Living in a Field of Hats

some ramblings and reflections on working with students in Herts and Beds.

What is faith? January 8, 2010

Filed under: Church — Sarah @ 3:57 pm
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Have spent today looking for illustrations of faith for Girls Brigade Parade on Sunday where we’re looking at Hebrews 11. Was using my old trusty friend google and came across this from Piper which I thought was really helpful

Your daddy is standing in a swimming pool out a little bit from the edge. You are, let’s say, three years old and standing on the edge of the pool. Daddy holds out his arms to you and says, “Jump, I’ll catch you. I promise.” Now, how do you make your daddy look good at that moment? Answer: trust him and jump. Have faith in him and jump. That makes him look strong and wise and loving. But if you won’t jump, if you shake your head and run away from the edge, you make your daddy look bad. It looks like you are saying, “he can’t catch me” or “he won’t catch me” or “it’s not a good idea to do what he tells me to do.” And all three of those make your dad look bad.

But you don’t want to make God look bad. So you trust him. Then you make him look good–which he really is. And that is what we mean when we say, “Faith glorifies God” or “Faith gives God glory.” It makes him look as good as he really is. So trusting God is really important.

What a great illustration, especially to explain faith to children!


Two Months On October 20, 2008

Filed under: Random,Update — Sarah @ 11:43 am
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 Two months is now up! Madness! Thought I’d list all the things I’ve done (well that I can remember!)
  • i’ve driven 300 miles to Southend
  • i’ve taken 12 girls to Chessington
  • i’ve led a sunday evening bible study for the first time
  • i’ve met the Mayor of Southend (twice!)
  • i’ve been mistaken for Stephen’s wife (just the once!)
  • i’ve relearnt to play the clarinet
  • i’ve learnt who Robert Peston is
  • i’ve watched things on youtube more that I ever have before!
  • i’ve played the clarinet in church (twice to date)
  • i’ve scrubbed out a baptistry (just once)
  • i’ve still not cried
  • i’ve got addicted to Arrested Development
  • i’ve taken a ridiculous amount of photos
  •  Sarah and Phils Weddingi’ve been to one wedding




  • i’ve learnt that church work is very different to student work
  • i’ve given a talk at Womens Fellowship
  • i’ve bought an Oyster Card
  • i’ve been to London (once)
  • i’ve gained a housemate
  • i’ve made some really good friends in my church family
  • i’ve learnt that Southend High Street has duplicates of most things
  • i’ve learnt that the longest pleasure pier in the world is the most boring
  • i’ve talked a lot about Graines Power Station
  • i’ve realised that church work shows you so much more of the pain that there is in living in this world and is really heartbreaking
  • i’ve retaught myself to play the piano (only to grade one so far)
  • i’ve started reading the Bible with Sarah and had the joy of seeing her being baptised
  • i’ve started to get to know mums at mums and tots
  • i’ve experienced a ‘Shelia buffet’
  • i’ve ‘prettified’ the office
  • i’ve had an ‘Alice and June’ cooked breakfast
  • i’ve felt homesick
  • i’ve had a flooded bathroom
  • i’ve taught 11+ sunday school for the first time (three times to date)
  • i’ve led Explorers devotions at Girls Brigade
  • i’ve planned, written and given Junior Devotions at Girls Brigade within an hour!
  • i’ve done Senior devotions at Girls Brigade
  • i’ve spoken to nearly every church leader in Southend trying to get a full list of churches in Southend
  • i’ve been knee deep in mud in Shropshire
  • i’ve met John Piper
  • i’ve scrubbed a cafe floor
  • i’ve avoided doing a single notice sheet for sundays
  • i’ve survived two deacons meetings (and started a new tradition of being taken to the Exhibition by Maureen and Robin afterwards)
  • i’ve watched a French Film (actually in French!)
  • i’ve convinced the Jo(h)n’s (Delves & Dray) to watch High School Musical 3
  • i’ve played bingo
  • i’ve decided I never want to have children (after the Chessington adventure)
  • i’ve fallen in love with most of the babies at mums and tots
  • i’ve lost at ping pong to everyone!
  • i’ve won a couple of games of pool (by default!)
  • i’ve been to ‘Ye Olde Smack’
  • i’ve written two prayer letters (actually one a month! amazing!)
  • i’ve discovered the south is cold
  • i’ve nearly booked flights to Norway for £2
  • i’ve been to Harrods
  • i’ve ‘borrowed’ & cleaned a filter coffee maker and milk frother
  • i’ve had my first ‘Northern’ visitor
  • i’ve been ill
  • i’ve applied for a Masters
  • i’ve been to Oak Hill
  • i’ve drunk a lot of tea
  • i’ve learnt there’s very little chance of getting any work done before 11am most days
  • i’ve settled in

Did not think that the list was going to be that long and there’s going to be things that I have missed! And I don’t think that there is any way that I would have guessed that most of these things would ever happen! It’s been a mixture of ups and downs and just plain random but it’s definetly home now. Here’s to the next random two months!!


Battling Unbelief October 6, 2008

Filed under: Christian Life — Sarah @ 2:16 pm
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As a thank you for being a volunteer cook at Forum, I was given four new books from IVP, which was very exciting. Picked up one of them last night because of the title alone! ‘Battling Unbelief’ by John Piper. Before someone reads too much into this and thinks I’m doubting my faith – be reassured that that’s not the case, but actually there are times when I, like everyone else (I’m guessing!) do feel like ‘but can it be true’ and it just seems ludicrous.

And, I kinda thought I knew what the book would tell me but the first couple of chapters showed me I was quite wrong! I was expecting it to be along the lines of there’s so much proof, we can be assured that the gospel’s true and that it would be a really reassuring book in that sense. But, it’s another book on grace which obviously in itself is amazingly reassuring. Dealing with future grace and past grace and the fact that it is that, that we so often don’t believe in. And it’s so true. Whenever I have doubts most of them are to do with can God’s promises really be trusted. Grace really is something that I am never going to be able to have a proper grip on – it does always seem to just slip away.

Also, the book starts with the reminder that “No one sins out of duty. We sin because it offers some promise of happiness” and that the lie is only broken when we realise that God is the one that is more desirable. This wasn’t the only thing that I wasn’t expecting in the early chapters as John Piper (AKA Pipes) starts to deal with the things that cause us to disbelieve the promises of God. The first one is anxiety which I thought was really strange. He talks about it in a non Medically defined condition way, in terms of when we constantly worry about things. It is being anxious that so often leads us to sin as we doubt in God’s promise in some way. This link is something I’ve never ever realised before. So found this really new and shocking. I’m probably fairly well known for being a bit of worry wart especially when it comes to making decisions and so the thought that worrying is causing me to doubt in God’s promises is well…shocking.

Pipes backs a lot of this up from Matthew 6, which strangely enough I found myself quoting to someone else in the last week who was doing nothing but worry about things! I knew worrying was pointless which is what I was saying from Matthew 6 to my friend, but Pipes takes it one step further by making the link with that doubt or unbelief in God’s future grace and promises, or in some cases past grace. Really challenging to as he encourages us to “sever the clinging roots of sin that ensnare us”. This is only the first chapter as well!