Friday, 30 January 2009

Baby Food

I have been feeling a real call in my life to grow up, like in 1 Corinthians;

1 Dear brothers and sisters,[a] when I was with you I couldn’t talk to you as I would to spiritual people.[b] I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in the Christian life.[c] 2 I had to feed you with milk, not with solid food, because you weren’t ready for anything stronger. And you still aren’t ready, 3 for you are still controlled by your sinful nature. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your sinful nature? Aren’t you living like people of the world?

I don't want to be lagging behind, I want to be running forward in the race, I want to be honest about where I am and run forward from there, like it says in Romans 12;

3 Because of the privilege and authority[c] God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.[d

I have been looking at myself and trying to be honest, not in a guilty, shameful way, in an honest, liberating way, and it is liberating, I want to run in freedom and maturity, like in Philippians 3;

12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it,[d] but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
15 Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you. 16 But we must hold on to the progress we have already made.

So yes, this may seem a bit random and I have enjoyed using the bible more than me, but I suppose I am just sharing where I am right now.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Spiritually Dismissive

I can be spiritually dismissive, it is easy to talk about and do the practical things in my life following Jesus, actually a lot of the time they can be hard, but they are certainly easier to talk about, I have also said before that I find I am very comfortable in prayer, in fact I am ok with worship and prayer and God being spiritual but I can be a bit dismissive if talk turns to being under attack by the enemy or spiritual battles or many other supernatural phenomena. I even found it quite hard to write the post the other day about spiritual battles.

The fact is, if I am who I say I am, and I follow who I say I follow, then the spiritual has to be at the forefront. Personally I have started to think that I am a bit proud when it comes to certain spiritual areas of my life, and I am right now searching through myself and asking questions of myself, allowing God to continue His work in me and leaving no stone unturned, no dark shadows in me, attempting to be truly free. I feel part of this is facing up to the many spiritual ways God works and Satan works.

I am reading a book called Freedom in Christ, a book I have slagged off rotten in the past, for having lists, for talking about stuff that, in my mind, I don't think could hurt anyone, for getting people to look at their life and bring up stuff from the past, which could be hurtful and cause more damage than good.

This week I have been really trying to pull close to God more and more and I thought it would cause no harm and would challenge my pride to have a look at this book. I do feel now that it allows you to bring things to Christ and leave them their, things that I am still carrying around, I think it has drawn attention to things in my life which are obviously damaging and things in the past that I can put to rest. It has challenged me to forgive in every area of my life, including myself. I have sometimes found it really hard to get through and I have continued to be dismissive in my mind. But I now ask what is the problem with having a spiiritual MOT and leaving anything I may be carrying around at Jesus' feet? I suppose I am just getting it a bit more , as I have said here before, I am continuing to learn.

I had a dream last night that I was walking about in my boxer shorts, Tanya reckoned it is because I am more transparent.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

The whole Israel/Gaza thing

People have to stop killing each other. People have to learn to forgive, people have to learn to let go of the past. I could finish my post there, but I won't.

'Anyone who claims to understand Irish politics, obviously does not understand Irish politics.'

A famous Irish political quote, that can be used very obviously here, in todays circumstances in Israel/Gaza. So many people jumping on bandwagons, so many people ready to call Israel murderers, so many ready to defend Israel to the hilt no matter what it does, and so many times God brought into the argument as well. In Ireland, all this has happened before, famous idiots jumping on bandwagons without looking at the full picture, people defending one side over the other without looking at the consequences and then using wielding God around as a justification.

Whose side would God be on? His side. The side of love, forgiveness, the side of righteousness. Northern Ireland is slowly getting over itself, with hiccups along the way. Can the Israelis, can the Palestinians, can all the one sided, blameful, self righteous campaigners.

As is the same in Ireland, it will be those on the outside who will keep things going, those who believe in the 'struggle,' against those who just want to sleep easy in their beds, go to school, eat, live.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009


Any military leader or anybody who knows anything about war, nowadays, knows that if you rule the skies, you will win the battle. I believe it is the same in the lives of a Christian.
As a Christian, there is an enemy, there can be no doubt about it, an enemy who does not like it when we stick our heads above the parapet, actually an enemy who does not like it when we pick sides. When we do pick sides, a declaration of war is made against us.
Now, I can go out and do good works, as I have said before, the things I do have to be rooted in God, and if He is not at the centre of things, then I am a like the clanging cymbal the bible talks about, a big look at me, instead of serving out of love and reflecting God.
If I was just doing good, I don't think the enemy would be too bothered, but if what I do, has God behind it all, then the devil is bothered.
This is why everything that is done in the name of God has to be soaked in prayer, has to be given to God, He has to be called out to. The air battle has to be won before the ground assault is started. The spiritual battle engaged before the physical battle is taken up.
This post has been inspired by a devotional given at street pastors training the other day, what made it even more relevant, was that I was out that night, as a street pastor and some of the instances occuring, seemed more spiritual than physical. It was a very strange night. Don't be fooled into thinking that there is not a spiritual battle going on, just remember you have picked the winning side.

Friday, 23 January 2009

Excuses versus Responsibility

Following on from yesterday really, I have a real problem for excuses, not reasons or facts, but excuses. Excuses for me, are us trying not to take responsibility for something that has happened. I don't really know where I am going with this post, so bear with me.

I remember, when I started work in the oil industry over 10 years a go, I had to pulled aside and told that people were getting peeved with the fact that nothing was my fault, I always had a good excuse, there were always mitigating circumstances, there was always someone else or something else to blame. This use to get me into trouble and arguments. I was told to put my hands up and start to take responsibility for my actions. I don't think anything else affected me so much at work than learning to take responsibility, it helped me grow.

I still do it though, I still make excuses, rather than taking on responsibility, I do it most at home, when I am in a bad mood, or when I have lost 'my' temper, or when I don't want to admit that Tanya is right, or when one of my family is in the wrong place but so am I, I can say why I am here, why I am angry, of course at this point, their excuses don't count, my 'reasons' do.

One of the fundamentals of the Christian faith is putting your hands up and saying, it was me, I was wrong, I have sinned. There are no excuses at the cross, we have to face up to our responsibility, the fact that we sinned but Jesus took the punishment, now I have to follow Him.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Reminder to Self

Every now and then I get caught up in thinking quite selfishly and can quite easily justify it in my own head, even more dangerous is I start to justify myself through God, in other words I think things like 'God would want me to do, say or act like that' or ' Well it does say in bible...'

I don't always pause to look at the bigger picture, it is not actually always a selfish thing, it can actually just be a fuelled thing, in other words, I might mention a problem I have, someone else might say it is because of, I jump on the bandwagon and before you know it, I am big and justified and everything is someone elses thought.

I know I seem to be talking in riddles, but I suppose I am trying to say, it is easy to slag others off, it is easy to get distracted, it is easy to jump on bandwagons and it is so easy to justify it all biblically or through what God would have you or I do, but to be perfectly honest that is all a load of tosh.

The questions I need to ask myself are:

Am I acting selfishly, am I acting after what I want, to justify myself?

Do I know the whole picture?

Is anyone around me fueling a fire that does not exist?

Am I using the word of God or His ways wrongly?

This is a post I hope I return to and remind myself, I am not the big I AM, He is.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Thinking alike

I had said last week that I would be busy, I continue to be so, which is great, all sorts of things happening. Yesterday went really well, I am so pleased to say, we went to a Japanese restaurant in the evening, as Morgan is obsessed with all things Japanese, I am quite contented that he had a nice day, Thank God, a real blessing.

I have had some great chats with people over the last few days and I am always astounded at how many people are thinking the same thing, actually what amazes me is how many Christians are thinking the same thing at the same time, it has to be the Holy Spirit, it is really encouraging and when you have these conversations, you feel built up and ready to run. I suppose you should feel that way anyway, we shouldn't be waiting for confirmation from others, but what I am saying, is, that when God is up to something, it is good to watch and see His people responding and of course it is encouraging and faith growing.

Anyway, what are 'people' saying,

Strengthening and encouraging those close to us.

Consistency and self control.

Discipline and what is in the way of us following.

I am not going to go into these things right now, I suppose it may be nice to read those statements and see what you think?

Tuesday, 20 January 2009


These are my three current children, from left to right, Mason, Turaya and Morgan. Today it is Morgan's birthday. Now I wouldn't normally just write a post on one of my childs' birthdays, but today he is 13. It is a biggy.
Now I have worried about him, been angry with him, cried with and for him, I have seen him desperately unhappy in school situations and I have seen through him how institutes can easily corrupt and yet be trusted by so many. He has done loads wrong, he can be childish and inappropriate and I could probably name loads of his down sides, just as I suppose we can and do about others.
What I become more aware with Morgan, is that he is going to be ok, for all of my efforts to screw him up, he is turning out fine, he has accepted Jesus into his life, he has a great sense of humour, he will grow up in his own time, he loves and cares, he is different and he is loved, he has plans and dreams and friends and hobbies and interests. I am proud of him. I was not a great kid and I know others that were a lot worse, but they are fine and running in their lives now, I am sure Morgan, who is generally a good kid, will grow in self esteem and break through any other issues he has and run.
Happy birthday Morgan.

Friday, 16 January 2009


I have a busy weekend ahead, I am quite excited, there is a lot going on, all important in different ways, needless to say that between now and Monday I am not going to have a lot of time, as I have explained here before, the midweek for me is quiet, then the weekends can be hectic. I actually want more of the hectic, it is being alive, running and feeling.

I have noticed that one of the most important things to do at all times, but even more so, when everything is busy, is to communicate with those around you. I said yes to Mason doing something yesterday, not thinking whether he could make it or not, or whether someone would be able to take him, now on Sunday afternoon, Tanya and I will be in different places, not a problem, but I must communicate more.

I really feel I need to communicate more with God, just really getting into Him, sharing, talking, listening and this is even more important for me when I am busy. I don't know who said it but I remember someones prayer that went something like; 'Lord, today, all the times I forget you, please don't forget me.'

I think that should be my prayer everyday, I just want to get more into the living breathing rhythm of walking with God, in busy times, or slow.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Sleeping, Waking and Listening

Sleep is an issue for me at the moment, I am going to bed quite early and then struggling to get up in the morning, probably partly to do with it being being cold and dark, partly I suppose because I am not going to work, partly because of my daughter and partly because of my wife.

I will start with Tanya, she is pregnant, as soon as she becomes pregnant, she becomes a lighter sleeper, I snore, loudly, I now get kicked in the middle of the night, I have another 7 months of that and then baby geeting up to do again. I feel for Tanya, she has always struggled with sleep during pregnancy, and face it, being kicked or nudged during the night is no big deal compared with carrying and growing a baby.

The cold, dark, work thing is down to discipline, it is easier to stay in bed, it takes effort to get up. I do not need the amount of sleep I am getting, the body is responding to my inaction. I need to start getting physically fitter as well as spiritually fitter.

Now Turaya, she still wakes in the night, I mean she will just have a whinge for a couple of seconds and then she is back to sleep, by that time though, I have jumped up and am in her room. If I didn't get up it would make no difference, but I hear her and up I jump, it is like I am tuned in to hear her whatever noise she makes and I don't want to miss anything, I must just stay laying down and go back to sleep.

The thing is, I want to be the way I am with Turaya, with God, I want to hear him clearly, I don't want to miss what He has to say, if He chooses to talk to me in the night, I want to jump up and be ready to respond. I just want to be ready to jump up and respond wherever I am. I want to be tuned in to God.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009


I am reading a book called 'Unlocking the Bible' at the moment which my Dad got me, it is an overview of the entire bible, so it is a book which I will probably read at different times and not a book that I will read from back to front, but I can pick out the book it corresponds with in the bible that I am reading at the time.

To start though I went straight to revelation, because many people find it the hardest book to understand and I wanted a good rounded understanding of it. To quote the book, some students were trying to study the book and took a break in their frustration in the gym of their school, there they saw an old black janitor reading his bible, they asked him what part he was reading, he said revelation, they said, do you understand it, he said, sure, Jesus wins.

I have read some great stuff though on the letters, which I want to pick out.

Firstly, Sardis and Laodicea are both succesful in worldly terms, but not in Jesus' eyes, as it says in the book, 'large congregations, big collections and full programmes are not necessarily signs of spiritual health.'

Secondly, Jesus commends before He criticizes, good thing to do.

Thirdly, the problems Jesus had with what was going on, forsaking their first love, idolatry and immorality, starting new ventures and not seeing them through, being sick and not knowing it, being lukewarm. The last one is interesting because of how many warm churches there are, Jesus stands outside, He says, how horrible.

Fourthly, Jesus says sort it out, or I will. In the book, the author ( David Pawson) says 'Jesus has a ministry of closing churches down! A compromised church that is not willing to be corrected is worse than useless to the kingdom of God.'

Fifthly, overcome, don't change churches, don't follow the trend in a church, if it ain't right.
' A christian may have to learn to resist pressures in the church first before facing them in the world. If we cannot overcome the former, we are unlikely to overcome the latter.'

Sixthly, listen and apply. Hear and heed. Understand and act.

These were some things that really stood out for me in this book, I really wanted to share, I hope they are of some help to somebody. The picture is just random.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Big news

Right, first thing, Tanya is pregnant again, not our best timing, house! Job! Money! But God will provide and children are a blessing and His timing is better than ours, so we are going to put everything in His very large hands and run with the optimism and sense of excitement we have for this year, how cool.

Secondly, there has been a young guy who was coming to our youth cafe and started coming along to church on a Sunday. Yesterday he gave his life to Jesus. I believe I have said it here before, all we have done is be there for him, loved him, accepted him, we never judged or condemned him, we didn't preach at him or rammed anything down his throat. It has been great to see. Just being there for him, yet watching God working on him, the questions, the change in him, it has been really cool to watch. Of course he is just starting on a journey, but a journey where his destination is guaranteed.

This is something he said yesterday, not verbatim, but the gist, bearing in mind, he has had an horrendous time of things in his life;

'Now I have a new father, one who does not want to judge me, is never going to leave me, who isn't going to hit me.'

A time of good news and celebration methinks.

Friday, 9 January 2009

faceless enemies

Is it easier to fight an enemy when you can see it? Of course it is. 20+ years ago the cold war was just about still on, churches and christians worked tirelessly to aid christians and the spread of christianity in communist countries, many smuggling bibles and literature into these oppressed countries. Everyone would know of someone who had something to do with this work.

During WW2, there were days of national prayer, when this country stood and prayed for what was going on, brilliantly this was instigated by king George VI.

In many countries right now there are stories of miracles, stories of revivals, things really happening in churches in countries where christianity is oppressed, where now people face torture and death because of who they are and what they stand for. Recently in Eritrea hundreds of christians have been arrested for being christians and are being held and tortured in camps, threatened with worse pain unless they renounce who it is they follow.

I have mentioned it before, in a book I read called 'God Chasers' by Tommy Tenney, he speaks about his father welcoming an Ethiopian minister to his church, this minister had faced horrible oppression and poverty and Mr Tenney asked the congregation to pray for the minister in his poverty, the minister stopped him and asked that instead he pray for them in their prosperity.

It is so easy to lose focus, after all people have 'jobs', 'lives', 'family commitments','hobbies','tv', etc...

I say this to myself, it is so easy to become the above picture, it is so easy that we forget when we said we gave our lives to Jesus, we were really meant to give our entire lives?

The enemy today is lethargy, procrastination, priorities, prosperity.... They are harder to see than persecution, poverty, torture and death, they still need fought, or when the persecution, poverty, torture and death come, we might have to make an excuse, because we didn't really sign up for that did we?

James 4:17 says 'it is a sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.'

This is a bit strong for today, just something that has been on my mind, a kick up the bum.

Thursday, 8 January 2009


In the last month an old friend at my old job, lost his wife, their 10 year old son lost his mum, one of the other guys at work had been friends with the lady since they were kids. Yesterday I learnt that a dear friends grandmother had died and another friend had lost his young stepson to cancer.

A mother, a partner, a friend, a grandparent, a child. It is horrific. What can be so difficult for those in the vicinity, is what to do, what to say, how to be and what is even more difficult is when you are one of those who is so close to the person that has died, how do you deal with the pain.

I want to put my two penny worth in, how I feel, what I have experienced, there are a few good books to read in these situations I am told, Philip Yancey's 'where is God when it hurts', Pete Grieg's 'God on mute' and there is a new book out that I have but have not yet read by William P Young called ' the shack'.

As an onlooker, as a supporter of people who have lost, I have always stuck to the simplest things, the sorrys and condolences, the shoulder and the ear, it is not the time to be the person to over complicate, it is certainly not time to play judge, (if there ever is the time), it is the time to be a quiet listening rock, to stand tall and nod, to hug and be there for. That is it. In the bible it says, blessed are those who mourn, they will be comforted. I can only be a comforter, not a fixer, not a magic wand or magic word guy, a comforter.

As someone who has been deeply affected by loss in my life and someone who has observed how loss has affected others, I have some conclusions. Grief takes time and the bad way of grieving, is not to grieve. Is to bottle it all up inside. Obviously I know that if within your grief you want to go and physically hurt someone, you shouldn't, but to feel that anger, to feel that pain is not wrong. And when that anger or pain and them questions turn to the why's and how's and then start getting thrown at God, then throw them.

Growing up there was many a time when I cried out to God WHY? and IT ISN'T FAIR, He is a big God, beat your hands on His chest, scream at Him, ask Him, cry to Him, be honest with Him, I can be all theological about why there is pain and suffering in the world and I can tell you that I have and will face the same loss as everyone else regardless of my faith, but because of my faith, I will get down on my knees, cry, shout and generally throw a hissy fit and be honest with the person I know holds all the answers. I will find comfort there. Words can be so easy to write, this is easy, the reality of being in heartbreaking pain and hearing any advice, is hard. All I can honestly say, is cry out.

I was thinking about these different losses yesterday, on my playlist is Eleanor Rigby by the Beatles, a song that for the last few years I have really felt speak to me, the haunting lyrics of;

'All the lonely people Where do they all come from? All the lonely people Where do they all belong?'

Seems particulary relevant today, but yesterday the last verse stuck out to me;

'Eleanor rigby died in the church and was buried along with her name
Nobody came
Father mckenzie wiping the dirt from his hands as he walks from the grave
No one was saved'

How sad to think of the mourning that goes on, sadder is to think of the mourning that does not, those who die alone.

I have my playlist on a random play thingy, after the Beatles came Coldplay 'Fix You', very relevant and of course with the beautiful line

'And I will try to fix you'

There is so much pain in the world, so much more pain than even those we know who are in pain can imagine, I want to cry out for it all, because it needs fixed.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

A life less ordinary

I have been feeling lately that it is so important to be so different within something which maybe seen by some as mundane or boring. In other words turning the normal way of living into an expression of living the way I am created to be. I have been reading other peoples blogs and there are several people at the moment who seem to be challenged in a very similar way, to start to change the norm, to turn what might be boring into something exciting, to turn ordinary into a celebration, to step out of the box, to start being disciplined in the way I follow. By leading by example.
I hope I am making sense, just in case, I am talking about turning my days at home alone with my daughter into something exciting and worth sharing, turning a night in, in front of the tv, into a night of fellowship and celebration, turning a boring Saturday into a time to share and enjoy with as many people as possible, making prayer so naturally part of everything I do, making the word of God, fasting, singing, being generous, etc... a natural celebratory way that I live, not something I have to remember to do, something that is me.
I believe one of the most important things I have to start doing, is 'doing', not just talking about it, dreaming it, praying it, but then going and doing it. Dreams without action are just dreams, prayer without action, is being like the priest in the good samaritan parable, I am sure he prayed, it did not stop him walking by. I love prayer, it is so important, it is relationship, it needs to be followed by action, or my words are just words, the relationship becomes one way.
I also need to be happy in my discipline, joyful in whatever situation, patient to see what God is doing, patient with those I come into contact with, in the same way God is patient with me. In other words, happy being up early to pray, joyful wherever I am living or working as, because God has a plan. I really need to be patient with some of those around me who try my patience, who are needy and want a lot of my time and effort, God does it for me. I do also need to be assertive enough to say, I need time by myself.
Here we go again, more joy, more discipline more of the rollercoaster that is living with God.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009


I feel I am ready to hit this year running, Tanya and I are getting organised, something we have not really been before, except for short periods, we are planning and looking at all we are doing, we arre going to try to be disciplined, I feel different, ready to run a bit.

I do feel that God is still breaking me down, I suppose I will always be a work in progress, but I know God has been doing and is continuing to something in me. I have really felt that walls are being knocked down so that they can be rebuilt on strong foundations and built properly as well. I still feel that all my walls are not broken down, but I am ready, I hope.

I am feeling optimistic about being at home at the moment and I am feeling optimistic about whatever is going to happen this year, I don't know what is going to happen this year but I know I am not alone in whatever I face and whatever happens I will be stronger because of it.

So I am ready, not sure what for, but I am ready. Here I am send me.