Saturday, 18 June 2011


The Puritans used catechisms, creeds, and confessions to disciple their flocks.  A catechism is the process of instructing believers both young and old in the basics of the Christian faith.  The Greek word for "instruct" or "teach" is katecheo from which we get our English word "catechize."


Catechisms provide basic summaries of the church’s teachings to ensure that all members of the church understand the essentials of the faith for themselves. Most catechisms generally have questions and answers accompanied by biblical support and explanations.


The Puritans developed their own catechisms, including theWestminster Catechisms in the 1640s. Written to provide children, new believers, and church members alike a short but comprehensive summary of the Reformed church’s doctrines, theWestminster Catechisms are the most important and influential of all the Reformed catechisms.

Helpful Catechism Resources


Have any good ideas on how we can use catechisms in the church today?

Let me know in the comments section.


Monday, 13 June 2011

Cynical? Me?

Last week Cosmo's daddy was tucking him up in bed and during their chat Cosmo asked Jesus to be his friend. His dad was very pleased with this, but I was pretty cynical. The fact is, I don't think a three year old understands what he is saying when he says something like this. I think what he means is 'right now that sounds cool' rather than 'I want to dedicate my life to God'.


Turns out I might be wrong.


A few days later, it was Sunday and time to go to church.  We've had a little trouble recently, because there is a boy in children's church who doesn't get on with Cosmo. I'm told that Cosmo didn't start it, but I'm not dumb enough to think that he is completely innocent either. I've walked in to see him kicking that boy.


Over breakfast though, Cosmo suddenly announces that today, at church, he is going to forgive his nemesis. Really? I think, but out loud I say 'what a great idea'.

'Yes', he continues 'because God and Jesus have forgiven me and I am going to forgive him'.  Cue my jaw hitting the floor. Maybe he really does get it...

'And then I can ask him if he wants to be Jesus' friend too!' Now I really am wandering if this is all some elaborate dream, but I hold back on my excitement and think it is probably best to reserve judgement until after church and see how they manage 90 minutes in a confined space together.


I needn't have.


When we went to get him from children's work the leaders were all gushing about how wonderful he had been. Further questioning has revealed that his nemesis did not want Jesus to be his friend :0( but that despite having been spat on and told that he was hated, Cosmo did not retaliate and continued to forgive. In fact, by the end of the session his nemesis seemed to have forgotten all about their feud and was willing to sit next to him during the story time.


Wow. I am completely floored. I really have nothing else to say, but Wow.


Thursday, 9 June 2011

Happy Shavuot!


Yes I know this post is late, I was hoping to run it in the week running up to shavout so that you could enjoy the celebration too, even if you've never heard of it, but I forgot. Sorry about that, but you could always enjoy it next year?

Shavout is a time when the Jewish people celebrate the giving of the Torah. It is also the date of the birth of the church and the time when the first christians recieved the Holy Spirit. What gifts! The Word of God, followed by the Spirit of God. It really is a time to be celebrated.

Obviously you are welcome to celebrate in anyway you choose, but I thought I'd share how our family celebrates to give you some ideas.

Firstly I plan a special meal. It's traditional to eat plenty of dairy as milk is all the nutrition a new born needs. Likewise, we are God's children, and his word contains all we need.

Therefore, putting aside all malice and all guile and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.

1 Peter 2:1-3

We always eat tagliatelle with cream cheese and chive melted over it, tossed with chopped mixed peppers. I know it sounds boring to eat the same thing every year, but it's only once a year, not every week, and it means I don't have to think about shopping/cooking too much. No-one complains about having roast turkey again at christmas, right?

We also try to serve lots of sweet things, a strawberry and lime smoothie with plenty of honey always goes down well (blend a punnet of strawberries with the juice of a lime, two cups of water and add honey to taste).

How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

Psalm 119:103

It's traditional for Jewish families to read the book of Ruth on Shavout. I love this, because I bet they have no idea why. I'm told it's because it's a story about lovingkindness. I'm not really sure what that has to do with the festival, but I do know something else; Ruth's story is a story of a gentile bride being redeemed and counted as God's people. It's a beautiful love story, but more importantly a picture of Christ and the church. There's a great study on this here. What story is more fitting to celebrate the day that God gave His Spirit to His gentile bride, the church?

The final tradition is to read each other stories from the bible for as long as we can stay awake. Staying up all night reading God's Word is a rare and beautiful time to spend with family. This is where homeschooling comes into it's own, because we all get to have a lie in the next day!

It was so precious to hear Will helping Matt tell the story of the 'ten rules' that Moses was given (another great passage to read on this night). It's also worth having plenty of snacks ready for your late night to sustain everybody. Cheesecake is a good option (more dairy) as is ice cream and anything else sweet. I found candy letters this year. Great for spelling out 'sweet words'.

So if you don't already celebrate Shavout, think about it. It really is one of my favourite biblical feasts.