Real Life Stories
(In alphabetical order) Marvel Studios Ulster Rugby Universal Studios Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures UK Warner Bros
Peter Bell Sara Bell Design:
JAM Magazine Contributors:
(In alphabetical order) Peter Bell Sara Bell Brightline Marcell Coetzee Tom Elliott Gary Dan Wheatley & the group from Sharston
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Real Lif e Storie s Intervie ws Films And mo re.....
ies Real Life Stor s w Intervie Films . And more....
Real Life Stories Intervie ws Films And mo re..... Issue 46.ind
16:05:28 Issue 45.indd
Answers to page 4 & 5 1: Washington, 2: Disneyland, 3: Niagra Falls, 4: London, 5: New York, 6: Moscow, 7: Egypt, 8: Sydney, 9: Paris, 10: Dubai, 11: Rio, 12: Venice, 13: Athens
04. Night LIGHT
Can you guess the places?
06. Loving the SunLIGHT
Marcell Coetzee tells his story
14. LIGHT Saber
16. LIGHT Bulb Moment
25. In the SpotLIGHT
What is your favourite film?
Have you understood?
God loves you!
10. Avengers Infinity War
The Battle between LIGHT & Dark
12. Traffic LIGHTS Quiz
17. Staggering Through the Dark 22. Mama Mia Here We Go Again Interview with Brightline
LIGHT at the end of the Tunnel
27. LIGHT Up
God is looking for you!
Ha Ha 33. Don’t Make LIGHT of It! Be Careful what you say!
34. Oceans 8 - LIGHT Fingered Using your talents...
39. Don’t be Afraid of the Dark No need to fear!
36. Dark and LIGHT Some Quotes!
40. Your Word is a LIGHT To my Path The Bible has some good advice!
38. LIGHT Hearted
42. Incredibles 2
The SpotLIGHT’s on you!
It can be difficult to see at night and for some children the dark can be very scary. They need a night light to go to sleep because they are afraid of the dark. Things can look very different in the dark and as children or even grown ups we can imagine all sorts of things that might scare us that we wouldn’t think about if it was light. The whole monster under the bed type scenario can worry and concern us. But it is not just a night time issue, it can be real life that causes us concern. Often we can be scared or frightened by stuff we don’t understand or can’t control and having a night light doesn’t solve the problem. In the Bible God promises that he is always with us. Joshua 1 v 9 says ‘Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.’ We might not always understand our situation or circumstances but God loves us and is with us through them if we trust him. So next time you are unsure or scared why not ask God to help you rather than dealing with it on your own....
Can you tell where these places are even though the pictures have been taken in the dark? Answers on page 2.
Loving the Sunlight
Photo Credits: Ulster Rugby
As a youngster, growing up in South Africa, Marcell Coetzee had the opportunity to spend a lot of time in the sunshine and experience the joy of playing rugby for his national team, the Springboks. However there have been times when the sun hasnâ€™t been shining and life has been tough, especially in the last couple of years which have been marked by injury. Yet Marcell is still trusting God to lead him through life whether he is enjoying the sunlight or enduring the rain. We asked him about his life, faith and sport.... Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
What were you like as a kid?
I am from South Africa. I was born in Potchefstroom but lived most of my life in KwaZulu Natal region near Durban. I grew up on a sugar plantation farm as a middle child, having an older brother and a younger sister. The fabulous weather allows you to be outside a lot and I spent most of my time in the open. My parents gave us plenty of attention and love so it was a very happy environment. I went to boarding school when I was 11 and then went to the Sharks rugby academy from there. I got to play for the Springboks and now I am in Ulster where I have to say the weather is somewhat different!
I enjoyed playing rugby with my brother, fishing, nature, the outdoor life in general! These things were certainly better than school where I was out of my comfort zone. I went to a primary school that was quite a long drive from where we lived and I was quite quiet back in those days. I just did what I needed to do and looked forward to getting back to the farm and security. When I went to high school things started to change as I was a boarder. It was a big transition for me and it was there that my faith started to make more sense. We had always gone to church with my parents so I knew about God but I didn't know him.
Can you tell us a bit more about boarding school? To start with I found it very difficult because I was away from my friends and family and learning to live with other kids who had real problems. I learnt that not everyone has parents who give them love and attention and I found myself in quite a dark place. Going through adolescence isn’t easy especially when you aren’t feeling secure. Trying to be popular and finding your boundaries is tough when you aren’t at home. Church had always been a big part of my life but I viewed God as someone to be obeyed and who was looking to punish my misdemeanours! But at high school lots of people from different churches visited us and they talked about a relationship with God and Jesus. It seemed strange to me that God would actually be interested in my problems and pain as well as my joys. That was a fantastic revelation to me and I began to realise that God was with me and wanted to help me and that he had a plan for me. God is there to help you learn from your mistakes, to pick you up and set you back on the right path.
Did you always want to be a rugby player? From an early age God planted that seed in my life. I loved watching rugby with my dad and playing
against my brother. The thrill and adrenalin hit me early in life and our weekends would revolve around watching rugby, especially The Sharks and The Springboks. I excelled at primary school, where being bigger than the others is a real advantage! At high school people caught up a bit so it wasn’t quite as easy. I knew that God had given me talent but I needed to work too. I struggled with confidence for the first few years of high school but by the time I was 16 I was growing into my body and the confidence came! I found confidence in God and myself as I worked hard and felt God’s guidance as he opened doors for me!
What was it like playing for the Springboks? I was very fortunate to have a small bursary to go to the Sharks Academy near where I lived. But that didn’t cover everything so my family took a loan out for me. They did this even though at the time I didn’t play for the local team or Province at under 18 level. At the Academy I met all sorts of people which was quite intimidating as many of the others had already played at a much higher level. But I remember a sports psychologist coming and talking to us and he said that out of the 100 or so of us only one would make it. Contd overleaf
He asked what it was that would make us different. I thought the odds weren’t looking good but I knew I had God on my side and felt he had brought me there for a reason so that was my motivation. And it turned out that I was first to represent my Province at 19 and to play for the Springboks. It wasn’t easy but God helped me to keep going!!
Can you tell us how you ended up in Ulster? I really enjoyed the international stage and playing for the Springboks was my biggest achievement, apart of course from marrying my wife! It was a very special time in my life and I was very unhappy not to make the World Cup squad due to an injury. I did get to play in Japan and I decided that you only have a limited time frame to play at a high level so why not make the most of the opportunity and travel. The Sharks have links with Ulster and they approached me with an offer so I came over. They have a lot to offer although I was not sure about the weather! I’ve not had the game time that I would have liked but it has still been great. Obviously I would have preferred not be injured but we are enjoying life here.
What is the latest on the injury front? It has really been a test for me coming to a new place and culture. I wanted to play my best but my time here has been hampered by injury. I arrived with an injury but did 5 months of rehab and played 5 games but then boom, I was injured again. There was 4 months of rehab and then at the start of the season I got another injury. When it happened the third time I was devastated and to be honest I was angry with God. I couldn’t understand why he had brought me here if I wasn’t able to play! But I have learnt a lot about trusting God and following him even when things look bleak and we don’t understand what is happening. It can be easy to follow when things are going well but it takes faith and trust when they aren’t. Six months down the line I am able to see that God has been working and changing me as a person. He was there to pick me up and help me develop patience and mental strength. It was a wake up call for me not to make sport an idol but to choose God above everything. I have only played 5 games in two years but I have inner peace and I’m leaving it to God. I have been grateful for the full support of my family and team too.
Photo Credits: Ulster Rugby
Do you have any favourite bible verses that keep you going when things are tough? So many that spring to mind because I have had to train my mind to face negativity and temptations but even at high school Isaiah 40 v 30 & 31 are verses that have really helped me.
“Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” When I’m fed up this springs to mind and I know I can trust God and his strength to see me through. It has really helped me over the years on good and bad days.
Any final comments? Being a Christian isn’t always easy and it is a big commitment. I’m not an angel and I don’t always get it right but I know that I am forgiven. We all make mistakes but God wants to forgive us and help us grow to be more like Jesus. When we take that step we find that God is there just waiting to show us his love and help us through life! So why not give it a go...?
Photo Credits: Ulster Rugby
‘Avengers: Infinity War’ sees the Avengers and their Super Hero allies come together against Thanos and his army as he tries to collect all six infinity stones which will bring him ultimate power. His rampage of devastation must be ended, but can they succeed? ‘Vision’ has one of the stones embedded in his head and he has been taken to Wakanda, the home of the Black Panther for protection and it is from here that the Avengers will make their stand to save the universe!
Photo Credits: Marvel Studios and Walt Disney Studio Motion Pictures
The Battle between Light and Darkness... The Bible talks about a battle between light and darkness, good and evil, between God and Satan. It can be easy to dismiss this as just a story which, like so many films, portrays good triumphing over bad. But what if it is true? What if there is a real battle for each of us? Do you know that God is on your side? Do you know that he has already won the battle? That is why Jesus came to die. He came to win the battle so that everyone who accepts him can know they are on the winning side. We might face difficulties and battles but if you are a Christian God is fighting for you, you are not alone.
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Traffic Lights...? In life there are people who live life to the full and those who hang back and let life pass them by. As I look back at my life there are definitely occasions when I would have done things differently if I had the chance again. Hindsight is a great thing but not all that helpful in the present because we can’t change how we acted yesterday or what we said. But we can learn from it. Mercedes Lackey said, “If only. Those must be the two saddest words in the world.” And I think I agree. I don’t want to get to the end of my life and wish I had done things differently yet didn’t take the opportunities I had.... So is your life going to be characterised by those words or are you going to take the life you have been given and make the most of it....? Why not take the quiz and see what you are like? Students have been asked to apply for various positions, do you….. A) Not even finish reading the paper or email before you bin it? B) Decide to apply but don’t feel very confident about your chances? C) Apply for everything, someone has to get the position? The school canteen has introduced some new menu options, do you…... A) Stick to your usual, you probably won’t like the new stuff? B) Wait till others have tried them before you give them a go? C) Have a go at all the new stuff? Friends are going up town for the first time and ask you, do you…... A) Not bother asking to go, you won’t be allowed? B) Check with your parent and respect their guidelines? C) Say ‘Yes’ without consulting anyone else? Your teacher is asking for new ideas for ‘form’ sessions, do you..…. A) Keep quiet, ideas are not your thing? B) Make a few suggestions once others have started the ball rolling? C) Talk non-stop, not allowing others to get a word in? School are asking for host families for an exchange, do you…... A) Not even bother giving the letter to your parent? B) Give it to them but you’re not sure you really fancy the idea? C) Persuade your parent it will be a good idea because you want to go abroad? You are offered the chance to go ski-ing, do you…… A) Not even bother thinking about it, you’d probably hurt yourself? B) Take a bit of persuading but decide to give it a go? C) Jump at the chance?
You have a day off school because of snow, do you…… A) Stay in bed all day? B) Hope someone else organises something to do? C) Organise some fun in the snow with your friends? Your favourite band is due to switch on the Christmas lights, do you…… A) Stop at home, you’d never get near the front? B) Get persuaded to go by your friends and have a great time? C) Make sure you are there early and get that front row spot? You have arranged to go to a theme park but it is raining, do you…… A) Stop at home, it won’t be fun in the rain? B) Agree to go but you aren’t that enthusiastic? C) Keep to your arrangements, it’s only rain and the queues will be shorter? People are on about changing your use of plastics, do you…… A) Ignore them, it’s too much effort to think about it? B) Try and find ways to improve your recycling and limit your waste? C) Become an overnight eco-warrior who tries to convert everyone? It’s ‘sales’ season, do you…… A) Get nothing because you can’t be bothered looking through everything? B) Have a list of what you need and stick to it? C) Buy lots of ‘bargains’ even if some of them aren’t that useful? There is nothing to do on a Friday night, do you…… A) Sit at home wishing there was something to do? B) Check with your friends and maybe organise a chill evening at your house? C) Message everyone and get something fun organised? Did you get a mixture of answers or did one stand out? Take a look below…… If you answered mostly A – You live as if the traffic lights are always on red! You aren’t keen to try new stuff or push yourself to experience different things. Life doesn’t have to be so stationary, you can step out of your comfort zone every now and then without anything disastrous happening. Don’t always say, ‘No’, try taking on something new and you might actually find you like it. A red light is to make you stop and think but it is not supposed to be on all the time, no one would get anywhere! If you answered mostly B – You live as if the lights are on amber! You are cautious and considerate, not rushing into things before you have had a chance to assess the situation properly. It is a good thing to be careful but don’t spend so long dithering that you miss the opportunities that you are given. An amber light is not supposed to be on all the time, it is designed to slow us down and give us time to decide our next move before proceeding with caution, not to stop us totally. If you answered mostly C – You live as if the light is always on green! You are keen to get the most out of life and want to experience as much as possible. Opportunities don’t frighten you, they keep life interesting. Just be careful that in your enthusiasm you don’t trample on other people who would like to have a turn too! A green light is not supposed to be on all the time, it is good to take a moment to enjoy where you are before rushing onto the next thing or place.
John 10 v 10 - I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Photo Credits: Disney Studios & Lucasfilm Ltd
If someone was to mention a light saber you would probably know straight away which film franchise they were talking about. I have friends who have seen the Star Wars films over and over again but I’m afraid I just don’t get the excitement. I could watch them but as with the Lord of the Rings films I’m not a big fan. Give me animation, romantic comedy, musicals or even a bit of an action film any day! I even like ‘Film 24’ type films that are easy to follow and usually have happy endings. Films that don’t really have an ending or a sad one aren’t my cup of tea. It might be quite shallow but I like ‘feel good’ films. We have Netflix and to be honest have watched some dreadful films. Those that are highly rated are often the most disappointing and leave you wondering if the reviewers were actually watching the same film! It can be the same in life. Things we thought would be great or make us happy don’t always live up to expectations. This can happen when we are trying to find happiness and contentment in things rather than people and God. Things and even people can leave us feeling disappointed but knowing God can help us experience real contentment and peace. Christians believe that God has a plan for our lives and when we are following him we find ourselves fulfilled. When we are trying to ‘go it alone’ it is like trying to fill a hole in the ground with water, it just seeps away and we are left with an empty hole again. A bit like watching a crappy film we can be left wishing we hadn’t wasted our time. But there are some great films out there so we asked Dan and the group from Sharston to tell us what their favourite films are and this is what they said....
Casino Royale /Gravity
Both are really cool!
You get action, comedy and The new animation is adventure all in one! brilliant and it reminds me of when I was younger!
The Greatest Showman
The imagery is incredible! And fair play surviving on Mars!
I think the music and the storyline behind it is amazing!
Such a good film from when I was growing up! Love the characters.
Light Bulb Moment! Some people are really quick on the uptake and get stuff straight away, whether it is English, Maths or Science, they just seem to get it. For others there is that light bulb moment when it suddenly makes sense, when they realise what the teacher is getting at. Things that they just didn’t understand suddenly click into place and seem obvious. They wonder why they didn’t see it before. Maybe you are like that with God and this whole Christianity thing, you just don’t get what it is all about. Maybe it is because nobody has explained it to you or maybe you just don’t think it is relevant. But you could be mistaken...
What if Jesus really is the Son of God and yet was born in a manger in Bethlehem?
What if he did do all those miracles?
What if he is who he claimed to be?
What if he did die for you and rose again? 16
What if he is coming back?
Brightline have got a new album out called ‘I was staggering through the dark until you found me’. We enjoyed catching up with two of the band members, Jacob and Dan to see what they have been up to and hear a bit about their latest music... Can you tell us an unusual fact about yourself? Jacob – I grew up in Mexico. When I started
school there I didn’t speak the language so I failed the first year but I soon learnt and just repeated the year.
Dan – Unusual...? I guess my height is quite
unusual at nearly 6ft 7. This is particularly unusual as I come from Portugal which isn’t a country known for it’s tall men!
How have you found having Joel as a new band member? Jacob – Love it! Dan – It doesn’t feel like he is new at all, he
jelled in really well. He is a cool guy. Jacob – When he started Joel had two days to learn all the guitar parts and then we were on tour for a couple of weeks so it was a tough initiation but he did great.
Can you tell us about the new album? Dan – It is called, “I was staggering through
the dark until you found me!” which is a bit of a mouthful but we are really excited by it. It is available digitally and in physical form. We think it is our best work to date, it is on a whole new level. Jacob – There are 11 tracks and we tried to weave a narrative through it. The title starts the
journey and then as you listen through the songs you hear the story. Dan – The title is a lyric from the first song which is ‘Zombie’. We wanted to do something different for the title instead of just one word. The cover is really simple and the narrative is a change to how we have done things in the past. We have even included some talks so the album features some moments of Billy Graham speaking. We are big fans of his and we thought it would be cool to feature some of his preaching. So we got permission to do that. He has of course died since then so it is feels a real honour to be able to use the clips and share his words with a new generation!
Do you have a favourite song? Jacob – All of us have different ones. The first
track ‘Zombie’ is really cool and really funky. I get to play bass on this and it has a different vibe.
We are super excited to see what people think. Dan – I love ‘Zombie’ but one that gets to me is ‘Pull Me Through’ which is Lucy’s story of her parents divorce and split family. It really connects with people because so many people have similar hurt and pain. Jacob – Lucy is very honest about how she felt in the lyrics and what she went through so hopefully those lyrics will really speak into people’s situations.
Are all the songs written from a personal standpoint? Jacob – Yes, all the songs are personal.
‘Zombie’ is about walking from death into life, from dark into light. And ‘Crazy’ is about how people sometimes think we are crazy but it is OK, we are fine with that because we know who we are in God. Dan – ‘Walking on Waves’ is about the story of Peter and looking at stepping into a new adventures. How it can be hard to step into
what God has called you to do and at the same time moments where we just want the world to stop because we don’t want the moment to end. There are a lot of empty words and songs out there that don’t communicate anything positive but as Christians we want to bring a different vibe. Jesus was a story teller and that is what we try to do, using music, videos and social media.
What does the line ‘I’ve seen the light’ in ‘Crazy’ mean? Jacob – I have seen that Jesus is the light of the
world and that he brings a life transforming message. I can step from black and white to full colour and from a life of darkness to a life full of light.
‘I’ve seen the Light’ is often used to describe someone becoming a Christian so when did you become a Christian? Dan – My parents are missionaries in Portugal so
I was brought up in a Christian family and around the age of 11 or 12 I made a decision to follow Jesus for myself. It was no longer just something my parents talked about - I realised I needed to believe in Jesus and put my faith and trust in him for myself. I could see all the beauty of nature around me and I knew there just had to be something more than a big bang behind it all. When I was 17 I finished high school and went to the States for 3 months, and found it gave me the opportunity to see that my faith was real and not just a cultural thing. Jacob – My parents are Christians and I started going to church when I was about 4. Aged 7 I made some sort of decision and although it meant something to me, when I was older I chose not to go to church because I thought it was boring and it felt like a chore. I was still searching for what life was about so I turned to drink and smoking to find answers. I was looking for that momentary high but that was all it was, it never lasted. I still went to church occasionally and put on the act of being a good, Christian boy but the rest of the time I was doing other stuff. Eventually my friends cottoned on and asked me what I was doing. I was honest with them and told them that I didn’t really get this God stuff so they sat me down and explained it really simply. God has a plan and a purpose for you so why are you looking elsewhere when he can give you life! That is when I had my moment of stepping into the light and I realised what I had been missing out on!
Have you seen any answers to prayer recently? Jacob – We have just had a ‘kickstarter’
campaign for the album launch and it was great to pray and see the money come in. We work for the Message Trust which is a charity so we wanted to cover our own costs. We raised over £3,000 which was a real answer to prayer. Dan – We prayed about maybe having an intern and Joel has been a dream! Also the kickstarter campaign and getting the album on vinyl and cassette. In terms of my personal life there has been loads of stuff. Emily and I did an interview with you a couple of years ago and we said we would love a car; someone gave us one! That was so cool. God is faithful and answers our prayers.
He might not answer in a way we expect but he knows what we need. We have a group identity as Brightline but basically we are just God’s children and he is interested in everything about us, not just the band.
Have there been other moments when you have ‘seen the light’? Dan – Definitely! Just the other day we were in
prison doing some music and we had sung Lucy’s song and then after the preach lots of men responded to the message. We sang ‘Good, good Father’ and it was amazing to see these men singing, ‘I’m loved by you’. It struck me once again that God loves them just as much as he loves me, he gives them a second chance the same as me, he died for them just as much as for me. That realisation never grows old. It amazes me every time I see that fantastic truth playing out in front of me!
You are part of The Message ‘Higher Tour’, how has that been so far? Jacob – It was amazing. Obviously there are
difficulties like waking up at 6 am or earlier, no one wants to do that! Or getting to a school and unloading in snow before a long day. But it is great that we get to see 100s of kids every single day and tell them about God’s love. Some of them have never heard that God loves them. God is just a man with a long white beard or a swear word to them so to be able to explain God in a way that they can understand is incredible. The first school we went into in the 3 week tour were also doing a youth alpha so we went along one evening to meet 12 kids who had never been in church or properly heard about Jesus. They were really honest and asking loads of questions. They came to the end of week gig and responded to the message. Since then they have been messaging us on Instagram telling us how God has changed their lives. We have had lots of similar messages and it is great that God allows us to be involved in their faith journey.
Have you any verses that help when things seem to be going wrong or at a standstill? Jacob – I love Psalm 55 v 22, ‘Cast your burden
on the Lord and He will sustain and uphold you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken, slip or fall.’ God is never too busy to care about me, nothing is too small or too big for him. I can give all my troubles to God rather than carrying them myself. I’m not good at memorising verses but that one has just stuck! Dan – For me it is John 16 v 33, ‘I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will face troubles and suffering but be courageous and confident because I have overcome the world.’ It is a misconception that being a Christian is easy or a walk in the park, God doesn’t promise us an easy life but he does promise to be with us.
Have you any examples of when God has said WAIT or NO? Jacob – Sometimes I am guilty of trying to push
stuff through to get what I want rather than waiting or accepting a ‘No’. When Rachel and I were dating it felt like a long time and I just wanted to get married but I felt God telling me to wait. It wasn’t easy living in different cities and even countries at times but I did wait and God worked it all out in his perfect time. Dan – I always wanted to live in London and I planned to go there after I finished my degree at Birmingham University. But it didn’t work out despite me pushing and trying to force the situation. God said, ‘No’ and I’m so glad he did or I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now, I wouldn’t have met Emily either so my life would have been a very different story.
What’s in the pipeline next? Dan – We are off to Poland and also doing a lot
of travelling with the ‘Higher Tour’ including Cambridge, Wales and Jersey too. Brightline are also going to Kenya in the summer. Jacob – There is obviously our album launch and we are praying that God will give the songs life and that as many young people as possible will hear the message that God loves them. You can follow Brightline on Facebook: BrightLineBand
Mama Mia Here We Go Again
Mama Mia Here We Go Again sees a pregnant Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) trying to come to terms with her situation. The story sees Meryl Streep playing her mum, Donna, and Lily James playing the youthful version of her mum. As they look back at how she coped with unexpected and single parenthood Sophie begins to see some light at the end of the tunnel in her own circumstances. As a parent you want what is best for your kids and you want them to sail through life without any hiccups or problems. But obviously this is never the case. We all have experiences that donâ€™t turn out as we hoped or expected and things can be very difficult but they are made easier if we have friends and family to help us through.
Photo Credits: Universal Studios
There are times when your children don’t behave in a way that you like or approve of but that doesn’t stop you loving them. The Bible tells us that God is our Father and that he loves us. He might not like some of the choices we make but he doesn’t stop loving us. We have all made mistakes or done things which we know would not please God, but it is how we react to those situations that is important. Don’t try and pretend to God that everything is ok, admit you’ve messed up, ask for his forgiveness and that he will help you follow him. 1 John 1 v 8&9 puts it like this: If we claim that we are free from any wrong doing we are fooling ourselves. A claim like that is nonsense. If on the other hand we admit what we have done, God will not let us down. He will forgive us and purify us from all the wrong things we have done.
Light at the End of the Tunnel
LIGHTHOUSE Lighthouses are built to stop ships from coming too near to the rocks of a coastline or port. They shine a bright light that can be seen from a long way off and warn people before they get into trouble. Being a lighthouse keeper can be a lonely existence because by the very nature of their location it is often fairly deserted and isolated. Yet it is a vital job that needs doing. Someone needs to take responsibility for keeping the light shining. Not many of us will become lighthouse keepers but we can all take responsibility and help others. Standing up for something or someone might not be easy but who will do it if you don’t? Chances are it won’t get done and then something or someone will suffer. So don’t just think about yourself and what is good for you, spare a thought for what others need and how you can help...
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CANDLELIGHT FIRELIGHT FLASHING LIGHT FLASH LIGHT LIGHT A CANDLE LIGHT AND AIRY LIGHT AND DARK LIGHT BULB
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LIGHT FANTASTIC LIGHT FITTINGS LIGHT HEARTED LIGHTHOUSE LIGHT MY FIRE LIGHT OF THE WORLD LIGHT SABER LIGHT SHADE
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g c n a u i b s y g f r f s k i o g
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i r e h t i f o t h g i l e k a m n
y t t k o t h g i l e l d n a c g m
LIGHT SWITCH LIGHT UP MAKE LIGHT OF IT NIGHTLIGHT SEARCHLIGHT SPOTLIGHT STREET LIGHT SUNLIGHT
Luke 11 v 33 No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light.
Luke 8 v 16 No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light.
Sheet1 Can you find the words and phrases below to do with LIGHT...?
IN THE SPOTLIGHT Celebrities spend a lot of time and effort on trying to look good because they know their lives are in the spotlight. At any moment someone might take a snap of them and they don’t want to look like they just crawled out of bed. I’m very glad I don’t have to worry about the papparazzi, they’d have some ‘great’ shots of me. No make up and a messy bun is one of my everyday looks! But then I’m not out to impress anybody with the way I look; I’m happy being me and not an airbrushed version of myself. Don’t be fooled into thinking that to be popular or successful you have to look a certain way, with flawless skin and dress sense. Most of the images the media portray have been airbrushed to fit in with a very specific view of beauty which for most of us isn’t realistic at all. We aren’t all the same so why try and be something you aren’t....? And don’t assume that everyone’s social media ‘shots’ are exactly as they seem – life isn’t always fun and great. You only get to see a snap shot of their life, not the boring everyday bits – though if you follow some people you will be ‘treated’ to every minute detail from the food they eat to what they are watching!
I’m glad we don’t have to always look our best or be picture perfect for God either. We can try airbrushing parts of lives to fool others into thinking everything is great but did you know that God sees us as we are, faults and all, yet still loves us! He isn’t interested in how many ‘likes’ we have, he is just interested in us....
Search light! Did you know that God is searching for you?
The Bible is full of stories about God finding people and changing their lives. In the New Testament Jesus tells 3 stories about things that are lost and people trying desperately to find them; a lost coin, a lost sheep and a lost son. They all emphasize the fact that God is looking for us, waiting for us and willing us to come home. Many people think God must be angry with them because of what they have done, but the Bible says that He is like a shepherd looking for a lost sheep who is delighted and not angry when he finds it.
Luke 15 v 4-6 says, “Suppose one of you had a 100 sheep and lost one. Wouldn’t you leave the 99 in the wilderness and go and search for the lost one till you found it? When you found it you would put it on your shoulders and return rejoicing. You would call your friends and neighbours saying, ‘Celebrate with me for I have found the sheep that was lost!’”
No matter how far you have wandered God is still looking for you. He cares about you and wants to look after you if you will let him...
LIGHT UP! Gary is a member of our church who met Jesus whilst in prison. His life had revolved around drink and drugs so we asked him to tell us about his life and how Jesus has made a difference. Usually we do interviews by phone but because he is local we were able to do it face to face. I’m really glad we did as it was great to hear his story but also to see his face LIGHT UP as he talked about Jesus. Read on to find out what made him LIGHT UP!
Were you brought up in a Christian home?
and eventually all the time. It got a grip on me and it just spiralled.
No, I wasn’t. Nobody in the family had any idea about or interest in God and Jesus. So what happened? We were taking acid, weed, and loads of tablets but amphetamine was the main drug. So what was your childhood like? I did some cash in hand type jobs and a lot of Well, I didn’t like school very much. I had a stealing too. At the time I didn’t see that it was very short attention span so in school I got hurting anyone or anything. I met a girl who shouted at a lot. I was born in 1970 in a had a couple of kids, which didn’t bother me, really rough area of Glasgow, then we moved and I moved in with her. I was still doing drugs to Blackburn when I was about 8. I was the and stuff but by September 1998 I felt like life only white lad in a Muslim community and I was pointless. I had no hope and no future so got into lots of scraps. Life was difficult and I asked my girlfriend to help me come off the when we moved again my mum started drugs. Her answer was to screw up a tenner drinking. Things went from bad to worse and and throw it at me! That night I took a load of I bore the brunt of it. The beatings were bad but it was the mental abuse that really did the tablets and woke up in hospital two days later. I walked home to find all my stuff in bin bags damage. I went into myself and then at 15 I at the front of the house so I got the bus to my found drugs! Amphetamines gave me sister’s... confidence and brought me out of my shell, but what started as a Friday night thing soon progressed to Saturday as well, then Sunday 27
Did that help you?
on me and when I was made redundant in 2008 my solution was drink and drugs, which ended When I moved to my sister`s I did stop taking up costing me my relationship and my kids. I stuff every day, mainly because she was moved back to mum’s but a few months later watching me like a hawk. Then she got me a my partner rented a house nearby. I moved job at her place which was great to start with but having money just meant I could get drugs! back into my house with my nephew. We hit the drink and drugs again. Everyday was just About a year later I got another job and met messy! My partner wasn’t impressed and it another girl. She was my soul mate but I was obviously affected my relationship with the still doing drugs. She worried about me kids. Then my mortgage protection ran out because I could be a real ‘a**e’ when I was drunk or on drugs. I lost count of the number of and I got a letter saying they were going to repossess the house. I stripped it of everything times I was arrested for being drunk and including the floorboards and wires and got a disorderly. We got a flat together and then a private rental with my nephew. Life was just house! She wanted a family so I was supposed drinking and drugs and there were all sorts of to leave the drugs but I couldn’t. There were a people coming and going. The next thing I lot of complications when we tried to get know I’m stood in front of a desk sergeant being pregnant because she had polycystic ovaries charged with manslaughter. Between the and after a couple of miscarriages and lots of police station and court it hadn’t sunk in what crying and pain we decided to stop treatment. I’d done till I got to jail and then it hit me. I Then out of the blue she did get pregnant and didn’t want to live any more because it was our first daughter was born, followed by a second two years later. unbearable to have someone’s death on my conscience.
So had you stopped taking drugs? No, by then I had gone onto cocaine and a synthetic drug called bubble. It had a real grip
So when did you become a Christian? The prison chaplain came to see me. I wondered why she had come but she talked with me and asked if she could pray for me. As she prayed I felt something inside me that I didn’t understand and was too embarrassed to ask. Another guy came to see me and prayed for me and again I had this unexplainable feeling. This happened a few times and it got me interested enough to sign up for Bible studies. I’d had depression and anxiety for years and had all sorts of treatments, none of which worked, but talking about Jesus and praying certainly felt different so I went along. Being in the group made me feel stronger and my depression started to lift even before I asked Jesus into my life. Then at one meeting we were talking about forgiveness and I prayed and asked God to forgive me, I felt as if a ton weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I couldn’t understand why I was crying, yet felt peaceful too.
So was it easy from then on? Life is a constant battle but God is with me and has helped me. I remember one study when they were talking about God speaking to us so when I got back to my cell I thought I’d ask God to speak to me. I waited quietly for a couple of minutes but didn’t hear anything so gave up and thought he wasn’t bothered with me. Then a few days later I was watching TV and it was a programme about furniture restoration. The lady was describing how she was going to strip back some drawers to the bare minimum and build them back up and those words really struck me. They rattled round my head all week and at the next Bible study I told them about it and they told me it was God talking to me. I still wasn’t sure but couldn’t shake it off and the following Sunday I went to chapel. The minister was talking and said, ‘What God is going to do is strip you down then build you back up!’ I couldn’t believe it. I still had a long way to go though and suffered with nightmares. One particular night I dreamt I was in hell and on the other side I could see bright lights and a rainbow bridge.
The best way to describe it was as in Mario Cart when they shoot almost instantly from one side to the other. I felt God say to me to read James Chapter 1and verse 12 really hit me. ‘To him who perseveres God will give a crown of life.’ It kept me going and my depression started to lift and I was able to reduce my medication. But I was worried what would happen when I was released. I didn’t want to go back to my old haunts and ways because I knew I would end up dead.
So where did you go? Someone told me about a new programme in Manchester run by The Message Trust that helps ex-offenders who want to follow Jesus to get back on their feet. I put my name down but wasn’t sure they would have me! But after several interviews and an agonising wait I was accepted and I moved here in Sept16.
That must have been great...? You’d think so, but to be honest when I first got
here I wasn’t sure I could hack it. Everyone was so nice and friendly but all I could think of was what do they want? But things have got better and better and I am really thankful for their love and support. My depression and anxiety have completely gone and now I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
So you might say they have saved you...? They haven’t but Jesus working through them has been amazing. Without Jesus and them I would probably be dead!
How did you end up going to Uganda? We sponsor a child there called Jovan and we know the team who run Christian Restoration Ministries, CRM, which is a charity working to improve the lives of people in Uganda and show them Jesus. They invited us to go and see what they do!
What did you do there?
What was the best part?
We got to see the work CRM are doing and also got to talk to people about Jesus and the difference he has made in our lives. We saw some of the houses and schools they have built and it was awesome to see the children smiling. Their homes are very small and they have nothing yet they are so happy. People here appear to have everything but are still miserable. It doesn’t matter what you have in terms of material possessions, if you haven’t got Jesus your life will feel empty.
It was great to see what CRM is doing but also to be able to spend time with God. On one of the days we went to Murchison Falls which was beautiful and there were lots of rainbows from the spray. As we stood and watched a rainbow encircled us and I felt God was reminding me that he is always with us and wants to refresh and strengthen us.
What was the hardest thing about it? On one of the Sundays I went with Julie from CRM to film some of the sponsor children. We went to a few houses and at one she said we would be seeing 18 year old twins. She went in and spoke to one but I stayed outside because there wasn’t enough room. I was wondering where the other girl was and then I realised she was on the ground, curled up. I had thought this was a small child but it was the other twin. She was very underdeveloped and couldn’t speak. To be honest I don’t have the words to describe the scene, it was heartbreaking.
Have you travelled anywhere else? I have had the opportunity to travel with The Message to Germany earlier this year. It was supposed to be a few days talking and some chill time but it ended up being nearly all talking! At one meeting there was a lady there who later said she wouldn’t have come if she had known we were ex-cons but she was really glad she hadn’t known because God changed her life! I was telling my story about meeting Jesus and she said she saw an angel standing behind me and felt God saying that he loved me and that I was a wonderful man. As I was talking about being forgiven she was able to forgive people that she had been bitter about and was then overwhelmed with love and peace. She hadn’t realised how much her unforgiveness had affected her.
The Bible says we should be like lights, what does this mean for you? If people can see Jesus in us then our experiences can help them understand that there is hope and a future. I used to think that I was of no significance but even if just one person is helped by my story that is fantastic. I have been in the dark and it isn’t something I want to go back to. Without Jesus I would have been drawn back into that life and so I want to help people see the light and experience Jesus for themselves. People think they have no future and no hope but they just need someone to come and talk to them about Jesus. If it wasn’t for Christians introducing me to Jesus I wouldn’t be here!
Do you have a favourite verse that helps you when things are difficult? I have a few! James 1 v 12 - Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. Deuteronomy 31 v 8 – The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Psalm 42 – As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.
What are your plans going forward...? I am trusting God to show me! I have a job and people around me to support me which is fantastic considering the mess I had made! Various people have told me that God can use me in a pastoral role and to be honest I used to think, ‘Don’t be ridiculous!’ but anything is possible with God. I have realised that I don’t have to accept or listen to all the negative thoughts that come into my head. I can trust God with my life and future. So who knows what will happen...
To find out more about the work of the Message Trust or CRM you can check them out @ www.message.org.uk www.crmint.org
Don’t make light of it! Proverbs 15 v 4 Kind words heal and help; cutting words wound and maim.
In our society we are increasingly making light of stuff that actually matters. We ignore problems and hope they will go away, we do things wrong and hope God will bless us anyway, we want to do stuff our way but then get cross with God when they don’t work out...
One area that seems to be increasingly problematic is social media. Yes, it can be a good thing but it can also bring no end of problems! We know we shouldn’t be unkind or rude about people yet social media is often used as a platform for just that. It is as if it isn’t real life so it doesn’t matter. We can say what we like because we aren’t actually speaking face to face with someone. Our conscience or morality would tell us not to say something when we are talking with someone but in the realm of social media people often lose those restraints and are just plain insulting and needlessly cruel for the sake of a laugh!
I was reading an article the other day about a girl who had been banned from a certain area because of her anti-social behaviour. Whilst I certainly don’t condone her actions I was horrified to read the comments that followed which attacked her looks and mental state based on just seeing her picture. Even if someone has done something wrong it doesn’t give us the right to mock or humilate them further based on their outward appearance. So next time you are tempted to leave a less than kind comment stop and think what you are doing. Is it something you would say to your friend or if the person was standing in front of you? If the answer is, ‘No’ then don’t do it on social media either. That cutting comment can do just that, cut someone’s confidence to shreds for the sake of making you feel cool. Don’t take it lightly and think it’s only banter or a bit of fun. Spoken and written words can do a lot of damage whch is hard to undo!
OCEAN’S 8 Ocean’s 11, 12 and 13 have featured the likes of Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and George Clooney but Ocean’s 8 is an all female crew! Danny Ocean’s estranged sister Debbie, played by Sandra Bullock, wants to pull off a daring heist at the star-studded Met Gala Ball in New York. She needs to assemble the perfect crew to help her and they include Cate Blanchett, Rhianna, Helena Bonham Carter and Ann Hathaway. Does she manage to pull it off and steal the jewels?
Photo credits: Warner Bros
The film sees the all female crew attempting to steal an amazing $150 million necklace from Ann Hathaways character, but as she is part of the crew the intended target must be someone else... Awkwafina plays an amazingly light fingered pick pocket, whilst Mindy Kaling is also very good at using her fingers to make jewellery and Rhianna is a computer hacker. They are all hand picked because each has their own speciality that will come in very useful if Debbie is to succeed with her plan.
We can all look at others and wish we could do what they do, that we could have their gifts and talents. But we are all different. Debbie Ocean needs people with different skills to achieve her goal. It would be no good if all she had was a computer whizz but nobody who could make fake jewellery; or if she could make the jewellery but had no one who could swap things without being noticed. Whilst it is obviously isn’t good to use our talents for bad stuff, it is good remember that we are all unique! Yet often we feel we need to be just like someone else in order to be accpeted or loved. Maybe we feel we need to look a certain way or like certain things. Or maybe we think if we were brighter or more sporty we would be accepted.
Each of us has unique talents and gifts that we are supposed to use to make the world a better place, not just get our own back.
So be the best ‘YOU’ that you can be and don’t try and be someone else.
Light and dark are a part of everyday life. We have daylight and night time both of which are necessary for growth and rest. We would find it hard to survive if it was always light and it would be impossible if it was always dark. In our personal lives there will be light and dark too. No one manages to get through life without anything going wrong or at least not the way we hoped for. We all have to choose how we react to these things though and whether we allow light or dark to win. We can either concentrate on all the good stuff and not dwell on the not so good or we can reverse that and be consumed by the dark and not allow the light, however small, to shine. I started this year by writing down 3 things to be grateful for each day. It doesn’t sound much but some days it can be a struggle to be grateful for anything. However as time has gone on I have found it easier because I’m looking for light or positive things rather than just thinking about what hasn’t gone well. Why not give it a go yourself – get a notebook or journal and start to write down things you are thankful for at the end of each day – you might be surprised at the difference it makes to your outlook! Have a look at the quotes below and see if you agree with them...
Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. Martin Luther King Jr. We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light. Plato Learn to light a candle in the darkest moments of someone’s life. Be the light that helps others see; it is what gives life its deepest significance. Roy T. Bennett
The Sun will rise and set regardless. What we choose to do with the light while it’s here is up to us. Journey wisely. Alexandra Elle Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy, the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light. Brené Brown
Each day brings new opportunities, allowing you to constantly live with love, be there for others, bring a little light into someone’s day. Be grateful and live each day to the fullest. Roy T. Bennett, Happiness is always there. You just have to choose to see it. There’s no point dwelling in the dark and ignoring the light of the stars. Carrie Hope Fletcher Shine your light and make a positive impact on the world; there is nothing so honorable as helping improve the lives of others. Roy T. Bennett You’re here to be light, bringing out the Godcolours in the world. Matthew 5 v 14 How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world. William Shakespeare
I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. John 8 v 12 When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself. Tecumseh As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence actually liberates others. Marianne Williamson
You must stand for something! It does not have to be grand, but it must be a positive that brings light to someone else’s darkness. Anthony Carmona Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness. Desmond Tutu An age is called Dark not because the light fails to shine, but because people refuse to see it. James A. Michener I think all the best songs do that: they offer some sort of hope and light in the darkness. Jens Lekman
He who closes his eyes sees nothing, even in the full light of day. Leopold Trepper Fear can only grow in darkness. Once you face fear with light, you win. Steve Maraboli Because I was more often happy for other people, I got to spend more time being happy. And as I saw more light in everybody else, I seemed to have more myself. Victoria Moran People are like stained - glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Dear sisters and brothers, we realize the importance of light when we see darkness. Malala Yousafzai
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There is a lot of darkness in the world and it can all seem a bit too much at times. You listen to the news or see stuff on social media that makes you wonder where are all these bad things are coming from. And while it is good to be aware of such things, to be prompted to act and respond positively to them, it is also good to chill and have a laugh too. So here are some jokes to hopefully make you smile and lighten your day! How many mystery writers does it take to change a light bulb? Two – one to write most of it & one to give it a surprise twist at the end! Why did the lights go out? Because they liked each other. How many psychiatrists does it take to change a bulb?
Only one but the bulb has to really want to change. After God created 24 hours of alternating darkness and light, one of the angels asked him, “What are you going to do now?” God said, “I think I’m going to call it a day.”
I tried to think of how lightening works - then it struck me. Three men are on a boat. They have four cigarettes, but nothing to light them with. So they throw a cigarette overboard and the whole boat becomes a cigarette lighter.
I bought my wife a fridge for Christmas. I can’t wait to see her face light up when she opens it. How did Noah see in the dark? By flood-lights! What flies around your light at night and can bite off your head ? A tiger moth. What did one glow-worm say to the other when his light went out? ‘Give me a push, my battery is dead.’ Did you hear about the man who drove his car into the lake one night? He was trying to dip his headlights. What do you call a clever glow-worm? A bright spark. Why were the Middle Ages called the Dark Ages? Because there were too many knights. Did you hear about the man who sat up all night wondering where the sun had gone? The next morning it dawned on him.
What do you get when you cross a thought with a light bulb? A bright idea!
Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark!
My daughter Abigail is three years old. Her imagination is developing super fast which has resulted in an ever growing fascination with pirates! Every night, before bed, I am duty bound to come up with a new episode featuring our self created characters, Pirate Ted, Pirate Gill, young Pirate Tim and Arnold the dog. This made up pirate family are always friendly and often falling into ridiculous situations, that myself and my daughter Abigail dream up. As you can imagine, with a three year old inputting into the story as it develops, the plots are often strange and lacking any logic, but we go with it…. Nonetheless, the sight of a dark room seems to play on my daughters mind. Within minutes, the friendly family of slapstick pirates, become evil pranksters who hide under her bed! After every story told, I spend at least 10 minutes checking under the bed, in the wardrobe and behind the curtains to assure her that it is now a No pirate zone. If it wasn’t bedtime, I’d switch on the light and all would be ok. We live in a pretty dark world right now. The potential of all kinds of evil taking place is just moments away. We’ve seen it before and we’ll see it again. My hope though is in Jesus who will one day come, in all his power and might, to switch on the light. In fact, he himself is the light of the world. In the fullness of his presence, he comes to bring about change, safety, security, a place marked as no-evil zone. He comes to win the war. Right now, Jesus dwells with us in the dark place, equipping us to fulfil our contribution in making the world a better place. Written by Tom Elliott www.tom-elliott.org @tomelliott_uk @tomelliott_uk
But remember - There’s no need to fear. We know that the light is coming.
Your word is a Light to my Path
This title is a quote from the Bible , Psalm 119 v 105. Many people are looking to improve their lives and reverse some of the more stressful moments that have come with so-called advances in technology. There is now a whole industry promoting health and well being. So you might be surprised that the Bible has been giving us much of the same advice as more modern gurus for a long time! Did you know that the Bible says: Going to bed angry isn’t good for you - Ephesians 4 v 26 Don’t let the sun go down on your anger. Take time just to be still - Psalm 46 v 10 Be still and know that I am God . Be kind with your words - Proverbs 15 v 1 – A soft, gentle and thoughtful answer turns away anger but harsh , painful and thoughtless words stir it up! Pride comes before a fall - Proverbs 16 v 18 Pride leads to destruction and arrogance to a fall . Being cheerful is good for your health - Proverbs 17 v 22 – Being cheerful helps to keep you healthy. It is better to give than receive - Luke 6 v 39 Giving not getting is the way, generosity leads to generosity. Think about others not just yourself 1 Corinthians 10 v 24 Let no one seek just his own good but also the good of others.
Listening to advice and instructions is worth while - Proverbs 19 v 20 Listen to counsel , receive instruction and accept correction then you will become wise . Discipline and training are good for you - Proverbs 13 v 24 He who withholds discipline hates his son , but he who loves him disciplines and trains him appropriately. Worrying about a situation won’t change it - Matthew 6 v 25 Do not worry or be anxious. Keep on going even when it is tough - Galatians 6 v 9 Do not grow weary or discouraged in doing good .
Show respect to people - Ephesians 6 v 2 Honour your father and mother and be respectful to them. Don’t spend all your time accumulating stuff for tomorrow because tomorrow may never come - Matthew 6 v 19 Don’t store up treasure on earth and Luke 12 v 16-20 – Parable of the rich fool – God said You fool this very night your life will be required of you and then who will get all that you have stored up?
How much better would life be if we all tried to follow these wise words! 41
The Spotlight’s on you! Films are often a great way to relax and enjoy just chilling. They take our minds off our own circumstances and allow us to imagine a totally different world for a short while. But we can also learn some important lessons from them. Incredibles 2 sees the return of the Parr family. Superheroes who together with friends such as Frozone have to find a way of fighting crime whilst campaigning for the return of the ‘supers’.
Incredibles 1 mainly focussed on the struggles of Bob Parr aka Mr Incredible but Incredibles 2 sees Helen Parr aka Elastigirl in the spotlight. It starts right after the end of the previous film and Elastigirl is fighting crime whilst Mr Incredible has to try and maintain a ‘normal life’ and look after the 3 children. This film also sees the emergence of Jack-Jack and his previously unseen ‘powers’. The family must work together to stop a dangerous villian and everyone is needed to make it happen. Sometimes we can think that the spotlight is on someone else and that means that we aren’t important; that our contribution to family life, school or work isn’t as valuable. But each of us is needed and whether we are the sort of person who is ‘in the spotlight’ or more likely to be in the background God thinks we are valuable and worth it! His love isn’t limited to the people in the spotlight, he loves everyone and that includes YOU!
Theme : LIGHT Printed : May '18