Tag Archives: God

Sensing the Spirit of God

God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone
but also on trees and in the flowers and clouds and stars
.’

Martin Luther

oakwood brook

We are made in the image of God.
Made to be in relationship with God.
Made with five distinct ways of sensing the Spirit of God.

1. Vision

Our eyes see everything and yet often they see nothing.
Slow down and stop; allow your eyes to really see.
Under your feet,
Above your head.
What do you see?
How many individual pieces of natures jigsaw can you count?
Which stands out for you?
Which takes your breath away?
Is that God showing Himself to you?

 

2. Hearing

Before we recognise anything else we hear the voice of our mothers.
If you stop quietly now what can you hear?
Voices?  Cars?  Trains?  Music?

Beyond the sounds what else can you hear?
Your own thoughts?
Your worries, to-do list?
Can you move them aside?

There you find God.
Can you hear Him?
In the distant bird song?
In the rustle of the trees?
In the movement of the lake?

 

3. Touch

Turn to face the wind.
Can you feel it on your face?  On your hands?
Is it warm or cold; fierce or gentle?

Now take your hands and pick up a leaf, stone or branch.
Close your eyes and let your fingers feel nature.
Is it smooth or rough?  Old or new?  Alive or dead?

Turn to someone else and hold hands.
How does this feel?  Awkward or easy?
What do these hands tell you about the person?
What does this tell you about God?
And what do your hands tell someone else?

 

4. Taste

Does anything taste as good as cold water on a hot day?
Perhaps hot tea on a cold winters day?
How about blackberries fresh from the bush?
Or carrots straight from the ground?

When did you last taste something that took your breath away?
We have lost connection between our food and our plate.
Where did your lunch come from?
How good did it taste?
Did it damage the world we live in?
Did it taste good enough for the damage it did?

 

5. Smell

Finally turn your attention to your nose.
Your nose can smell more than 1 trillion different smells!
How many can you smell right now?

As you walk in a spiral away from the base try and identify the odours on the air.
How many are man made?
How many come from the natural world?
Which do you like?  Which do you not?

The sense of smell is most closely linked to memory.
Is there a smell which reminds you of someone in your past?
Or a meal?  Or some other event?

Is there a smell which reminds you of God?
Perhaps a smell from a church?
or from a family meal?
or from nature?
How does it feel to sense God with you again through that memory?

 

God is not a being in the distance.
He is not the creator who abandoned us long ago.
God is alive and with us in The Holy Spirit.
We can See Him
Taste Him
Touch Him
Hear Him
Smell Him if we only stop and look and wait and let ourselves find Him.
Today, tomorrow, any day, every day.

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Oakwood Forest Church Walks Creation

In January Oakwood Forest Church walked, explored and prayed about creation.  These are the introduction and readings which we shared along the way.

Introduction
Today we will walk the creation story. Creation is described in the first book of the Bible, Genesis. This story was written over 4000 years ago, when no one understood how the world was made or how it works. Within the story there are many truths for us to understand and many questions we need to think about. We will walk seven bases; one for each day of the creation story and think about what each phase of creation was like for God, for the world and for those being created.

Base One
On the first day God created light and separated the light from the darkness, calling light “day” and darkness “night.” God saw the light and the dark and said “it is good”.

Base Two
On the second day God created a huge space to separate the waters and called it “sky.” God saw the sky and said “it is good”.

Base Three
On the third day God created the dry ground and gathered the waters, calling the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters “seas.” He put plants and trees on the land. God saw the land and the sea and said “it is good”.

Base Four
On the fourth day God created the sun, moon, and the stars to give light to the earth and to separate the day and the night. God saw the sun, moon and stars and said “it is good”.

Base Five
On the fifth day God created every living creature of the seas and every winged bird of the sky, telling them to fill the waters and the sky with life. God saw the birds and the fish and said “it is good”.

Base Six
On the sixth day God created the animals to fill the earth. The small ones like the ants, the medium ones like the dogs and the large ones like the elephants. God then created man and woman (Adam and Eve) in his own image. God told the men and women to care for the earth. God saw the animals and the men and women and said “it is VERY good”.

Base Seven
On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation and so he rested, blessing it and making it holy.

 

During the walk we battled the elements of flooded lake water, raised water table and unbelievable amounts of mud; but none of it put us off.  We collected items we found to create our own symbols of worship including crosses, posies and hearts.  We planted seeds in tiny pots using some of the surplus mud; the seedlings are emerging as we type.  And we prayed together asking God to help us care for His creation as best we can.

Image

We will meet again on Saturday 15th February 2015 at 3pm to walk, explore and pray about love.

Oakwood Forest Church in the press again

if you kneel down in the woods today

Oakwood Forest Church has been given a fantastic write up by Vivienne Robinson in the January 2014 edition of Xn magazine.  I urge you to pick up a copy at any church in the Thames Valley or look at the edition online by clicking the link http://issuu.com/xnmedia/docs/xn-jan14/11?e=3970667/6255876

Walking the Nativity

Picture the scene:  a cold, bright winters day inviting the family out for a walk to explore the nativity.  Yes; that really was what I imagined the weather would be like on Saturday 21st December 2013 which just goes to prove that I did not miss my calling to be a weather forecaster.

In reality the day was the second or third wet day in a row and cold to boot.  I had sent out reassuring messages in email, text and on facebook that Oakwood Forest Church was not weather dependant and arrived with little expectation of any turn out at all.  What a doubting Thomas I am.  Five hardy families and a couple of well dressed adults came along ready to Walk the Nativity despite the wind and rain.

ofc walking nativity handout

As we walked alongside the fast moving Loddon Brook we stopped six times to meet the characters, hear the nativity story, explore the meaning and share the joy of Jesus’ birth.  We sang Away in a Manger to the surprise of the dog walkers and hung our handmade biodegradable christmas decorations on the ancient Gemini Oak before praying together for the truth of Christmas to be heard far and wide and the love of God to be felt in every home.

walk the nativity photos 211213

We meet again on Saturday 18th January 2014 at 3pm.

Walking, exploring & praying together

oakwood forest church image

In him was life,
and the life was the light of all people.
And the light shines in the darkness,
but the darkness has not overcome it.
( John 1:5)

Oakwood Forest Church is:
–       A fresh expression of church
–       Non-denominational
–       Open to everyone
–       Christ Centered
–       Part of a national network of forest churches

 

We walk, we explore and we pray together.
We are a group of people gathering to meet God and journey with Him.
We are church.