Just back from a great two days with Urban expression in Birmingham. On Friday the chairs of steering groups and regional co-ordinators met for a catch up and to share ideas and concerns. On Saturday, associates, team members, mission partners and others met to reflect, to hear stories and catch up with one another. We were well looked after by the good people at BMS' International Mission Centre in selly Oak.
I was doing the main plenary session on Saturday morning and I think I was a tad ambitious in what I thought we could cover, so the final section was a bit rushed. However, I think I stimulated some thought and I certainly had some good feedback afterwards.
This morning, I am visiting a local church to deliver a lecture and do and a question and answer session on the social history of the New Testament (the stuff in my book basically, three months ahead of publication). I'm a little uncertain how this will go, but the minister's keen for it to happen, so we'll see....
Today is the first Sunday in advent. We begin to reflect on our hope in a world where hope for many seems in short supply. One of the things I was impressed by yesterday in hearing some of the stories of UE teams around the UK was that lots of small-scale hopeful things are happening in some very challenging communities.
I guess something we can all do in advent is to ask God to open our eyes to see what he is doing in quiet ways in and through faithful communities of his followers, little signs that he is on the case, that the good news of his coming to save his people is rippling out, bringing hope and a fresh start.
Remember to go over to look at hopeful imagination which has started posting advent thoughts this morning. Lots of bloggers will be sharing reflections through this season (including me).