Wednesday, 30 April 2008
I think sometimes you just have to go and do it anyway. In Matthew chapter 18:18, Jesus says to His disciples, whatever they loose on earth will be loosed in Heaven, whatever they bind on earth will be bound in Heaven. I really believe, some people are sitting, waiting for something specific in their lives, some kind of word, when God has already given it. Sometimes there are times when I and I suspect a lot of others feel like they have a word for someone, or we feel someone needs prayer, or even we feel like we should be doing something physically to help someone, we don't, or more probably, we ask God to confirm, we ask God for a sign. He has already given it.
If you feel you have that word, or that action to do, do it. Jesus, in that passage, I believe, is saying, step out in faith, you already know I am with you, step out and I will back you up. You have His word, stop waiting for signs and start being what God intended you to be. I will make a special point, that I am writing this to me, to remind me, to encourage me to step up and out.
Tuesday, 29 April 2008
Last week though, I found myself bored, I struggled. Mentally last week it was easy to knock me down. I was weak last week. Haha. I was unorganised, I am still getting up earlier and being disciplined, but I found that hard last week. This week I am more organised, I have plans for the week written out on the fridge freezer. I think it is something I have to watch, be focused.
This does not mean I cannot relax. Of course according to Tanya, I can't relax, but I had a lovely Sunday afternoon, on the sofa, watching 'Holes' ( lighthearted kids film). But I do love to be busy. Yesterday I had lunch with a good friend, nice to catch up, he has been so busy with work and family and stuff, it was great to spend some time with him, it also reminds me that I love to be busy, but I am blessed to have this time to spend on relationships, so I hope I get busy with relationships.
I also want to add today, that I need to be more honest in everything I do, I do hold back. Like when someone says 'are you ok?', I'll probably just say yes, ok or not. I sometimes hold back when I am writing this blog, thinking don't be too honest, well maybe I need to be more honest.
Well here is to honest busy relationships.
Monday, 28 April 2008
Saturday, 26 April 2008
I thought I would write something on the etymology of the saying, and try to sound all clever showing that the saying derives from some saxon word for goats wee or something, but unfortunately, it is a lot plainer than that. It is just a term, to replace a more vulgar term, also beginning with the same letters, I am not going there.
I have had a few conversations lately with people about watching what we are saying, you see I think we do this too much, always worried about upsetting someone. I think people need to get over themselves, concentrate on content, not etymology.
When it comes down to it though, I don't want to swear, so I say flippin eck. Hope you weren't offended.
Friday, 25 April 2008
I was just reading that one third of teenage girls have self harmed and about one fifth of boys. What is going on. I have wanted to write a post on this for a while, but I did not know what to write. I still don't.
I have spoken to young people who self harm, I know people that self harmed when they were younger, I know some older people who probably self harm, is this one of these taboos, something we cannot talk about, something that is hidden in darkness, so that it becomes a secret struggle, a silent call for help, a personal pain.
I can only try to understand the whys, but I am not going to be patronising and talk about why I think, or what to do if you are self harming. I don't think that is my place. What worries me, is the lack of conversation.
Working with youth, I am constantly on the lookout for ways to reach out, ways to say to young people, you are not alone, others are going through it, others have been where you have been. I once read and I may have mentioned it before, that one of the strongest and most encouraging things to say to someone, is 'Me too'.
We all struggle with different issues, to hear that someone else has gone through or is dealing with those issues, is such a blessing. By admitting we are struggling, we encourage, we also admit, that we are weak but He is strong.
If anyone knows of any resources that can be of use, please let me know.
I know Hopextreme, from Book Of Hope, is a magazine asking some real questions and involving testimonies to talk to young people, very useful and gets the point across.
Thursday, 24 April 2008
I am finding I am being called right now, to be more disciplined. I don't think this is a bad thing, good picture though, and I want to know where I can get a good cage.
I have started getting up earlier, I feel good getting up early in the morning, before everyone else, I put God first, I'm in a better mood when everyone else gets up and I have more of a day.
What has also helped here, is me stopping drinking so much. I used to drink every night, at home, out, wherever, a lot. Now I don't. I like a drink, now I have a beer socially, it is important, I am healthier, my mornings are better and my mind is clearer.
Tanya and I have been talking today about putting time together with God, it is important, it is also something I think God is doing. As we step out more in faith, it is important that our relationship with God is good, that we are disciplined and spending time with God.
One of the biggest things I have noticed in my house now, is our reaction to the tv.
The tv used to be on, and it was our duty to find something to watch, if there was nothing on, something would do, anything, and it used to be the case that there were certain things on, we couldn't miss. Things were the wrong way round. If there is something I want to watch, I put the tv on, if there is not, it is off, and tv programmes do not come before living and doing. I sometimes just like to mong out, but it is a rarity, there is so much to do.
Of course, I have to be careful that the computer does not become the new tv, I also have to be careful what I am watching on the internet. I just have to make sure I am doing first and have some discipline.
Wednesday, 23 April 2008
My wife tells me, I don't always finish my sentences, I just find as I am saying something, it leads me into some other thought and I start talking about that and the same happens again. It is like my faith and my life, I have trouble verbalising exactly how I am feeling or how I am being led, this can also end up in verbal diarrhoea and often I find writing so much easier, but even then, as you can read, I start to babble. This can also come across, writing or talking, as judgemental or angry. I am probably both of these things, but do not intend to be either.
I am feeling quite down this week, even though on Sunday, I had a really great experience and a really great word, a real filling of the holy spirit, a real reality check of God being in my life, brilliant. Now I feel down, I am not worried, I feel sad, maybe it is getting use to a new situation, this new way of life sinking in. Worries on the horizon and I'm not sure what is going to happen. Maybe that is why my previous 2 posts have been about faith, exactly what I need more of. Saying that I don't feel worried, and there has been a closeness of God, so I am wondering if I am in mourning. Mourning a job and friendships of 10 years. Mourning a place that I grew up in, that really is no longer part of my life, mourning a change in lifestyle, in earning, and what also may be my house, maybe . I will be signing on this week, a good lesson in humility, I am a very proud man, maybe that is something else God needs to deal with. In His hands be it.
Upward and onward. Hence, I go hither.
Tuesday, 22 April 2008
'Their spirit was nearly broken and a man without spirit is whipped. But a preacher, he could give them faith. S***, one ounce of faith, they'll be dug in deeper than ticks on a hound.'
Absolutely amazing. You know Jesus said something similar;
'I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, move from here to there, and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.'
Big thing faith. What are we without it. I believe we are whipped, like it said in Pale Rider, we are under the cosh, without hope, uncertain, lost. With faith, we are victorious, free and full of hope.
There are a lot of depressing things in the media right now, actually there always is, but right now, I feel there is an awful lot of doom and gloom. I really feel this nation is under the cosh, whipped and needing hope, and I know that is felt by a lot of christians, as there is something called Hope 08, going on everywhere this year. I am also aware that my personal situation looks hopeless, and there are very testing times ahead. Where do I turn. I have faith, I am scared but I have faith. I really do not know what is going to happen, I have faith. I really want to increase that faith, because there are times when I feel the darkness encroaching, well there is no turning back, I have faith.
I want to be a tick on a hound, I want to see mountains move, if people get hold of the fact that there faith is so powerful, that with faith in God, mountains can be moved in this nation. Things can be turned around, faith can be turned into action.
Monday, 21 April 2008
Another book I bought was 'Searcher for God' the story of Isobel Kuhn, it is from a series called 'stories of faith and fame', which has brought back some happy childhood memories for me, I remember books like this, I remember reading them, enjoting them and being inspired by them. They are a simple childs version of stories of some real faith driven people. I remember once visiting a church, where my Dad was speaking, and they had these books, they also had a childs version of 'the pilgrims progress' , I loved it. Happy memories. It is good to have happy memories, I can look back and see real adventures in my life and real times of faith, sometimes these can be overshadowed with sad memories.
I will not let the sad memories get me down, they are areas in my life which can be useful to others, not times to dwell on and be depressed about. I am walking forwards, not backwards.
Anyway, I have been on Amazon this morning to try and see if I can get some cheap 'stories of faith and fame', there are loads. woohoo.
Saturday, 19 April 2008
Friday, 18 April 2008
My apologies but I have had to implement the word verification on comments, due to spam commenters. Do you think that is someones job, do they tell other people that is their job, 'Hi I'm a spam commenter' or is that commentator? Anyway, the 70s.............
I was born in 1976, so I did not live in very much of the 70s, but memories I have a plenty, and I can easily start singing that Sandi Thom song about how things were different and better, how as we have advanced, we have killed off so much good.
I am told that in Bhutan they no longer measure the wealth of their country in terms of financial wealth (GDP) but in happiness ( GNH), and one of my brothers tells me that they measured the gross national happiness of the UK on the same scale as the Bhutanese, over the last 50 years and found that peoples happiness increased up to the year 1976 and from then it has decreased. Now it is easy to say that once I was born the world became a sadder place, but I think there is more to it than that.
Did we suddenly reach a point, where our priorities changed. I watched a film over Easter, the Bad News Bears. The kids in it were ugly, badly dressed delinquents, one was an immigrant, the others had all sorts of family issues. I don't think it mattered, it was an enjoyable family film, cheesy, pretty crap, badly acted and simple. The type of film that just would not be made today, or at least with a better looking, better dressed, politically correst cast. How we have complicated things. My son asked me the other day, are hand me downs an American thing?
We need to get back to simpler things, like hand me downs and community, its ok to be ugly and badly dressed, its ok to be poor, its ok to have 'issues'. Where else are we heading?
Thursday, 17 April 2008
I was in a supermarket the other week, and there was a young lady walking about with her kids, music blaring from a mobile, talking so loud that everyone could hear her conversation, dressed as chavs with rollerskate trainers and fashion conscious names like chelsea and britney. I was embarrassed, why?
I see road users that don't think of others, whether it effects me or not, why do I get so angry.
Youths in the high street the other day, swearing as I walk past, no respect.
The person walking out of somewhere, who has to stop in my way to light up a cigarette, because they could not wait a moment longer, as if.
I have been a too loud, fashion conscious (supposedly), road raging, chain smoking, swearing person. What have I become. A person that looks at others and judges.
Is the church ready for all of the above and more, without judging. Has the church become so middle class that we cannot relate to anybody in the real world, have we lost our salt or scarily worse, do we put our faith out of reach of those who desperately need it.
How would any church react on a Sunday morning, to a loud chav, a disrepctful youth, an angry chain smoker, how about to loads of kids who had never set foot in a church and ran around out of control, or someone off their heads on something we have never heard the name of, or a prostitute battered and bruised from a hard nights work.
We expect. People should have respect, they should know, they should................Why?
Jesus hung about with prostitutes and thieves. He saw them as people. Full stop.
It is time to get over what we know and start listening to the one who knows.
Wednesday, 16 April 2008
I am finding it really easy to blog at the moment, probably because I am unemployed, I have a lot of time to think, I am trying to use my time off, (because I just consider myself as having some time off, will have job soon) as energetically and productively as possible. Tanya would say I am missing the point, but I like being busy.
So at the moment I am having a big clear out all around the house, not quite like the picture above, but I am also straining, haha. I am being quite harsh on objects in my life and throwing a lot away, it is hard but I believe it is healthy. We all carry around things in our lives we do not need, or want, or have even looked at for 10 years. We say it has sentimental value. That is why it is in a box, collecting dust, using up space, not being used, what a waste. cleaning out is good, maybe it also forces us to look at our lives in the same way.
I was talking about a lot of time to think earlier and as I'm clearing out, my mind is processing, memories, choices, journeys. I can see where I was, where I am now. With so much time to think I do find my self veering off into that other life sometimes, in my head, I think thoughts that I shouldn't be thinking and I understand Paul, talking about capturing every thought.
It is good to dream, to plan, to meditate. Just be wary, keep focus.
Tuesday, 15 April 2008
I was busy today anyway, I had a really good time of fellowship with some of the older youth last night, had a lay in and then have been sorting out bedrooms.
There was one point today when I could not do anything and I found myself in front of the tv watching an old film called 'Odette', a true story of a female allied spy during ww2, who was captured and tortured by the Nazis.
Near the end of the film, the Americans are nearly on top of the camp she is being held in, and her warder begs for forgiveness and asks what do I do? Odette says to her, have you forgot how to pray?
That line got me straight away, its a question we should all ask, of course we know the technical bits and could probably recite the Lords prayer, but have we forgot what we are doing, the reality of created talking to creator, the relationship we are building, who are we talking to, why and when. Is it the true heart reaching out to the first love, is it the saved reaching out to the saviour? It is important.
Monday, 14 April 2008
I got up 20 minutes earlier this morning, part of my new routine, I hope that becomes half hour and then an hour, time I want to devote to God and putting Him first in my day, small changes, manageable changes, one step at a time changes, but importantly making these decisions and putting God first.
All of the people mentioned on Saturday are from Northern Ireland, but are not well known for being so, at least to the people I know.
It has been an interesting weekend, God speaking in peculiar places. You have to listen.
I watched a band on Saturday night, I really started to think about a friend of mine as the music played, a friend who is not saved. I will be praying for him, I will be speaking to him, I feel God is pursuing him.
On Sunday, on our way to church, we were late, I really felt God say, He was going to interrupt our meeting( a term used by my brother Brian, see his blog). He interrupted our whole day, I really felt I was able to respond to some different peoples needs, to help, to be Jesus' hands and feet, mouth and ears. I love Sunday morning church meetings, worshipping God and hearing something to build you up for the week ahead, I think that you have to be ready to respond to God. That might mean missing Sunday morning, or a small group, or an event. meetings, events, groups, all build us up, all teach us something and fellowship is so important, but without action, without responding to God, they cease to be important.
The guy speaking yesterday, Albert, spoke brilliantly and one of the points he made was when Jesus asked Peter, 'Do you love me more than these?' and then he went on to question what is the 'these' in your life? Is it telly, or having a beer, or a nice car/house/holiday/football, or is it Sunday morning church service? Do we love these things, do we put these things before Jesus, before loving, serving and living Him.?
Saturday, 12 April 2008
Great time at the youth cafe last night, deep questions ( Why won't God forgive Lucifer? ) and drunk girls, ( who just would not go home) police ( very helpful) and angry parents ( not so helpful), good relationships being built, all good.
Right, what do Lord Kelvin, Sam Neill, Kenneth Branagh, J.B.Burnell, Vivian Campbell (Def Leppard) and C.S.Lewis have in common.
Answers on a postcard, have a good weekend, back next week.
Friday, 11 April 2008
Thursday, 10 April 2008
Wednesday, 9 April 2008
Monday, 7 April 2008
Saturday, 5 April 2008
Anyway I'll get back to me next week, as it is Saturday, here is my favourite joke;
Irishman, American and Russian sitting in a pub, having a discussion on who the superior race is.....
" Ve are zi superior race of course, ve put the first man in space" Exclaimed the russian. " Yuri Gagarin, first man up there, you know I am right."
" No way Ruskie" said the american"Now we put a man on the moon, your lot still ain't managed it, 'One giant leap for mankind' that was us, we are the greatest."
"Now I hate to be disagreeing with you gentlemen there now" Put in the irishman." But I am afraid you would both be wrong, because, you see, us irish we are planning to send a man to the sun, now surely that would make us the superior race?"
The american and russian, both looked shocked and then started to laugh and laugh.
" You idiots, you send a man to the sun, he'll shrivel up before he gets anywhere near." Said both.
"See there you go now, underestimating the irish again, do you think we haven't thought of that" replied the irishman." Do you think we are that stupid, we are going to send him at night."
I thank you, and good night.
Friday, 4 April 2008
I went looking for easy answers, I read books on other religions, I looked into the occult, where you seem to get proof, but proof of what. I still loved Jehovahs witnesses coming to my door, so I could argue with them, every Christmas and Easter there was a prayer from me that went up to God, to thank Him and every time I was in need, I called out to Him. In my darkest times crying out to Him.
With the birth of our second child, Tanya dropped into post natal depression. I did not understand. I don't think I wanted to. I looked after the kids as best I could, worked my socks off and started to drink very heavily. I grew bitter with Tanya. You can't see mental illness, its not like being phyically sick. There are happy times and then there are dark times.
I grew angry, I lost my temper easily, and that destructive anger is something I still struggle with now. I started thinking and behaving very selfishly, started folllowing the world more and more. There were drugs and drink and my behaviour with women was inappropriate. Me and Tanya's relationship was up and down like a yoyo. We even briefly seperated and when we came back together, things started to change.
Firstly, Tanya came out of her depression, it was not the counselling or the drugs, one day she picked up a bible and started to read. ( If you ever get the chance, Tanya's testimony is on her blog somewhere). As a couple we started to question everything around us, we started to question the world, our lives, our spirituality. What had we achieved, where were we going, We decided to leave our Hometown, Grays, we left the trappings of society, the house, the friends, I kept my job, we moved into the caravan we owned.
More next time.
Thursday, 3 April 2008
I was in a couple of bookshops the other day, tiny Christianity sections. How come the thing that was the reason behind the printing press, how comes, that freedom of literature begotten ( cool word) by the protestant reformation has been consigned to a couple of shelves near the back of every bookshop.
Amazing how many biographies there are, how many self help books, business books. It is a world of me, me and me. Have a good look around. This me business isn't doing the world too good, is it?
There is more to life than you.
Wednesday, 2 April 2008
I ended up in some horrible and scary situations in my life, I am thankful to say that the girlfriend I moved out with, became my wife, eventually. Before that we ended up living and working in Majorca, which was a fantastic time, with some great adventures, but also a time of danger and for one of the first times in my life, that my life was threatened, due to my drunkenness ( not sure on the spelling there).
We returned home, to marriage, to a mortgage, to a son, (Morgan )some may say, to boredom and conformity, to work, and I was still only 19.
At 20, I got an offer, from some irish gypsies, to go to work in Germany, tarmacking. I went with my best mate, leaving wife and son behind, to go and earn my fortune for them. After enough adventures to fill its own book, I once again escaped with my life, literally running, being chased, and being very scared, and very glad to get home.
This incident affected me alot. I came back to England and once again settled into normality. After nearly losing my leg in a steel yard, tearing my hands on sacks of tea, getting seriously frozen cleaning freezers, smelling from salmon packing, working production lines and being a security guard, I got a wonderful job in an oil refinery, where I have been working for the last 10 years, as of yesterday.
So professionally, I started to get it together, I was still very messed up in the head. This is dragging on, so I will continue tomorrow..............................
Tuesday, 1 April 2008
I have had what many would call a different life. As a child, difference is like a disease, as I have grown, I look back and see what has made me and I notice the sometimes boring lives of my peers and realise I was blessed. I was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, but moved to England as a very young child, (although I retained my accent for many years) my father was a minister, and got a job at a baptist church in Grays, Essex ( Don't worry, I'm not writing a life story, I will try to be brief). I, at this time, had 3 older brothers and a lovely mum, and I, even though I was so young, have some wonderful memories of this time in my life.
My mum died when I was 4. Cancer. As a 4 year old, the only thing I remember in my head, was thinking, was that my mum had gone to heaven, no more pain. I think we could all do with looking at things like a child sometimes. Simple, but honest.
My dad remarried, he resigned as a minister, we had to move, we gained another brother, things were very different, what seems in my memory, very quickly.
As I grew, in our new home, I started to encounter things I had not before. At school, I was a paddy. I started to notice, we were not very well off ( something, we probably never were, but I had not noticed, the world has a lot to answer for). I started to experience different forms of church, I have to say, I saw some amazing things, heard some great people speak, met some really cool people. As I grew, I probably became more ashamed of this to my peers. that disease, difference, while I actually spoke to God more, my life was moving farther from Him. I never denied Him, I never said His name in vain. He was there in my life. Just at the back of my mind, until the quiet moments. Or Sunday morning. My life moved my way.
God was there watching. I wanted to do my thing, to fit in, to be me. Drink, drugs, sex and rock and roll. At 17, suddenly, living with my girlfriend, no family, no church, God forgotten, in my quest for me.