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Thoughts and informers from Westchurch people and some others too. These are unlikely to convey the beliefs of all our people. Please feel free to comment or blog - it really is easy.

29 March 2015

Lost by straying away

The following is an interpretations of parable of Jesus about the lost sheep.
Jesus almost certainly told the parables in greater colour and detail than the recorded versions in the Gospels. So shall I.
We do not hold these out as the "correct" interpretation. They are my reaction to the story written in the Scriptures.

Lost by straying away

"Baa-aaah. A frightened cry unheard.
One of a hundred has
Strayed away.
The grass is greener over here it thought
This way, that way, a dozen wrong turns
Not deliberate rejection and rebellion
Just strayed away
Seduced by short-term gain
Now the sheep has lost the Shepherd
Now it doesn't know the way home
Now the flock had gone.
Alone, afraid, helpless
Strayed into the Darkness of Death's Valley?
Ruled by wolves, exposed as prey for the lion  
As good as dead.
If only it could find the shepherd
Where could that silly sheep be,
The Good Shepherd counts again,
"Fluffy", "spotty", "nimble", ...
ninety eight, ninety nine,
"Black-ears" was not there.
I can't leave Blacks-ears exposed to the wolves.
Every sheep is precious
He knows them all by name
He leaves behind the 99
He takes his crook, coat and light
Out into the night
Risking, his life for a wandering sheep
He searches diligently
"I must find Black-ears before the wolves do.
The sound of a frightened sheep.
His precious sheep,
He takes it on his shoulders
Safe from the wolves
No longer lost, No longer dead
They all celebrate the one lost sheep
that was lost and is found
Every sheep is precious
Lost by neglect
Lost by ignorance
Lost by straying
Lost by losing touch with the Shepherd
Lost and don't know the way home
Prey of the wolves
The wolves of evil, oppression, greed, self-indulgence
That devour the soul.
How we have strayed,
A little here, a little there
Then one day we find ourselves,
Lost, Afraid, helpless, alone
Not knowing the way home
Waiting for the day when our messed-up lives
Are lost and devoured by the wolves
Or found by Shepherd and taken home
[John George]

WestHope CAP Debt Management Centre

Starting in March 2015, Westchurch is partnering in new joint venture with Hope Presbyterian to develop a "WestHope CAP Debt Management Centre" to serve West Christchurch. This joint centre will be managed by Te Whare Awhero (Hope House), in nearby Hornby, and affiliated with Christians Against Poverty (CAP).

CAP was founded by John Kirkby in 1996, and is now the leading debt management organisation in the United Kingdom. CAP's holistic debt counselling service is run in partnership with hundreds of churches throughout the UK, and provides the best debt help service to those with the very least. It has been operating in Australia since 2000, and in Canada since 2013.

CAP has operated in New Zealand since 2007, and around 40 churches now partner with CAP to provide holistic debt help, and hundreds more run the CAP Money Course, giving thousands of Kiwi families access to free services and the love of the local church.

Our joint WestHope centre is the first in Christchurch, a city where a series of devastating earthquakes has left many people, struggling with unexpected financial burdens, and many churches less able to help as they deal with major problems of their own.

If you live in West Christchurch and want help managing your own debt situation, or know someone in that area who does, we encourage you to consider the free professional debt management service offered by CAP. These are described at http://www.capnz.org/in+debt/CAP+Debt+Help.html.

Basically, if a person facing difficulties with debt repayment calls the toll-free CAP helpline 0508 227 111, CAP will assess the situation and, if we can help, set up an appointment with one of our friendly local Centre Managers, Jo or Roberta.

In addition to the debt management service offered through the joint centre, Westchurch is also pleased to offer the CAP Money Course. This course will be helpful to those struggling with debt, but is really aimed at anyone who wants to sort out their own personal finances, and develop a lifestyle that keeps expenses under control, within their income. Participants attend a short series of DVD-based discussion sessions, and get ongoing access to a web-based budget management tool. You may want to discuss aspects of your situation, but there is no pressure to do so, and your personal information is entirely private to you. For more details see http://www.capnz.org/in+debt/CAP+Money+Course.html.

If you would like to participate in such a course at Westchurch, please register your interest on the CAP website, or contact Grant Read at grantread1@gmail.com.

To learn more about CAP in New Zealand see http://www.capnz.org/.