Wednesday, 31 December 2008

2009

I just thought today I would share my short message for 2009, in Luke 22

7Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, "Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover."
9"Where do you want us to prepare for it?" they asked.
10He replied, "As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, 11and say to the owner of the house, 'The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?' 12He will show you a large upper room, all furnished. Make preparations there."
13They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.


You see Jesus already had it planned, He had already made provisions for what was ahead.

I believe He has already made provisions for what is ahead this year. He is the creator of all, He is my father in Heaven and He already has it planned and has made provisions for us all, there will be a room waiting or whatever it is that is ahead this year, is already in place.

Happy new year

Sunday, 28 December 2008

The Pub

I was thinking about pubs over Christmas, how many were open and how that is a good thing for all those alone, and then I was thinking about how quickly pubs in this country are now shutting down, how sad.

I have been a regular at many pubs over the years, walk in, your pint is already being poured, ' Everyone knows your name', as in 'cheers', sit, stand, share, everyone has an opinion, you are welcome, as long as you have money, it is always open, even Christmas day, something always happens.

More pubs are shutting, more people being locked back up in their homes, listening to the only friend they think they have left, the tv, which more and more now, panders to fear, encourages more and more, people to stay in, it is scary out there, it is dark out there, things aren't what they used to be, stay in and live off the memories we can provide.

And where is the church, shouldn't the church be open all the time, anytime someone wants to turn up, without any money and stand or sit or share or have an opinion. The lonely go to the pub, there is nowhere else to go, the pubs shut, the lonely stay at home, the church looks on and makes excuses?

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Confusing

I have had a good time over the last few days, today has been incredibly peaceful, it is just the five of us, a nice walk and games on the Wii, reading some books and some food that will add much to my waistline.

I have had a lovely time with some people over the last few days, my Dad and Daphne were here yesterday, it was really nice. There are also others I have been in contact with, who have been very negative, this is what is confusing.

Actually I don't feel that confused, more concerned. There are people close to me, who take deep offence at who I am. I don't know if it is because it is like shining a light on them, not that I feel that I have been in any way judgemental or condemning, just maybe because Tanya and I are who we are now, Christians, that others don't feel they can do some things that they used to in front of us, or can't speak a certain way, or that we are not on their wavelength anymore because we are on God's wavelength. Maybe we can no longer endorse beliefs or theories that others want us to, or be relyed upon to be the ally, because they no longer come first, God does.

I suppose this is what Jesus talked about, 'divisions'. I am different, and this is who I am now, a constantly changing individual, being changed by Jesus, who I have had an encounter with in my life, to the point that there is no going back. I did not just read a book or listen to a man and decided that it was a good deal. I have a relationship, feel and live and love and cry and try because I am aware of He who walks everyday with me. If others do not like it, I will still be here standing, waiting, not judging, not condemning, because I am not going to change, except the way that God is leading me, but I will be here, ready for the time when they can accept me or not, want to know more of me or not, want to talk or listen.

I am here. There are so many chips on shoulders, so much bitterness, so much blame. God didn't do it, neither did I. I can apologise for anyone else if anyone wants me to, I'm sorry for people, we aren't perfect, neither unfortunately is the church, it is full of people, neither is the world, it is full of people, there is sickness and accidents and natural disasters and terrorists and........ Love and hope and faith.

God, good, man, messy, Devil, bad.

'The blame and the shame caused the pain to reign,
the tree set us free so we could run with the Son.'

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Hope

I wanted to write something on hope, one of the leaders at our church at the carol service on Sunday spoke on hope, it was great, it really is important and so relevant to this time of year, to me, now, to anyone, anytime. So I have borrowed some of what he said.

It says in proverbs that hope deferred makes the heart sick. Without hope we get sick.

It is hard to hope on a Wednesday afternoon with just me and the baby, it is hard to hope on a Monday morning when you have to go to the job you hate, it is hard to hope when there is sickness, death and tragedy around, it is hard to hope when relationships break down or finances are bad, or when the future is so uncertain and we don't know where we are going or what we are going to do.

But, hope is what gets all of us through all of these situations, it is hard to see, it is hard to distinguish between all the frustration and pain, but it is the looking to the future, the getting up again, the planning, the smile, when we don't feel like it, the struggling through, because we feel there is something more on the other side of the next hill, and when it is just another hill, it is hope again that keeps us going over that one.

I believe in the bringer of hope, that is what Jesus was and is and will always be, the bringer of hope, to all, that is a gift He brings, hope and the fact that whatever I am doing, He is with me, like the old footsteps in the sand poem. I am not immune to all of the above moments of struggle and pain, I just have the bringer of hope with me, every step of the way.

This is Christmas, when we remember that hope entered the world.

Isaiah 9
To Us a Child Is Born
1 Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan-
2 The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death [a]
a light has dawned.
3 You have enlarged the nation
and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you
as people rejoice at the harvest,
as men rejoice
when dividing the plunder.
4 For as in the day of Midian's defeat,
you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them,
the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor.
5 Every warrior's boot used in battle
and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
will be fuel for the fire.
6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor,
[b] Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David's throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty
will accomplish this.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Click

I had a friend round today, we were just shooting the breeze and watching chariots of fire on channel 4, then some of the things we had been talking about, what I have been reading and writing these last few days, clicked.

At one point, we talked about councillors, which I have not got a lot of time for, though I am sure there are some that do good, but we were saying how, you will only talk if you want to, if you are forced to go to one, you will probably not open up. Then we were talking about who we open up to and why them, do we listen?? Or do we constantly try to fix it?

I was also reading some bits in the bible, namely John 14: 9-14 and 1 John 3:11-24.

Generally talking in the first bit is Jesus talking about seeing the Father in Him and in the second passage showing the truth by loving in action.

It has just led me to not panic about how I am with the youth at the YC, just love them and they will hopefully see God in what is happening, that is all I can do.

See, I do take things on board, I am just a slow learner.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Lets get the party started


Well, the family visits have already started, I have started baking ( I like baking), the social drinks start tonight, it is the last day of school tomorrow, so it is time to relax and enjoy.
There are still a few things I would like to get, I was planning on doing that this morning, but the best laid plans of mice and men....
I have felt that even though I am at home, I have a job to do, and I know I put myself under loads of pressure to get things done, well, I suppose one of the reasons is so that when it comes to a time of relaxing, I will feel that I am relaxing from something. So, and I know it sounds stupid, I will be trying hard to relax.
I will try to blog over this period, but don't count on it, as I, like so many others, will not be on the pc much over Christmas.
Just in case, Happy Christmas, remember a gift was given, the gift of freedom and joy, try not to feel the pressure and stress.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

2 Hats

Just following on from a thought about a comment yesterday, should we have more than one hat, more than one face.



Should I have a work hat, a social hat, a youth club hat, man on the street hat, Dad hat, husband hat or church hat?



Shouldn't I just be me wherever, but am I?



Or as Paul says



1 Corinthians 9:22To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.



Should I be all things, anything?



Or is it just a case of being me, but regulating the quantity of me, depending on the situation?



I personally think I should always be me, but I also think it is about being sensitive to others, yet as I write this I don't know if I believe that, is that just a kop out? What happens when somebody from one part of my life, enters into another part? Who or what do they see?



Random blogging questioning thoughts, I suppose? Or something deeper maybe?



I also think of me as someone who is sensitve to others, so maybe being me in certain situations is being weak to the weak?? And me being louder in a lot of situations is me as well? All things to all people? Is that not us all?



Too many questions.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

More on the YC


Thankyou for yesterdays comments, I will take everything on board, but I did want to clarify the way my thoughts are going and what we are doing.
Believe me, I don't mind who I help, I want to be there for them all, some things have been damaged on the Friday night, a suggestion was made that we make a point and hopefully people will just take a little bit more responsibility and pride in something that is theirs.
I was making the point yesterday, should I have an ulterior motive? I suppose the answer is no, I should just be who I am inspired to be, I just want people to know who the inspirer is. I will always try to help others, whenever I can, and for the same reason, that something inside makes me want to reach out, where maybe others don't, and on these occasions, I am just an anonymous hand, I am just wondering if I should be more than an anonymous hand on a Friday night?
I go out as a street pastor, in uniform, most people will have an idea of who we are. I don't want to preach at people, I certainly don't want to sell Jesus, as I believe if you sell people Jesus, they are likely to bring Him back unwrapped. If people meet Jesus themselves, they might want to know Him, if they do not know it is Jesus they are meeting, how can they know Him?
I don't want to put God in a box, but I am not sure how to let Him out either. I do also believe as a youth club there should be something different, not as much slotting God in, but, as for instance with 24/7, praying, listening, picking people up and probably being a lot more patient than a normal youth club is. Does that make it right that we didn't open last week, I don't know, does that mean I have a hidden agenda, no, just being who I am, a listener, a prayer and a comforter, as God has done for me.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Boundaries

We have had to postpone the Friday night youth thing due to some disrespectful behaviour, we have been getting numbers of between 70 and 80, with a lot of new youth coming along in the younger bracket, and this has been where the behaviour has been coming from. The way I have seen it, is, the older lot never had anything, they have just had to hang about outside, they seem to respect what is going on a bit more, than the younger lot, who have just walked straight into their own youth club and don't respect it at all.

I think it is a case of boundaries, the younger lot do not know theirs yet. By shutting for a couple of weeks, we want to remind them that their are boundaries.

The other thing we want to do, is regroup, work out how to put things in place so that boundaries are more apparent, so everyone can enjoy themselves safely.

I also really think we have to have something else, something that makes us more than just a youth club. Anyone can run a youth club, the youth service runs a youth club, our youth club is run by christians. Shouldn't it be different, or am I having an ulterior motive?

I suppose in part, it is an argument about what is missional? Talking about being Jesus' hands and feet, but also just doing what a hundred other charities are doing. Being more missional and more intimate? Is it just an excuse to be more inward looking as a group, so that the self is looked after, and then 'doing good works' so that we can show we are doing something and remove any guilt, that we are not really being 'churchy'.

Just some questions...I do know though, that I have to be out 'there' more, but in doing that, I have to be something more that just a do gooder. Jesus has to be in it, He has to be first in it and I have to really make sure that is what I am doing and how I am doing it. As to intimacy, I believe it is right to be built up and strengthened as a smaller group, I crave that, but it has to be , to have the strength to walk out.

Just some thoughts.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Portrayal


Two points I want to make, number 1, I do get concerned about how I portray myself and my faith, if I am doing enough, if I always portray things the right way, how can I be more of an advert, I still think a dog collar is a good start, like when I do street pastors, I walk about with a coat, hat and tshirt on, that have street pastors written all over them, and when I say hello or can I help to someone, they give you a double take and in general, respond really positively to me being there, because they can see who I am and who I represent, how do I do this more as I walk about daily, well that is another challenge. I am more concerned with people I know, who I have conversations with, who are not Christians, who I don't think I portray who and what I am enough, or maybe not in the right way, this brings me to my second point.
There are some people you can love and be there for and that is doing exactly what I'm meant to be doing, but they will find the negatives anyway, they carry around their baggage and they will jump on anything negative, as a weapon to show they are right and don't have a need, people have insecurites and baggage and are bitter and they hurt and they have fears. If you don't, they don't like it and they want to enforce their own baggage on you, to prove them right and make them feel more at home with what they carry.
So the only real thing I can do on a personal level, is the same as what I do as a street pastor, love people, be there, show my insecurities and show how I am winning despite of them, because of who I am and what I know.
I don't know if I am just babbling today, I have some great positive experiences this week of people just changed by love and love alone, not by words, but I have seen hearts change and I know I can't do that, I can just be there for people and let God do whatever He has planned. I have also seen the other side, where someone, people have been there for, is turning peoples words around, gossiping and slagging people off, because it works to enforce their position of standoffishness ( if that is a word). I found I was really angry with this person, but I realise that I have to continue to love them and maybe be a bit more careful with my own tongue.
Babble over.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Harder



I sometimes think I am getting harder, harder in my heart, because I don't carry things around with me as much as I used to. I was a bit worried about this, until I realised the things I used to carry around were guilt and shame.

My heart still breaks when I hear or see pain, I am in love and want to love more, I am just less troubled by myself I suppose. I have a line which I have used here a lot, and my family are really peeved with, I say I am trying, they say, that is not an emotion, that it is a loaded statement, all I mean by it is, I am not beating myself up about things, I know I screw up, but I am going to keep trying and to do that I cannot carry the burden of shame and guilt around with me, it is the old ' accept and move on' syndrome, I am forgiven, it is forgotten, try again.

I will continue to be changed by love, because love is inside of me, I will not be changed by condemnation or shame, or I will only be changed in a negative way by guilt and shame.

I worry about the things done in the name of love that are turned back into burdens, I mean in a way is love a burden, a different type of burden, one that that causes you to act or respond, maybe that was what Jesus was talking about when He said His burden was light, a burden that prompts us and fills us.

One of the reasons I am thinking about this, is this time of year, the time when we remember the greatest gift ever given by responding in the same way and giving, yet for some people, a lot of people, I suppose to some extent me included, it has become a burden. How many people this time of year are worrying or getting further into debt, or are mourning or are lonely. What started in love has become a burden to many.

I suppose the only way of attempting to break the burden again is responding in greater love, how? I don't know right now, but I am thinking.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Together

I was saying yesterday about being at home alone and really I suppose struggling with it. Last night a friend came round, he felt a bit lost at the moment, we watched some football, had a couple of beers and sounded off at each other, shared, dreamt, ate and were ourselves, it was good. Fellowship is good, being with people, being yourself with people, relaxing, sharing your life with people, the good and the bad, I really believe it is so important.

What we can do when we reach out and open up to others is amazing, it can be joyful, it can hurt, it can be tiresome, it can be fulfilling, it is where we are meant to be, in relationship with others, being vulnerable and open and honest.

Jesus spent so much time with people, talking with them, teaching them, eating and drinking with them, all sorts of people, young to old, rich to poor, the smelly and the clean.

The biggest problem I find, is the reaching out. I am quite insecure and shy, although you probably would not think it if you met me, to reach out, makes me feel vulnerable, it is hard for me to do, but I find when I battle against my natural urge to not bother and actually reach out to someone and allow my life to be interupted by someone elses, I like it, it feels good, it feels more natural than the not bothering. I am still learning, still trying, I want to reach out more.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Empty Head



I have been busy over the weekend, which has been good,doing some family stuff, spending time with people. The problem I am having lately, is I don't have a lot to say.

I have a lot of thought going on, I am reading a lot of the bible and some great other books, I am just on my own with the baby most of the time now and I am not very good at suddenly having to communicate with adults, I can tell you what I have written in my blog, who I have emailed, what time 'in the night garden' is on and how I am feeling, then I am stuck.

It is hard to dream in this situation, it is difficult to suddenly start planning something, when I feel a bit stuck indoors.

I have such a luxury that I can spend so much time with my daughter, I do enjoy it, I love seeing my sons off in the morning, sorting them out, praying with them, being there when they get in.

I can't really pop round and have coffee with anyone, I am not a woman and I don't usually have the car. I am not all down and depressed, it is just hard sometimes to have an opinion or a voice when it has just been me and the baby all day. I have some nice routines to keep me busy, just sometimes I feel a bit empty headed.

There is so much I want to say and do, I am obviously still learning, I seem to be constantly learning lately, it can be hard and painful, but worth it.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

The Hard Bits


I was reading my Dad's blog yesterday and he was asking the question, what would Jesus do and do we really reflect Jesus in our every day lives. I am also reading Luke at the moment and the other day I was reading Luke 6, when Jesus tells us it is easy to love those who love us, it is far harder to love your enemies or love someone who has wronged you, but that is exactly what Jesus asks us to do.
It got me to thinking, who are my enemies, who do I have a problem with and how is that reflected in my life?
I have written here loads about prayer, but usually the first things I start to talk to God about, are my family, in fact, I don't like to get all organised and listy ( if that is a word) but I do have some things in order when I pray, and my family and friends usually get talked about first, it is like loving those who love me first, it also like praying for the healthy, when there are so many sick.
I should be starting the other way round, for those who I have a problem with, for those who are in dire need, for those who are walking around with burdens. I think that is what Jesus would do.
Today I am going to really pray for Virgin media, who have still not delivered my wireless router, for the local high school, that let my son down so badly and for the young people on a Friday night that have shown no respect to the YC.
I'm making lists again, but I think I'm starting at the right end anyway.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

OUT LOUD

I had to share some stuff on Monday night, I had to stand up and tell some people about some of the work done as a street pastor, as usual, with me, I tend to make things quite personal, I am quite an emotional person and I usually end up babbling and getting a bit random, not really sure if I get my point across, which of course was what happened on Monday night. I think I did get my point across, but as usual, it sounded a lot better in my head before hand, than when it did when I was actually speaking.

After different groups had shared, there was a time of prayer, in which I always feel confident, I feel articulate, ( if you actually can feel articulate), I can go on and on,( hopefully not in a boring way) and I do feel I am bringing others along with me. I don't mean that in anyway boastfully, it is just that when I am speaking to God, it is a lot easier for me, than when I have to speak to large groups of people I don't know. I feel comfortable in prayer. Yet most of my life I have wanted to be able to stand up and speak, I don't yet feel that comfortable doing it.

I am thinking that next time I speak, I will do it with my eyes shut.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

The Last Few Days


Don't worry, I'm not getting all apocalyptic on you, I'm literally talking about the last few days for me. It has been an experience in different church.


First of all we had saturday, meeting as a family, with some friends and my Dad and Daphne coming to visit as well, all at the church building, using the facilities, eating together, socialising, playing some football in the sports hall and getting beaten at table tennis by my Dad, it was church and it was good, even with the odd hiccup, of me losing my temper with one of the kids, very quickly, I am still too quick to anger.


On Sunday as a family went to the other congregation of the church we attend in a neighbouring town, they do things very differently to how we usually have Sunday, around tables, more intimacy, not a lot of structure, people with ideas, feeling free to try them out, it felt good.


On Sunday night Tanya went to the youth worship, which was based on gospel music, Morgan came home singing ' Oh happy day'


Last night I went to a prayer meeting, it is usually for the area, but last night was devoted to street pastoring and I was there with others, representing street pastors, the meeting reminded me of meetings I had been to in the eighties, very spirit and prayer driven, it was great, different yet again and I got a real spiritual boost from it, at the end of the day I was turning up for prayer and you can't get too much of it.


Difference is good.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Contentment

I was randomly reading the bible last night, I found a group of psalms which were for pilgrims going up to Jerusalem, the reason I started reading them to be honest, was that they are short. I really liked psalm 131, which is a psalm of contentment, here it is;

1 LORD, my heart is not haughty,
Nor my eyes lofty.
Neither do I concern myself with great matters,
Nor with things too profound for me.
2 Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul,
Like a weaned child with his mother;
Like a weaned child is my soul within me.
3 O Israel, hope in the LORD
From this time forth and forever

In general, don't worry about the stuff that does not concern me, rest in God, hope in Him.

This week we were very skint, again.

This weekend we have had some envelopes through our door, we have had some gifts from others too. We have not advertised our skintness, I don't think we have, but God has provided, amazingly and abundantly. Don't worry, rest in Him.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

New Idea


Last Saturday, Tanya and I were thinking, what can we do more of as a family and yet still reach out more. Sort of making sure we are spending quality time with our children, but being open to other people coming along and joining in.


Saturdays can be a bit boring, especially with no money, snow and rain outside, a 12, 10 and 1 year old children, the house can suddenly feel a bit constricting. Tanya is quite good at the old creative stuff and there are games, but keeping everyone involved and enjoying themselves can be nigh on impossible. I suddenly thought of the church, with a lounge and a sports hall, a pool table and other things, which is nearly always closed and unused on Saturdays. I had a word with the church leader and manager, to see if we could use it.


So, as a family, on Saturday, we are going to take our lunch along and go and run about a bit inside, play some pool, etc, in a different environment, hopefully going to be good for us all, and on top of this, we started thinking, there are probably others, who may struggle as families on a Saturday, especially in the current cash strapped environment, and there may be other people who may just want to drop by and have a cup of tea and a chat.


We are going to tell lots of others what we are doing and if no one else turns up, no problem, we as a family are still there, if others do turn up, there can be a great social and family space, nothing organised, just family enjoying the space and resources of the church, in fact you might even call it church.


This is also an answer to one of the questions I asked myself the other day, how do you advertise intimacy?




Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Prayer Again

When I get up in the morning, I try to get up early and pray, but I am not a great morning person and can get easily distracted and my brain starts wandering off into all sorts of places. One of the things I try to do, if I am not really getting anywhere, other than deciding what will be for dinner, is to go back to the most basic way of prayer I know, the Lord's prayer.

What amazes me is how it covers so much. Yesterday, for instance, as I was saying, parenting is on my mind, and the first line of that prayer is ' My Father..', it makes me realise so much.

It then goes on, 'Holy be your name'- where am I using the name of Jesus, am I misusing it, am I bringing into everything, everychance, every conversation

' Your will be done..'- Am I being the hands and feet of Jesus, am I sharing His love, His ways to this world?

'Give us our daily bread'- Provide me with what I NEED.

'Forgive us.......'- I know I am a sinner, help me to show the mercy shown to me, to everyone else.

' Lead us not into..' -I am weak, I have an enemy, help.

' Yours is the power...' - It is all about you God, you are first.

I know it is simple, but it continues to help me, to know I can just go back to that and then I am able in my thought and speech to focus and say what I want to God.

To the anonymous commentor on self harm, I really hope you don't go back there, break the cycle, people do care, sounds easy just to say, I'm praying for you. Keep talking, one of the biggest problems is always the silence and taboo, break it. Never sounds enough, a few words on a blog, but there are others out there, shouting ' ME TOO' You aren't alone.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Consistency

One of my weaknesses I have become more aware as time has gone by, is my inconsistency, it is something I am desperate to change, not in a shameful, I feel so guilty sort of way, in the I am going to do something about this sort of way.

The biggest area of my inconsistency has been my parenting, I need to grow up, not stop having a laugh, being fun, but being more consistent in how I speak and the time I give my children. I have been a bit of a spoilt brat, looking for time for me on a lot of occasions, when I should have been putting my time into my children. I don't think I am a bad parent, I have just been at times, impatient, selfish and lazy. Must do better.

I also think this about my life in general. Following self, thinking about me and what I deserve, has been my downfall on so many occasions, and then no wonder why I have a temperament like a woman ( no offence ), but I can be very up and then very down. If there is no consistency and I can't get over myself, then there will always be a constant battle between my ego and my God.

It is God's way, not my way, I am getting there, in the happy way I need to, challenged, not shamed.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Some Questions

I feel great, excited and up for it, I just don't know what IT is???

I have had a great weekend, the YC had nearly 80 people on Friday night, exciting times. Tanya went to see her mum with the kids on Saturday, which means I got to watch uninterupted sport and read, very peaceful, lazy day, which I enjoyed thoroughly, then there was the snow.

Sunday is the best day for snow, more people can enjoy it rather than having to work in it, as I walked to church on Sunday, I was amazed by it, thinking of God sitting somewhere getting excited all over again about His creation.

I also did the Youth church on Sunday morning, on faith and works and loved it, I am going to do it more often and Sunday night was a continuing theme of alternative worship, which was really great.

So after that update, here are some questions that are running through my head.

How do you advertise intimacy? ( You want to be closer to people, but they don't know it)

Should we be looking at more space or less, or does more space give people places to hide?

Should mission be under one banner, does different activities spread a church thin, rather than a smaller group supported in being committed to mission in general?

Is there enough prayer? Is prayer a reflection of our desire for chasing after what God wants, is a lack of it an indication of where our priorities are?

How much am I ready for my life to be seriously interupted?

How does a young family become missional on its own?

Do we all need to take some white paint to our whole lives and start again, I mean really start again, different meal times and practices, throw out the TV, anything which is a routine, or a norm, change????

Church?

Friday, 21 November 2008

Celebrating

Following on from what I was saying about joy, I believe it is important to celebrate what I have, to run forward in expectation, to look at things in love. If I am not joyful, I am like a light under a veil, not fully hidden, but not shining as bright as I can.

This came up again and again in my small group last night. There are several of us reading John Ortberg's 'The life you've always wanted' as part of an older youth programme the church is running. In one of the chapters he talks about a DeeDah day, about the discipline of joy, about the relationships we don't and do have, the time we do and don't use, this was talked about last night, and there was loads in the bible to support our need to be more joyful, we are told to be joyful always. This isn't walking about with a permanent fixed grin, it is being aware of the life we have been given and living it.

This morning I was up early and I could hear the cockerels crowing, it really made me smile, to think they are declaring the beginning of a new day, a new day which belongs to God, He declares His mercies are new every morning, every morning.

I don't really know where God is leading me right now, I feel a need to be more missional and more outward looking, while being more intimate with those around me, I don't really know how to go about it, but thats ok, I am going to try and run, run like I'm running down a hill and can't stop, I know I'm doing things now which are exciting and new and God is in them, I don't know it all, I am going to run with joy anyway.

We have had a donation of some money for the YC and this week have bought a table football table ( That doesn't sound right) and an xbox 360 with fifa 09, and some other stuff for the PS2, I am well looking forward to tonight, I am going to share some joy.

I might finish the day with a beer and celebrate.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Joy


I can very easily start to take myself far too seriously, as I said yesterday, I'll soon jump on a bandwagon and start ranting, in fact I am very good at ranting and do it quite often. I then get caught up in something too much and lose my joy.

One of my favourite psalms is psalm 51, David writes asking God to restore the joy of his salvation.

I, in petty arguments, taking things far too seriously, worries and everyday life, sometimes ( probably a lot more than sometimes) forget the joy of my salvation.

I am saved, I will screw up again, I am saved, there will be more worries, I am saved, I have a life now like I have never had before, I am saved, I will not always agree with others, I am saved.

Not only should I hold on to that joy to remember who, how and what I am, but also to show the the rest of the world, who and how and what I am. Saved and joyful.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

In Spirit and in Truth

I have recently read a book by RT Kendall called 'The Anointing' and there is a point he makes in the last couple of chapters that has opened my eyes a bit, he explains that we must be open to the word and the spirit.

I have seen some people recently who are very spirit driven, desperate for more of the Spirit, wholeheartedly chasing after God, but some things that have been said are not biblical, they are not of the Word. I am not knocking anyone and try to make sure, especially before making a statement like that, that I am not just being proud and closed to the Spirit or the Word. I know an awful lot more people who can be so into their bibles, but not open to the spirit, and not be spoken to through the word, only use it to justify themselves or their position.

It may be hard to acknowledge and I really humbly acknowledge that I can jump on bandwagons and get caught up wanting to see more of the power of the spirit, without it being backed up by the word of God and there have probably been times that I have used the Word out of context, balance is needed, self searching is needed, time and prayer are needed. Test everything.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Questioning

I can be argumentative, it is not hard for me to start getting impatient or annoyed with someone spouting rubbish, or just spouting. In other words I get very quickly defensive and touchy when people start speaking stuff that is just not true and when people want to talk without substance, just to bring attention back to themselves.

I try to question what I am hearing, but in this, am I becoming cynical and unable to be taught. I have tried lately to shut up more, it is important. It is important to listen and be open, even when I am being told something which is uncomfortable, that is in fact what I am afraid of missing out on, God telling me to sort myself out in some way and me being too proud to notice or take it on board. So I pray for more discernment, knowing when something is from God and when it isn't.

I want to act correctly though when I hear rubbish, I am still unsure how to do this without causing huge waves and pain, is there always a way, sometimes is it best to be blunt. Just after I became a christian, I got a picture of a sledgehammer knocking down a wall, and I believe that God wants me to be His sledgehammer at times, I just want to make sure I knock down the right walls. I have written and rewritten this post loads for all sorts of reasons, I hope I am understood.

Friday, 14 November 2008

ME

Moving was stressful, it really wasn't that bad, it was quite easy, unrushed and we had plenty of help, but I managed to become mr mood. I have over the last few weeks become very snappy and lose my temper very quickly, mainly it has been me not communicating how I feel and then losing it at people for not noticing, I can be a bit spoilt like that and start to feel sorry for myself, especially if I am doing loads and I don't feel supported. Instead of asking for help, I let things boil up and then I blow.

This is something I really have to get into my thick head, how can I serve efficiently and properly if I have to whinge, I'm not serving then, I'm being a drain, sitting there saying what about me, am I serving myself or others? Do I seek recognition from man or God? Am I wanting people to come and help so they can see how hard I am trying and doing? When really I could do so much more, if I didn't get so caught up in me and waste so much energy on being negative.

I know God made me big and loud, excitable, encouraging and fun, with a big heart, when I am a moody, angry and selfish, all those good traits might not as well be there, because no one can see them. I think God, as He is changing where we live and what we do, is challenging me to look at me, and start being what He wants me to be, which is the 'who' I really am ( I hope that makes sense).

I love the film Chariots of Fire, and especially Eric Liddel, here comes the quote

Eric Liddell: I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.

Change fast for passionate or encouraging or a singer, or writer, or speaker, or tea maker, or.......

Thursday, 13 November 2008

TV

I watched some TV last night, some quite contrasting viewing. I was in with the kids, Tanya out helping one of her friends with something, so I got everyone settled and sat down to watch a documentary on Prince Charles. I am a bit of a royalist and I think the queen has been great, consistent and has set a great example, Charles can be so easily judged, so I am going to try not to. I saw a man last night of passion and drive, using who and what he is to try to help and make a difference, in a difficult position of having to always trying to remain unbiased and nonjudgemental. A similar position that christians are in and although I do not agree with his desire to be a defender of faiths, as I see it as a bit of a contradiction, and I don't really know where he is spiritually, I was a bit inspired last night, what can be done if we do not rest, we dream, and get out there and see what is going on.

The contrast in viewing happened when I flicked over to see on channel 4 what is being done in the name of Jesus in Nigeria. Young children being denounced as witches and wizards by christian pastors, of scared families dumping, torturing or murdering their children because of these lies. I cry to see children being hurt in this way and after getting very angry, all I can say is that Jesus said anyone who causes one of these young to stumble, would be better to go and tie a millstone around their neck and jump in the sea. These pastors are relying on superstition, they, on many occasions claim they can help, but charge huge fees, I just get so frustrated even writing this down, I will name ' liberty foundation gospel ministries' as one of the perpetrators of this practice, how can they use the words gospel and liberty in their name, I do not know. I have to hold back, because I am aware that God can defend Himself, I just get so upset by the evil done in His name and the damage it does.

I then watched Heroes, it is the programme, that Tanya and I watch together, and she made it home in time, I am also speaking on heroes next month, hope its good.

My night of TV done for the week.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

I'm Back

I am back, the internet has been switched on at this, my new address. It has been frustrating not being online, but also quite freeing, as in not being so dependent on being online, a forced break from checking in on emails and blogs and facebook and loads of other things that have managed to work their way into my routine.

There was one problem, I was waiting to hear from the prison service about how I got on with their recruitment day, I ended up going to the library to find out that I have passed that part of the selection process. Which is great, but now I have to wait for the vetting procedure, which involves credit and medical checks, which have me a bit concerned, all in Gods hands.

I do also find I have a bit to catch up on, people to get back in touch with, things to sort out. I wonder if I could break from the internet voluntarily for a period of time, that will be a challenge of mine next year. I will hopefully be able to update more tomorrow, but for now, there is plently to praise God about, and He is doing so much.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Light

God is good, the house is sorted, we move in on Saturday. If you look back to about three weeks ago, you will see that things were looking increasingly desperate, all options closed. We have a house to move to, not everything is sorted, but there is more and more light, I have this job thing tomorrow and I keep getting calls from people about possible jobs, loads of light. I follow light, that is what Jesus is, and right now all I have to say is PRAISE HIM.

I have such a busy time from now till next week sometime, I am even tempted to drop some bits off, but we will see, I probably won't have the time or resources ( the computer has to move as well) to blog for a while. Thankyou to anyone who has prayed, you know who you are, God answers prayer, speak soon.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Stuff

I have been and will be very busy over the next few weeks, trying to get things sorted. We lose the house next week, so yesterday and today we have been really trying to sort out where exactly we will be living, hopefully we will find out today if we have a house to go to, and if everything is to the positive. God is really helping, I am sure all will be fine, some people have really stepped up to the plate and acted as the family we are meant to be as christians, there is always hope when we have God.

I have an assessment day with the prison service on Friday, with the intention of being a prison officer, so that is looking positive, Tanya's course is going well, so soon she will be able to start cutting hair for MONEY, haha. I have met with the education authority this week over Morgan's education, so that is looking more positive, if we get the house we hope then Mason's schooling will not be upset, especially as he is doing so well and played for the school football team again yesterday, even though he is the year below, so he is doing well. Turaya is fantastic, we are having a great time together, she is very switched on and her conversation skills aged only 20months are fantastic.

I really feel God has said for me to just concentrate on getting us moved right now, I literally have to put the one hundred ideas running around my head to one side, and get us all resettled.

That is the news for now.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Ambition

I really want to make a difference, I really want to be used by God, in the biggest way He can use me, I really want God to explode through me into the world, I would love to be doing things internationally, I would love to speak more, I want to see God move in big ways and see loads of expressions of Him, I want to see mircales and lost, sad and empty people, meet with God.

There are an awful lot of I's in that last sentence. I am asking myself right now, if God just asks me to be here now and do what I am doing faithfully and steadily for the rest of my life, serving in the ways I am doing now, can I do it, am I alright with that. Even writing that sounds really condescending to those who serve in small ways that I do not, and I think that is the point. I don't know if I am going to be able to do or see all the things written above, but my desire is that I will, but I should be ready to serve in which ever way God wants me to, He will use me to the best of my ability, and that may mean that I do what I am doing now, and I continue to do it the best I can, as long as I am doing it, because to be perfectly honest, that may be because I would not really be very good at the things I would love to do in my head, my dreams are beyond what I am capable of and I do not want to be promoted to my level of incompetence, I want to be useful and ready to serve and be led in which ever area I am involved in.

I follow a God, who came and served, I want to serve wherever, and I should be grateful that I am allowed along for the ride that He has in store.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Booze

For a long time I have drank an awful lot, even in my old work, I was known for drinking too much, amongst some guys who were big drinkers, I held and probably still do hold a number of records for drinking large amounts of alcohol in certain establishments, not that I could hold my drink that well, I just did not know when to stop, so I just kept going, which resulted in me being in some of the darkest wholes in my life, waking and not knowing where I was, waking and having complete blackouts from the previous night, causing all sorts of pain and embarrassment to loads around me, of course to some, I was always the life and soul.

The amount of times I have awoken, wishing that the night before would never have happened or hoping for a big whole to swallow me up, suddenly frightened, ashamed and guilty, not knowing if I would have a marriage or friends anymore. Scary isn't it. I am glad to say, it has been years now, since I woke feeling like that, it has been years since I last caused destruction and mayhem.

I still like a drink. When I used to drink a lot, which was every night, I used to wake up a lot in the morning and say to myself, have a night off, don't drink tonight, wake up fresh tomorrow. Half way through the day or even into the evening, I would find an excuse to go and buy a beer or two, until Jesus.

I like having a social drink or a beer at the end of the day, but sometimes I get that thing in my head, which says go on, drink tomorrow and the next day and the next, it is ok. I cannot serve two masters. It was Jesus that saved me, I didn't know how to sleep without a beer until Him, I didn't know you could be sober on a Friday and Saturday night and still have a good time. So I like a beer, but I have to watch to make sure I stay in control and that Jesus remains my master.

It is amazing writing this, because it reminds me once again, where I was, empty and in dark places. I have so much less now, the world would say, yet I feel so much more alive and full.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Lust

Difficult subject to talk about, it shouldn't be but it is, anyway I was not sure how to write about this, so I have gone to how Jesus responded to women, to explain myself.

Firstly, when Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well, the woman who had been married five times and was living with another man, a woman with a reputation, He spoke to the person, He spoke to her heart. The danger with lust is you stop seeing people, you only see their body and you only think of that person in your terms of what is going on in your mind, you fail to see the person. Then you bring that into the home and can even stop seeing the person you are with as a person, and start seeing them as an object. Subtle destruction, where a relationship is not then built on all the things it is meant to be, love, respect, friendship, intimacy, etc.., it is built on what someone can get out of it, selfish desire, what the world says you deserve, rather than being a relationship.

I can write that again, but I won't , with everytime I have written 'you', I can put 'I'.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Destruction

I am writing here about some issues that are being heavily highlighted in my life right now and my thoughts on the whys and wherefores. I do not feel in a place of guilt or shame and this is about me, not anyone else. That is the disclaimer out of the way, I want to generally talk about my issues with anger and lust today, they are related in the way they destroy, but one is obvious, the other subtle.

When I get angry, it must be scary, I am loud, I stomp about like an indian on the warpath, I am very in the face of the person I am angry with, I am unpredictable, I don't really know what is going to happen, same as the now probably scared individual who I have lost it with. I have most likely lost my temper with someone in my immediate family, my wife or my sons. I used to be known for going off at anyone, pub, car, work. Now it is just at home and this is not something that happens every week, just every now and again, I come to the end of my tether and snap. I am not physically violent by the way, I just snap, shout very loudly, storm around, I might slam a door, I will say things I don't mean. People will cry, I will be getting angrier because I have got angry, then for hours or maybe days after, I have a cloud over my head, of shame and guilt.

This is destructive to my wife and kids, the unpredictability, the anger. It is not the right way to act, or to teach my children, it is upsetting. For my family it may seem to be over very quickly, but then they have to deal with the bear with a sore head for the next day or two. I am very honest about my feelings with my children, they know how I feel about anger, how I feel about losing my temper, I know how they feel, they are honest enough to tell me. That at least is healthy. I still walk about after losing my temper, carrying my shame and guilt, like some sort of penance, that is the unhealthiest part. This is so destructive to me and those around me, carrying shame and guilt, especially since I have been set free from it, set free by the death of God's own son, and I have the audacity, when everyone else is moving on, when everyone else has forgotten and forgiven, to drag it on because I have not forgiven myself. I will read this back to me later, to see if it goes in. I am doing well with my anger, very rarely I lose it, but it needs to be not there and if it is I need to put it at God's feet and move on, not looking back, learning, not dwelling.

I will write about lust tomorrow, because I have gone on a bit and I am a bit unsure how to write about lust honestly, we will see.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Me Again

I am in a bit of a bad mood right now, I can't get into my emails, and there is something there I need to prepare for Sunday, so just a bit frustrated, but I'm ok.

I have loads of things I want to write about, maybe some I shouldn't, maybe some I should, but just being honest, I want to write what I am going through right now, this is my journal as well as a blog. I haven't yet, but I want to look back over all my blogs and see if I have changed, if I have grown.

That is what I feel is happening to me right now, I am having a bit of a growth spurt, not in some uber spiritual, because God loves me more than you, I am doing so much way. In a, have you looked at yourself, these things need dealing with sort of way.

The job, money, house are gone or going, but what about me? What am I holding onto inside of me. It is like God moves closer and through the light you see more dirty bits, like a vanish advert, where you think you are wearing a white tshirt and then you stand next to someone whose shirt is really white and you look an off grey colour.

This is not a guilt or shame thing, this is not me needing to be perfect, because I'll never get there, this is God saying, is that healthy John, is that good for you? What damage does that do? Where are you going? Why are you doing that?

These areas for me are anger, lust, alcohol, self ambition, people pleasing and judging.

Obviously, if you wanted a list of my faults, they would be much longer, I have loads and God is probably asking me more than this as well. These are just some questions I think God is asking me right now, I think over the next few days I will tell you my thoughts on these matters, not some running commentary of how I am doing or how I have been healed, just some of my whys and problems and thoughts.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Night

I could not sleep last night, I was tossing and turning, I got up and walked around. You know when you get something stuck in your head and you cannot shake it, and you have managed to justify the way you feel completely and keep on fueling the fire, I say you know, you may never have thought like this before, but this was me last night, arguing, whining, self justifying and and generally feeling sorry for myself.

I walked outside, I prayed, I calmed down, I really struggled, then as I was walking past the table in our kitchen, there was the bible, I picked it up and just asked God for something, and He delivered.

I opened the bible up, I can't tell you the exact place, although it was in Nehemiah, but it is not relevant to what I am saying. Anyway, God did not give me some, don't worry verse, or something particularily reassuring, He actually reminded me, of what I had been and where I had been, He just sort of put the ball firmly back in my court about what was going on in my head. It sort of brought me to a dead stop, the arguments and self justification in my head, vanished, I went to bed and slept.

I was very tired this morning and I felt like I was in battle last night, I was, God won. I feel back on the crest of the wave, with a God who is right and just and so very clever, and knows and loves me so well.

Monday, 13 October 2008

The weekend

I had been looking forward to this weekend for ages, knowing I was not doing anything, I was looking forward to relaxing and not doing anything. A rarity for weekends.

You see, I have found that my weekends are really busy, I am up and running about, it is great, I usually feel great too, come Tuesday, when everything is quiet and I am back with just me and the baby, I find myself quite down and then get to Thursday and I start going up again.

This week was the same, but to be perfectly honest, I have been a bit of a grump and I have found myself quite short tempered, very short tempered, this morning I feel a bit down, because even though I had a nice weekend, I did not feel very happy about the way I was over the weekend. All one big circle, that has to be broken, easier said than done.

I don't want big highs and big lows, I don't mind the highs but the lows are annoying, I want consistentcy and some balance, which is hard to get at the moment. I think this morning I am having a bit of a blurb, actually using blogging for what it is meant for, just throwing feelings out on the web, because that is how I feel, a bit confused, a bit down, a bit grumpy, a bit feeling sorry for myself, apprehensive and unsure.

I will try to give it all to God, but I will probably try picking it up again myself, blah blah blah.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Christian bubbles

When I came back to God, through years of doing my own thing, it was away from the place I had lived most of my life, I moved to this town of Diss, and it is here that I rededicated my life to God, it is here that He filled me with His spirit and brought me to a point of no return. Really, He moved me to a place where I would be more responsive to Him, a place where I would be able to grow in Him, grow strong, learn, grow up, put down roots. This is what He continues to do and I would love it if I can stay here for ages more, who knows, that is in God's hands. Though, at some point I will have to move on, I believe I will have to get uncomfortable again in some other place. But I will be moving from a place of strength, moving with the backing of home and family, and in the meantime, there are plenty of things He wants me to do, plenty of ares to get uncomfortable, I am still learning.

Sometimes I see the church like this, in a bubble, in a place of safety and strength, not willing to step out and be uncomfortable. It is like we are in the world but not of the world, but actually the church says, we are not in the world or of the world, we cannot relate or understand, we are in our bubble, it is very nice, it is dirty outside and we would rather keep the place clean.

We have a place of strength, I want to step out and I really feel God is calling His people back onto the streets en masse, to be where He would be.

Lets burst the bubble.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Be Still

I have written a blog before on being still and knowing that God is God, I especially wrote on the God being God bit. Today I wanted to write about the being still.

I pray, I like to pray, I pray loudly, I call out, I praise God, I have a running commentary with God throughout the day, trying to keep in touch with Him, I also struggle in prayer and some mornings, especially mornings, it seems like such a struggle and it is hard not to get repetitive, praying about the same things in the same way, sometimes it is hard just to concentrate, without going off into what I am going to be doing today, or working out for God how He can sort out the situation I am praying for. Sometimes I say the Lords prayer in my own way, to keep me focused. I might praise God, plead with God, share with God, but do I listen to God.

This is meant to be a two way relationship, yet it involves an awful lot of talking done by me. I read the bible, and when I am praying, like on Monday, God just sometimes speaks or shares, but how often do I just stop.

How often do I just stay still and like psalm 40 says wait on God, how often do I make prayer about Him, instead of me, how often do I just rest in Him, how often do I listen out for the still small voice, or do I just get wrapped up in being loud, in being wordy, in being needy, in prayer being about me.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Passing on the Baton

The title of this blog has so many connotations, so many areas in my life where I can place this expression. Passing on the baton is one of the things which drives me, funnily enough, not me passing it on, me grabbing hold of what is passed to me and running with it.

I do worry that if I am not there with arm outstretched ready to sprint for my life, that the baton will pass to someone else, that if I cannot be what God wants me to be, then He will get someone else to do it, I don't want someone else to do it, I want to, not in some spoilt brat way ( although I am sure that is something to do with it), but simply, not on my watch, not while I can, not while I should.

There are some movements within the church right now, movements of God's people back onto the streets where they should be, movements for more intimacy and community within the church so it is able to step out stronger, movements to break down tradition, in favour of following where God wants us to be.

I do not want to be left behind, I want to be in there, seeing what God is doing, doing what God wants me to do, being part of where His spirit is leading, sprinting with the baton.

I also want to know, when the time comes, when it is time to pass the baton on, I really pray now, that those who are carrying a baton now, will pass it on.

I want to leave you with RT Kendall's number 8 reason for why you may be a pharisee;

We esteem ' the way we've always done it' above change
even when the latter is not heretical.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Sharing Miracles

It has been really encouraging to hear this last week of other peoples stories, who have been in a similar position to us, I have said it before, but one of the most encouraging things one christian can say to another in times of weakness or need is, me too.

My Dad was telling me that just after I was born, we as a family, were in a very similar position to the one me and my family are in now, the house was sold, there was nowhere to go. On the final day, somebody came forward with a house for us to stay in, which worked out lovely as a stopgap, before we moved to Craigavon, into a council house.

A couple of other people have told me of times when suddenly references, credit checks and deposits were not needed, when they should have been, even this morning someone was telling me about the adoption of their child, which should have taken 3-4 years and they were told that they would probably not get a baby, which is what they wanted, within 10 months, they were bringing their baby son home. God moves.

On Sunday, some friends of ours said to us, that if we do not have somewhere to live by the time we are made homeless, they will move in with his mum, and we can stay in their house!!!! They have 2 kids of their own, they are a young family too. Such love. I just did not know what to say. God is big.

I worry for those people going through the same as us, without God or His family, we are blessed to have both.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Such Love

I have had a pretty good weekend, things have felt ok, and there have been some really wonderful expressions of being in God's family this weekend that I will probably talk about in another post. I have made a couple of notes on things that I want to write about, I will probably have to leave them until I get bloggers block, because over the last few days things keep popping in my head and actually staying there, so they are probably more important.

I sort of made a decision yesterday, that I was really going to try to push more and more into God this week, I just want more of Him, I want to fill in gaps where I put other stuff, with Him and honestly I would really like to know what His plan is right now and if He wouldn't mind sharing it with me.

I started to speak to God today and really ask for forgiveness, that if me giving up my job, was just me being selfish, then I am sorry, and I just desperately want to follow Him, because sometimes I do feel that I have got myself into a mess and am now relying on God to get me out of it. He knows my heart, thankfully.

As I continued to pray this morning I got a song going round in my head

' This is Jesus, in His glory
King of Heaven, dying for me
It is finished, He has done it
Death is beaten, Heaven beckons me
Such love, such love is this for me'

Jesus died because He loves me, He has not just died, then I will see Him in Heaven, He continues to love me, He continues to be with me, He is not going to leave me or stop loving me, I am in His hands, everything will be ok.

I've put the song on my youtube thingy.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Laughter

You have probably noticed there are a few things going on in my life right now, over the last few posts I have shared what is happening in my life right now, and it does not exactly look good. I have also shared the fact that I know God is with me, He is in charge and up to something He has not told me about yet. I will also confess that I am not always up about this situation, but I can sometimes worry, get frustrated and down.

One of the biggest things I was worrying about yesterday was the reaction of my sons, I know they love living where we are, I also was worrying that they would blame God and start being resentful and bitter and where would that lead?
Well they were great, absolutely no problem, they have started to get excited about where we will be next, although they would like to stay as close to Diss as possible. God takes care of it all, He said, as I said the other day ' do not worry', He means it.

I was thinking about my childrens reaction yesterday evening and I started to laugh an laugh and laugh, this morning every now and then I just start laughing. Laughing is good, I love laughing, I am even doing a youth service soon on laughter, and right now I feel God hs given me laughter.

So, for once doing a bit of research for my blog, I typed laughter into 'Biblegateway' and got some verses and these two jumped out as the most relevant;

Job 8:21He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.

Psalm 126:2Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, "The LORD has done great things for them."

Laugh.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Well.........

Number one, I have made some notes of things I have going on in my head for some future blogging, so hopefully, from the one word titles I have written down, I will remember what I was thinking, I'll try. Seems to be my favourite words, I try.

Number two, today a possession order has been granted on our house for 28 days time. Everything was very polite, very sympathetically done, I could offer no defence, the judge told me, in a very fatherly way, that the world is not finished with me yet and I should look at training and education, but they will have to take the house.

The council have not a lot to offer and consider our debts and my decision about work, as intentionally making ourselves homeless, therefore getting a house from them is now looking distinctly difficult, on top of that no one seems to want to rent to someone who has been repossessed, unless we can put loads of money down up front, if we had that money, we wouldn't be getting our house taken away. Not a lot of options.

So there is only God, probably that is the point, when you have nothing left, there is God, when it is all gone, that is all we can cling onto. When I gave in my notice at work, in January, I really felt God say to me, now you have given your life to me. Well now there is no job or house or some other things, my life is in His hands. I feel ok, why worry, Jesus told us not to, I am just on a fast track learning scheme, wondering what is going to happen next and quite enjoying the ride. Praise God, I am His.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

?

I have ideas and thoughts all the time about things I want to write down or get off my chest, I then don't make a note of it, I then forget it when I am sitting here in front of the computer, and then I either splurge out randomly, something comes to mind, or I don't write anything. I do enjoy blogging, just throwing random thoughts out there, thinking out loud, making notes for a later date. I should probably start carrying a notebook.

Tomorrow I am in court, for a hearing on the repossession of my house. I feel ok, although it is a bit daunting. I know God will provide, I know He will be with me, it may sound funny to anyone without faith, but I know He has a plan and has been in everything we as a family, have been doing and going through, that has been my desperate prayer, that He be in it and with us, I do worry about the boys and how they are going to handle things, I really pray they will get it, not resent it, resentment leads to such dark places.

I do feel that we are now standing at one of those points, where God asks the big questions. I have applied for so many jobs, I have had loads of interviews, and believe it or not, I am good at interviews ( although the evidence does not seem to support this ) anyway, I have no job. The house is soon to go, the debts continue to back up, and the financial advisors are starting to talk about bankruptcy, the funding for Morgans schooling has disappeared, if we move, Mason will not be able to go to the school that he loves so much, if we go bankrupt, Tanya will not be able to do the hairdressing course.

This is not a depressive blog, I sit here smiling, just about to take my daughter to 'mothers' and toddlers, I have money in my pocket and we all have each other. More than this, I am not alone, God is with me and I when I have nothing, I just want to praise Him, it is all I can do. I know where I was and I know where I am. I am not trying to sound uber spiritual, sometimes, a lot of times, I am down and it is hard, but I know He is there, wherever, whatever, it will be ok, in fact, with God, I am sure it will be great.

Pray.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

More Barrier Breaking

At the youth meeting the other night, we watched the nooma episode ' Lump ' . Brilliant. He explains that nothing we can do will make God love us any less, nothing can seperate us from God, loosely based on Romans 8: 38-39, It was really good. We then watched a film of an event at an american church, where people came on to the stage with a piece of card, with a written confession or illness or weakness on it. They then turned it over to reveal what God had changed that into. For instance, a woman diagnosed with incurable cancer in 2000, alive and well in 2008, an addict, now clean, etc.........

A real show of how God turns darkness into light, how shame and guilt have no hold over His people. At our meeting, we then did the same. Such great honesty was shown by so many people, these pieces of card, with so much pain and crap, and dark places that was written down and shown to everyone was such a victory. Then to see on the other side of these pieces of paper the way God had turned these situations around, was phenomenal.

Barriers broken down, shame and guilt destroyed, Jesus at work.

As a wonderful footnote, the young girl who came to church on Sunday, has given her life to Jesus.Victory...........

Monday, 29 September 2008

Friday night, Sunday morning

The YC was on Friday night as usual, it has started to get busier again now the fair has gone, no problem with it being quieter, as we have found we have had time to be more relational with those that have come.
We have had a guy who comes along who, without being inappropriate, has had a rough deal in life, has had it harder than most and carries those scars with him. I don't want to go into details, but all we have done is listened and show him a bit of Jesus. When he came on Friday, he said he would like to come on Sunday morning to church and he did, with his girlfiend, and at the end of the service, both went to the front and were prayed for.

The thing is, number one, I did not see that coming, God is so big

Number two, even if he does not come again, that is a barrier broken down, victory.

Number three, we can only do so much, God does the real work, He saves.

I really feel I am seeing God break through in so much right now, He is breaking through, touching hearts, getting people thinking, challenging, I am excited, even though He is challenging me big time, I am so glad that I am along for the ride, what a life !!!!!

Friday, 26 September 2008

counselling

I will be very careful here, but I am not a big fan of counselling. You know what I mean, the sit in a room and somebody listens to you for years going over the same thing, and repeats certain words back to you, to show they are listening counselling.

I have a strong belief that counselling should be a process, there should be a goal, or at least the counselling should come to an end, or there fails to be a point to it, and I have to say, especially in christian circles. Jesus was declared wonderful counselor ( Isaiah 9: 6 ) , He also died for the grief and shame and guilt that we carry in this world, so that we do not carry it anymore. I can understand someone needing to be led through that process and I am also aware that we all carry things that we shouldn't, that some things leave scars and these things are not easily dropped. But that is the deal, Jesus gave His life so that we brought to all to him and leave it there, not carry around a burden.

There is also the point of the victim mentality, the counselling addicts, the poor me syndrome of ' If people do not understand what has happened to me, they will not understand me, they will not accept or excuse me.' ' Who is going to pay for what has happened to me' ' Why can't I blame' 'If no one listens to me, am I worth anything'

I don't say any of this without sympathy or trying to understand, but knowing the reailty that forgiveness, worth, love, understanding, acceptance only come through Jesus. Easy for me to say, harder to do.............

Thursday, 25 September 2008

I am quite busy at the moment, sorry for the lack of blogging, I am also a bit frustrated, when I want to be busier, but then I will have the baby with me, or no car, or nothing I am really meant to be doing. I spoke tonight with the baby sitting at a nearby table eating ice cream, she was happy enough. I do like having the baby and funnily enough having to walk, and it is good to rest, I just have to try to get the balance.

I love this quote from 'I Am Legend'

Neville: [talking to Anna about Bob Marley] He had this idea. It was kind of a virologist idea. He believed that you could cure racism and hate... literally cure it, by injecting music and love into people's lives. When he was scheduled to perform at a peace rally, a gunman came to his house and shot him down. Two days later he walked out on that stage and sang. When they asked him why - He said, "The people, who were trying to make this world worse... are not taking a day off. How can I? Light up the darkness."

I want to be busier, but in the right way, I hope I am learning.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Do you believe He can do it?

Sorry I have not been blogging, just didn't feel like it and I have had a bit on. I am finding that the middle of the week, like right now, is quiet and then from Thursday onwards everything goes manic. I think Monday may become my new day of rest.

I have been reading Matthew again lately, and there was a wonderful thng that Jesus said that just jumped out at me. In Matthew 9: 27- 30, Jesus is confronte by these 2 blind guys, who ask Jesus to have mercy on them. Jesus replies 'Do you believe that I am able to do this?'

I just think that maybe I am being asked that question right now, maybe others are too. Whatever my mess or anyone elses, do I believe that He is able to turn it all around, that He is able to perform a miracle.

I was looking at rain the other day, sounds weird, but it just got me, God made it. A friend of mine said to me the other day he was looking at the sky, and he was thinking 'God made that'
The God I know is a God of daily miracles, of creation and miracles beyond my understanding, whatever the small things I am going through, I believe He can sort it out, He can do it.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Different Faces





These are images of me and how I would appear if I was afro caribbean, east asian, a woman ( with stubble ) a manga cartoon and finally my favourite, a painting by El Greco. I have used quite an old photo of me and must get an up to date one, but what a great bit of fun, which can remind us all of the diversity of the world and how that should be celebrated. here is the website.
http://morph.cs.st-andrews.ac.uk/Transformer/uploadLocal.php, Enjoy, I am getting better at putting on links, hopefully this one will work.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

New Gimmick

I have been sent an email this week, referring me to a website that attaches to this blog and any bible verses I write in, now come with a cool pop up, with the entire verse on it. It makes me feel very sophisticated and professional, even though I know I am not ( I am watching my ego ).

Anyway in celebration of my new toy here are some cool bible verses to get your teeth into.

Revelation 1:10, I want to have days when I am just 'in the spirit'

Ephesians 1:3-14, I am an adopted child of the creator of the universe

Acts 3: 1-10, I want to have the faith to step out in Jesus name

1 John 1: 16, I love because I am loved.


On a different note, I got a text this morning requesting me to pray for Christians in Bangalore, who people are planning to kill today, people today will die because of their love for Jesus. Jesus said it would happen, He said we would be persecuted for Him, He said to be joyful, we will be blessed through persecution ( Matthew 5 ) .
It is so easy to say to be joyful, in our comfortable freedom, while others suffer, I pray that when it comes to me being joyful, when I am being oppressed, I can be. It also reminds me, not to be so silly about how I declare the name of Jesus in this bit of the world. People are dying for His name, I can and will be loud.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Training

Tanya and I have signed up to do street pastoring in the local city of Norwich, we started our training on Saturday, it has been a busy weekend, but God has made it easy to do, babysitting and travel have all fallen into place very easily.

I have problems with training environments, I get bored easily, or I try to lead the group, or of course there is the old playing the class clown role I like. I was really pleased with myself for doing none of the above on Saturday, although I did struggle with the after lunch spot, it was interesting for me to see a group of people who are not trying to make it about themselves. Tanya remarked that there were no egos. There should not be, it is an area I struggle with, because I have a huge ego, but I know about it and fight the urge to make it all about me. I find myself nowadays being quieter in groups, to allow others to talk and have an opinion, although I will still be passionate and vocal when the time comes and I am probably still very overpowering and intimidating to some. There are selfish things in me that God wants to get rid of, but I am sure He wants me to be loud and bold and passionate for Him too, it is finding the balance and making sure my focus is about and on Jesus, not me.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Dirty

The youth cafe started again on Friday night, it was quite quiet, the fair was also on and we only had twenty something youngsters, which was still good, and to be perfectly honest, it i nice to get back into things slowly. Also on Friday night there was a prayer meeting going on and I was a bit concerned about the two clashing. Well they did. Probably as God planned they would.

A young lad from the youth cafe, who had obviously had a few beers, stumbled into the prayer meeting, one of the guys thought he might be lost and spoke with him outside, I came to speak to him. He was adamant that he wanted to see what was going on, he wanted to go into the service. Honestly, my first thought was, no, this drunk lad should not be going in and interupting this prayer meeting. I really had to fight it. I told him of course he could go in, one of the youth workers would go in with him and explain what was going on. He went in, people came and prayed for him, he sang along to songs, he came out and had a chat with me. He said he knew he had to do something to turn his life around and he would consider coming along to another meeting. A real barrier was broken down. The young guy will no longer not know what goes on in church, people know him, the people there have an idea now of what goes on on a Friday night and the need that is there, people also have an idea of what dirty church means, I am so proud of their reaction to a drunk youth off the streets, sitting in a prayer meeting, it is the reality of this world and the church needs to be ok with the so called scum drifting in and engaging and asking and being themselves. It is where Jesus was, with the tax collectors and prostitutes, the beggars and the lepors. In the dirty places, showing love, not judging, being honest. In power.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

What is Left?

I was watching a documentary last night on 9/11, I am sure there will be loads on over this period, I am sure there will be loads of blogs written. I remember so much about that day.

On this documentary last night, there was a guy, who escaped from the hotel under the twin towers, helped someone else to escape and then found out his sister and niece had been on one of the planes. He then went on to say that his faith had got stronger through what had happened.

It is interesting, that some people, when life throws all it can at you, cry out 'God , why me', or who then cannot believe in God because of what they have been through. It is why Job is in the bible, everything taken away, but still subject to God.

There are other people that when life hits a mountain, like the guy in the documentary, when everything has gone wrong, when everything has gone, when there is nothing left, cry out and say ' God, I have nothing left but you', 'You are all I have', ' God if I did not have you, I do not know what I would do.'

I desperately want to be in the second category, that when I have nothing left, I pray I can call out and say 'God, I know you are with me'

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Jesus Loves You

Over the summer I read Run Baby Run by Nicky Cruz, I had bought the book for any youth who wanted to read it about 6 months ago, but I thought I would give it read too. Well I hadn't read it, and then when we were going away to the in laws, I noticed it and thought I would take it with me and read it, well I took it with me, but I didn't read it. The last night we were there, I was up late on my own and I put on the God channel, after watching somone else preach, I flicked to another channel and there was David Wilkerson preaching ( He is the minister in the book) and I thought I should really read that book. The next day I started it and was enthralled, especially with the parallels with today. We then went to the Boiler Room in Stanford, which once again was a fantastic time, but I forgot my book, I went into the prayer room, and there on the bottom shelf of a bookcase, on its own, was Run Baby Run, someone had placed a post it on it, saying 'READ NOW' so I did.

The YC for the Diss youth starts again on Friday night. I am looking forward to it, seeing all the youth again, building those relationships, being stressed and having a laugh. I really feel though that these young people need to know something. It is great getting them in the church building, but what good does that do them, most of them do not realise they are in a church. We are showing Jesus' love, but there are plenty of 'good' people in the world, what makes us different, to the young people, we just run the youth club.

The young people are just the same as in Nicky Cruz' time, not fitting in, not loved, not wanted, belonging to each other, expressing themselves with violence, building a brotherhood of brothers in arms to make up for the lack of family, being wanted, trying to find the missing love by giving their bodies to each other, trying to forget it all and trying to be happy by getting lost in drink and drugs, and having no idea who God is. The same then as it is now. Then the same message is true now as it was to Nicky Cruz and the MauMaus then. That is what I would like to express to youth coming through the doors at the YC, through posters, some music and not being afraid to say it in those conversations that we have. This is not a ram it down the throat thing, this is just to be a truth thing.

'Jesus Loves You'

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

The Anti Hero

Why is it there are people in stories and movies, who we like, that are not nice, in fact there are people in movies that are down right nasty or evil and we like them, we cheer for them, we want them to win and they are downright evil. I am thinking of characters like Hannibal Lector, or the Corleones in The Godfather, or in a recent film I watched called 'In Bruges' , a very unsuitable, funny, dark film with an anti hero in the form of a Colin Farrell.

Is it the case that these people are fighting something more evil, we find we have to take sides so we choose the lesser of two evils, is it just that the author or director has given the monster a human side, they explain a backround or circumstances that we accept, when in the real world most people would string up a monster before asking why they are.

Is it that we see someone evil, almost being the good guy and it gives us hope, is it that within every person, no matter who they are or what they have done, there is such a thing as redemption. Of course in the movies redemption is found in saving someone else or the realisation of a life that has only destroyed other lives, and turning away from it. I suppose in a way they are nearly there.

I will be very basic now, but it is the greatest fact that Jesus saves when we turn away from what we were and trust him, and it is even an invite open to anti heroes.

Monday, 8 September 2008

200

This is my 200th post, I am quite pleased with myself, it is an achievement, and at the moment, or not just at the moment, anytime, any victory should be celebrated, no matter how small it is. I was going to write a post about antiheroes, but I will have to do that another day, since this is a special post, I want to write something happier, so I am going to write about me and where I am.

In the eyes of the world, I am failing desperately, I do not know what is going to happen, I do not know where my family and I will be living in about 6 weeks, there are a lot of things I do not know, I am sure there are a lot of things none of us know. I am going to write something happier, don't worry.

I will tell you what I do know, I know that I am the much loved adopted son of the creator of the universe. I know that, I am sure of that. So the things in the world aren't right, I am in His hands and He is God, I have and will probably continue to sin, He has forgiven me and does not want me walking about under the shadow of guilt or shame, He has set me free from that. I belong to God, He is in control. I know it is an oft used verse, but it is a verse that hung on the wall of my house growing up, and I really get it more and more now, Romans 8:28 ' And we know that all things work together for the good of them that love God.'

I will have moments of being down, moments of guilt and shame, moments of worry, but I seriously know that all things are working together for good, it is all in His plan and in His hands. So celebrate every victory, be joyful, reach out and love, because you are loved.

Friday, 5 September 2008

The Fifth Element

I am a bit of a film a buff, I love movies, maybe it is escapism, imagination or story telling, but I love a good movie, I am a fan of a film no matter what language it is in, there are some wonderful films out there from all over the world, notably, France, South Korea and Russia at the moment are really producing some great films, although France always has. I am not going to get all arty, I just want to explain why many of my analogies come in film form due to the fact that is what I like to watch and I think it is cool to watch or do anything and see God in it.

Well I was reading Isaiah the other day and Isaiah was talking about about Gods coming anger, how God is going to unleash all this pain and suffering on those who have ignored and turned from Him. I suddenly thought of the film the Fifth Element and this dark thing travelling across the universe to destroy earth, and God is not dark but light, but His anger burnt against His people and His anger, righteous anger was and is coming. But in the film, if you have seen it, this perfect being was sent, and stood in front of the world as a defence against this coming darkness, and this being, ( Milla Jokavich ) only worked when she knew love.

Jesus was and is the perfect being and stands between God and us, covering all the rubbish, allowing God to have a relationship with us, allowing us to feel and know the love of God, and all he asks for is love.