joined again in prayer.”

Though it did not put an end to his itinerant life, marriage proved to be a source of great strength and comfort to Charles. He poured out his ardent devotion to Sally in a series of poems, some of which were later adapted for more public use.

One such still in use is the hymn, “Thou God of Truth and Love”, with its lines, “Didst Thou not make us one That might one remain.”

Soon after their marriage, Charles and Sally made their home in Bristol for the next twenty-one years until they moved to London in 1771.

They had eight children, of whom five died in infancy. The three who did survive were all very gifted. Their daughter Sally had wit and some literary talent, while her brothers Charles and Samuel were among the most eminent musicians of their day. And Samuel’s son, Samuel Sebastian Wesley, became an even more gifted musician.

Marriage of Sally Gwynne to Charles Wesley (1)

Have a blessed Saturday

Geoffrey

Thought for Today

True encounter with God is not an external experience. Certainly, as a new Christian my prayers were always that tragic situations might be reversed through the direct intervention of God. This rather turns God into a divine Batman, seeking to right wrongs and realising justice in human terms.

Every time God didn’t intervene I needed to build a rational case to continue to believe, despite my prayer remaining apparently unanswered. I was able to perform such mental gymnastics, yet each time I knew that it was less than satisfactory and at times I struggled to keep faith alive in my heart as it was in my head.

As I have embraced more fully a confidence in a life of prayer, and made such a life my practice, I find less need to guide God with the outcomes to my prayers. God had to refine my faith so that I was not believing in the power of my consistent prayer, but in the source of life to whom I directed my prayer.

Prayer becomes a waiting upon God. I might carry people and situations before him, yet I trust that God has all things in hand. It’s all too easy for God’s critics to deny his potency by what appears a lack of intervention.

Yet, perhaps humanity enjoys the same degree of freedom God entrusted to their care within the Garden of Eden. Choosing to live by God’s grace is no guarantee of protection from the ravages of life. However, it does offer a full encounter with the divine experienced through the medium of prayer.

We are part of a generation that joins our forebears, the communion of saints, in looking to God in faith, and celebrating the potency of love in a fractured world.

Nothing can or will separate us from God, even though what we see and experience might challenge that choice. We exercise the courage to believe from our hearts and not from our heads.

(Dr Micha Jazz)

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

My Walk With God – Rev Rick Ormrod

(Rick is a Methodist Minister of the Bramhope, Timble, Pool and Norwood Methodist Churches in the Wharfedale and Aireborough Methodist Circuit)

I’m one of those very fortunate people who was not only brought up as a Christian, but also brought up as a Methodist.

One if my earliest memories is of sitting with my mum in what then seemed to be the huge pews at Poulton Le Fylde Methodist Church and thinking what a nice man the Minister (not Presbyter in those days), Rev John Harris, was!

A second memory comes from around the time I was nine and the Minister, then Rev J. Gordon Sutcliffe, asked us all what we wanted to be when we grew up!  I decided I’d quite like to be a Minister because they only work one day a week, little knowing that was what I’d become!

My time in the Sunday School and Youth Group gave me a good grounding in the Bible, but I never really came to understand that Christianity was about a personal relationship with Jesus.

That changed aged 21 when I went with a church youth group to the Hollybush Christian Fellowship Youth Camp in the Yorkshire a Dales.  At the Saturday evening service the speaker was Roy Crowne and he spoke of the love of Jesus and of the personal relationship he wants us all to have with him.

When the altar call same I was one of the first to stand up!  John Wesley wrote that his heart was “strangely warmed”.  I felt more like my heart had been courteously dynamited with the love of Jesus and I gave my life to him!

Interestingly, prior to what I still think of as my “conversion experience”, I had already felt that God might be calling me to full time ordained ministry, but had pushed it to one side.  Interesting that God first called me before I gave my life to him.

After Hollybush I started to read Christian literature voraciously.  The books I was reading were largely from the evangelical end of the theological spectrum, books by God inspired men like David Watson, David Wilkerson and Michael Green.

Together with Bible study they helped to build the foundations of my Christian faith.

My marriage to Susan and the birth of our daughter Alice a few years later distracted me for a while from a growing conviction that God was calling me to become a Local Preacher in the Methodist Church.

I knew, in truth, that it was just the first step of a call to ordained ministry, and that was a step too far for me.  So, I busied myself with other church roles, becoming a Sunday School Teacher and Church Steward.

Eventually I came to realise that these were things I was doing to avoid God’s clear call on my life, and that if I really meant the words of the Covenant Prayer then I’d better stop denying God’s call on my life and, instead, embrace it.

I offered to go ‘on note’ as a Local Preacher and soon found myself ‘on trial’ and deep in the Faith & Worship course, which I loved because it opened me up to a much wider range of theological perspectives.

Very soon my Local Preacher Tutor was challenging me about a call to ordained ministry and after several confirmations from God I offered myself as a candidate for ore-ordination training and was accepted by the Methodist Church in 2010.

I was fortunate enough to experience two wonderful years theological training and formation at Wesley Study Centre in Durham where my theological knowledge and understanding expanded still further and where my walk with Jesus both deepened and broadened as it never had before.

I finished my two years with an absolute and complete conviction of the reality of Jesus Christ as fully human and fully divine and the understanding that no one branch of theology, whether it be conservative, evangelical, liberal or progressive, provides all the answers.

I have just come to the end of my period as a Probationer Presbyter in the Wharfedale & Aireborough Circuit.  It has been a period of my life that has been both challenging and exhilarating and that has confirmed for me that God has indeed called me to give the rest of my life as a Methodist Presbyter.

In my walk with Jesus I cannot imagine myself ever doing anything else.

On Sunday 29th June 2014 I was ordained at Coventry Central Hall as a Presbyter in God’s church.  The Holy Spirit came upon me in a very powerful way and, as a result, I’ll never be the same again.

Quite how I’ve changed I still need to discover!

Up until now my walk with Jesus has been largely, though not exclusively, about my journey to ordination.

I can’t wait to see where my walk with Jesus will take me now!

(Rev Rick Ormrod)

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

Taking The Blame

A T a monthly meeting called “Time for Tea”, members were asked to bring a story about their childhood, that might be of interest to others.

After a few moments’ thought, I remember the following which I had never been able to understand:

When I was at junior school, I was very shy and withdrawn, and always afraid of doing wrong. One day I was standing by the front gate of our house, watching another girl of about the same age chalking on the side of a house some distance away.

I knew she didn’t attend the same school as I, or live in that home, and I thought how naughty she was. Just then, the Headmistress of the school I attended walked past. She didn’t say anything, but the next day she sent for me and gave me a lecture about other people’s property; she told me to take a mop and bucket, and go and wash the chalk from the side of the house.

I was terrified, and as I followed her instructions was really concerned that my mother would come out and see what I was doing. Finishing the task and returning to the school that was down the road from where I lived, I found that the punishment was not yet over.

The Headmistress kept a long mirror in her room, and I was told to stand in front of it and look at myself and think about my wrongdoing. This is what I could never understand. Was it wrong to watch someone else doing wrong?

As I relived those memories, I saw that what happened to me related to the Lord Jesus, though in His case in a much deeper and meaningful way: He took my punishment on the Cross, although He did no wrong.

My responsibility is to pray about the wrong I see in the world, and for those who need to find the Lord. “To the Lord your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it.

(Elizabeth Bruce)

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

 

Mr Beans

The children called me “Mr. Beans” after I told them this story:

ON THE FARM where I lived as a child in Minnesota, we had to work whether we wanted to or not.

One morning in the spring-time on a day just right for fishing, my mother came to me with a pan of bean seeds and said: “Oscar, take these and plant them in the garden today. Put them in straight rows a few inches apart and cover each bean with dirt. Plant them all. Understand?”

I said “Yes.”

Planting beans is no fun. In fact, it’s a back-breaking job. Stoop down—get up. Stoop down—get up. On and on it goes. Who could enjoy that? And it was extra hard on me, because my mind was really down at the lake where fish were biting. But there was no way I could get out of it.

So I worked, daydreaming all the while about other things. Body in the garden—heart at the lake. Then, all at once, it happened. I accidentally stepped on the edge of the pan. FLIP! Over it went. Beans scattered everywhere.

What a mess! Now all I could see was more work than ever. But suddenly I got a bright idea: “There’s no need to pick up the spilled beans,” I thought. “I’ll just cover them up and no one will ever know the difference. And besides, that will end the job.”

So I did, and headed for the house with my rake and hoe and empty pan. Mother met me at the door and said: “Done already? Did you do a good job?” I said “Yes.” Then she let me go fishing.

But I knew in my heart that I had told a lie. All went well for a few days. Then something happened: the beans began to grow and came up through the dirt.

I mean ALL OF THEM—not only the ones I had planted in neat rows; but also the ones I had spilled. Now my story about doing a “good job” was ruined! And mother could see what had happened.

She understood it all. Because she loved me very much it was necessary for her to punish me for lying about the “good job” I didn’t do.

The Bible says: “BE SURE YOUR SIN WILL FIND YOU OUT.” (Numbers 32:23)

We can’t hide anything from God. He knows all about the things we have tried to cover up.

I tell you this story, dear friend, because I also want to tell you another story: the story of Jesus. It’s more important.

He is the Son of God who came from heaven to do great things for you and for me. He knew all about our sins.

He died for us on the cross to take the punishment we deserve. He wants us to accept Him as our Saviour.

He forgives us when we believe on Him. “CHRIST JESUS CAME INTO THE WORLD TO SAVE SINNERS.” (1 Timothy 1:15) “THE BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST, HIS SON, CLEANSETH US FROM ALL SIN.” (1 John 1:7)

Pray to the Lord Jesus Christ right now. Tell Him that you are a sinner but that you want Him to take your sins away. He will do it. I accepted Him as my own personal Saviour when I was a child.

Now I have lived a long life and have learned to know Him better and to love Him. He has never disappointed me, and never will. I want you to know Him, too.

Sincerely, your friend, OSCAR F. MYERS (“Mr. Beans”)

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What a marvellously thought provoking true story!

Always know that your sins will always be discovered. Our Father God always knows when you have transgressed His laws, even though you may be able to hide your deceit and untruthfulness from those around you.

When I was very ill in January 2013 and on the point of death I repented of all my past sins and asked God for His forgiveness and He saved me.

Praise be the Lord

God Bless

Geoffrey (an ex-sinner)

Have You Thought About Your Soul?

Have you ever stopped to wonder
What this life is all about?
Why you’re here and where you’re going
When your lease on time runs out?

Maybe you’ve been far too busy,
Trying hard to reach your goal;
Would you let me ask you kindly,
Have you thought about your soul?

You may reach the highest portals,
And your dreams may all come true;
Wealth and fame may be your portion,
And success may shine on you.

All your friends may sing your praises,
Not a care on you may roll;
What about the great tomorrow—
Have you thought about your soul?

Don’t forget your days are numbered,
Though you may be riding high;
But like all of us poor mortals,
Someday you’ll just up and die.

Your success and fame and glory
Won’t be worth the bell they toll;
Let me ask you just one question,
Have you thought about your soul?

If you’ve never thought it over,
Spend a little time today;
There is nothing more important
That will ever come your way:

Than the joys of sins forgiven,
And to know you’ve been made whole;
In the name of Christ the Saviour,
Have you thought about your soul?

(I love this thought provoking poem
which has been written by our old friend ‘Anonymous’)

With many beautiful blessings on this wondrous Sabbath Day

Geoffrey