Tuesday, 30 June 2009


Tanya and I are now bankrupt. We got into this positon by taking out a large mortgage, a car loan, an overdraft, a credit card and a catalogue account. We got caught in a spiral, which we tried to get out of. We put our house up for sale, nearly a year before we got into trouble with the mortgage, we had already swapped to an interest only mortgage. It got to a point where I could not afford to travel to work, work was getting more stressful, and we were forever chasing our tails, with very little to live on, everything gets maxxed out and Christmas and birthdays are paid for with a catalogue. We prayed, we felt it would be easier to work locally, remove the stress from me, not just paying for things, being away, and then coming home from work after days away being moody dad and husband, our family was being damaged, I handed in my notice. As I did, I really felt God saying to me, now you are giving your life to me.

The local job did not turn up. We had even less, the house got taken away, the creditors kept calling, it has been hard sometimes. But we have felt at peace and supported by the one who we trust, there have been others who have been real rocks as well. On advice the best option for us, was to go bankrupt, we have had to pay to do so, which was not easy, and next week, our car will be taken from us. We rely on it a lot, Tanya is heavily pregnant, the hospital is more than 20 miles away. We are trusting God, we truly have not got anything else.
But the debts have been wiped clean, we are free of them, here we are starting again, reminds me of something else.

I feel like I have to justify being bankrupt, I feel I have to try and convince others that being free of my debt, of things being wiped clean, is good. I think people want me to pay everything back, I am sorry, I tried, I can't, I don't have. As a Christian, God took all my debts, all my sin, and threw them away, never to be seen again, and we rejoice when this happens to someone. But there is shame connected to bankruptcy, the shame that my debt was too big, that I got myself into that position, that I am getting away scot free. I believe in a God who took away my shame, did He let me off scot free, even though I got into all my sin in my life myself. I have to step forward in freedom now and trust God for a car and not listen to the ones who want to throw the first stone.

The slate has been wiped clean again.

Monday, 29 June 2009


Sorry the video starts playing straight away, had loads of trouble getting it on the blog in the first place. Tanya did it for me.

I don't do street pastoring every Saturday night, usually once a month, this Saturday I was out on the streets and I have been asked to lead teams now, which is a new challenge and a different perspective.

This Saturday, we came across a new homeless guy at the soup kitchen, one of the other guys actually started chatting with him, I came across later. The man was chatty and very open about himself, he is a part op transexual, he had a heart attack a few years ago, now he can't have anymore surgery, this has sent him on a downward spiral, ending up with him on the streets of Norwich.

I asked him if it was ok if we prayed for him, if we could ask others to pray for him and if it was ok to tell other street pastors about him so that they could check if he was ok and keep everyone posted. He was very emotional and moved by the this, that others would actually care, he was hugged and comforted and I hope we have started to build a relationship there which we can try to help and give advice in. The most important point I felt, was being there and letting someone know they are worth something, not condemned, loved, not judged, it felt to me that is where Jesus would be.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

My Saturday nights

On patrol with the Street Pastors

BBC Look East has spent a Saturday night in Norwich with a group of volunteers who help revellers when they get into trouble.

It follows the sentencing of two brothers for the manslaughter of a banker while on a night out in the city.

Thursday, 25 June 2009


I watched the Spain v USA football last night, with Mason, Tanya and my niece Robyn, the strangest thing happened, Tanya and Robyn started to discuss the offside rule!!!! I was shocked, we were upset about Spain losing though.

I have had a good week, finding myself busy and content in where and what I am, the wonderful weather helps, it shouldn't, but it does. I have been preparing to move, whether that is in 4 months, as scheduled, or next week, it is all in God's hands. I have also been continuing giving a day a week to the Kadesh farm project, which has been great, wonderful once again in this weather. There is something incredibly satisfying working with the land, I wondered a while back, if this is something to do with repentance, turning back to how God wants us to be, looking after the world He gave us, working the land, just an idea, I just know I enjoy it, and for someone who does not know anything about the land and animals and stuff like that, it is good to learn.

Today we were going to our bankruptcy hearing, but we have rescheduled for tomorrow, this is a big deal, we have never been in this position before and there are loads of thoughts to go with it, one of the biggest being, not knowing, in general though, we are at peace. I do want to write about bankruptcy and my thoughts on it, the stigma, etc, but I think I will do it after. Would appreciate prayer.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009


I was reading a bit of Voltaire's 'Candide' last night, not out of some sort of intellectual foray, but because it has short chapters, so I had put it in the toilet for loo reading.

Candide, the main character, has been taught to believe that everything is for the best in the best possible of worlds, and he starts as a very naive character and ends up going to Holland to beg, here he meets a man who has just been preaching to a crowd on charity, the man asks him 'Do you hold pope to be antichrist?' , to which Candide repsonds that he does not know, but would like something to eat. The man chases him away, haranguing him and his wife empties her chamberpot over him.

Another man sees this happen, and out of pity, takes him in, cleans him up, feeds him, gives him some money and offers to teach him a trade. To which Candide responds

"I am infinitely more affected with your extraordinary generosity than with the inhumanity of that gentleman in the black cloak and his wife."

Just made me think.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Alternative Friday

We stop doing the Youth Cafe in these summer months, because people just start hanging about outside, they pop in for some tuck and then go out to cause the neighbours some mayhem. So we close until September, which means I have some Friday nights off, which is different, but also I started thinking, could we do something else.

Last night, me and a group of the older lads and Morgan, my son, went and got a football, a rugby ball, some rounders stuff and went to the park. First mistake, wrong park, some new stuff has opened at the other main park, so there was no one there and when some people did turn up, they were the ones who were not really into sports, we did get mouthed off by some older lads though, which was interesting.

We then went to the other main park in town, and driving through the town centre, I noticed a lot of young people hanging out there and then at the park, people were quite happily doing their own thing and just ignored the group of older weirdos having a kick about.

In the end I went home leaving Morgan there with his mates. I was not down ,this has just thrown up some questions, like, how do we interact with the young people of this town, if we are not using our building, hmmmm.

I will keep you informed.

Friday, 19 June 2009


I was at my small group last night, we were talking about prayer. Strange thing prayer, it is very personal to people, and if you start talking about the whys and wherefores, people can get defensive, because prayer is about relationship and it is meant to be a personal relationship.

Arranging to pray together seems to be the most difficult thing going though, there is every excuse under the sun not to. Do we pray differently in the west, because we have so many material back ups, Dear God, please heal this person, but if you don't there is always a doctor, please help that person financially, but if you don't there is always the social, house that person, but if you don't there is the council, bring revival, but bring others to do it.

I think we got lost somewhere, in the world, relying on the safety around us, we have let the world sneak up on us, now do we really rely on God, and if He was doing something would we notice? Would we believe? I was reading in Matthew yesterday, the moment the high priest asked Jesus if He was the Messiah, and Jesus said ' Yes, it is as you say'. The whole of the religous establishment, the whole of Israel were awaiting the messiah, the moment He was there, they could not see Him, they would not believe. If a miracle was performed in front of many christians today in the western world, they would not believe.

Church is now more interested in how it does church, than to fall on its knees to God, cry out to He who can do anything and then stand up and walk out in faith to a world that is crying out. As a church we are very good at saying it, supporting those doing it even, but how about really grasping what we are meant to be doing and believing in what can be with God beside us. How about making some real sacrifices for what we are, how about making some real lifestyle choices about where we want to be. Let us turn off the tv and pc ( I see the irony) and go start giving somethings that might cost us something.

David said, he would not give a sacrifice to God that cost him nothing ( 2 Samuel 24:24), do we?
Do we do the easy bits and then get out the cheque book for the harder bits, both need doing, but you get what I mean.

Thursday, 18 June 2009


For some reason I find Thursdays really hard, I think it is something to do with getting fuelled up at the weekend and then by Thursday, running out of fuel. Fridays are the start of the weekend, so there is obviously more fuel there, but Thursdays are hard.

I have had a busy week and I am pleased, I am getting things done, but without a load of pressure hanging over my head, I still secretly chide myself for not doing things, but I am getting there. Trying to learn and grow while waiting for the tide to turn. If things are seasonal, I am hoping that the current season is near the end and a new one will be beginning soon, I am just concerned I am going to come out of autumn into winter, haha.

At the moment I suppose I feel like I am on one of my Thursdays in general, that we are heading for a time of refuelling, which seems a bit weird considering we have a baby due in August, I can't see much refuelling going on then, but then again there is the joy of new life and of being a parent again that is a great booster, you need it to get throught the sleepless nights.

Talking of sleepless nights, I don't seem to get a whole night sleep at the moment. I sleep like a log, it is just no one else does, Tanya wakes me because I snore, the baby wakes, then one of the boys gets up excruciatingly early and starts strolling about, no constant sleep, it can't be healthy, I think the couch is looking incredibly appealing for tonight.

Roll on refuelling time.

Monday, 15 June 2009

The Bumps Are What You Climb On

I bought the book with this title a few weeks ago, I had heard it mentioned before in a sermon by an American preacher I heard on the radio a couple of years ago, then I saw it being for sale in a local charity shop. It is a collection of short little devotionals, that originally were in a radio show, it is a nice little book. But the title is what gets me every time.

I believe, as does the writer of that book, that we develop our relationships with God as we hit these bumps.
We hit a bump in life and how we react, learn and deal with the bump, helps us grow. We make choices, whether it is to sit down at the bump and go no further or to climb on the bump and march on.

I often talk about uber spiritual people, there are not any really, there are those that have chose to climb on the bumps, or as I believe they put it in Willow Creek church, they go from exploring Christ to growing in Christ, then from close to Christ to Christ centred. It is about how and where our focus is in life and how we give our lives in response to all that is asked of us by He who we follow.

I do believe that the greatest growth comes through hitting bumps in life, hitting hard times, when all you have left is God to rely on, because that is meant to be the point anyway.

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding

Yesterday one of the windows of our car shattered, it was a bit of a knock, I can't do anything about it, it is another thing like the house and stuff, I just have to rely on God and climb on the bump, show the world that it is ok, because He who I follow is in charge.

Friday, 12 June 2009


I help as a street pastor on some Saturday nights in Norwich city centre. It is something I enjoy, something that I feel at home doing, for some strange reason at 3 o'clock on a Sunday morning, standing on some street corner stopping a fight or sitting with a homeless person or in whatever way we can help, I like it.

As I have done this and stuff like the youth cafe, I find myself more drawn to being out there, rather than pointing in.

The other week, while out street pastoring on a Saturday night, I was chatting to this guy about some random stuff, when he told me he had been to a church with a friend and that the person who was speaking that day had spoken about how God forgives sin. This guy then asked me very directly if this was true. I was able to give him a very brief and honest gospel message and testimony, he had to go, but a seed was planted and me and my group walked off really praising God for the opportunity of the conversation.

When it comes down to the basics that I often speak of here, the reality of God and the relationship He wants to have with us and set us free to live, they are not known, they have so often been lost in judgement and guilt, in church and religion, in trying to be different things, in being so busy looking at ourselves, that we have forgot to show the reality of Christ to a world that needs Him.

This is something that is on my heart and something I need to run with, thanks.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Called Out Ones

I am different, most people who know me, would be saying right now, yes we know you are different John, very different. But seriously, I am different, I have led and continue to lead a rather different life. A life that in the past I have struggled to come to terms with and struggled to live.

That is the point I have made here before and will make again, I have faced and continue to face the same difficulties and problems as others, sometimes it gets me down, I get upset and sometimes I get angry. But I am different, I am called out to be different, because whatever I face, I am not alone, there honestly is a peace in my life now, that is there because of who is with me, not from anything I have done.

I know I should not go on at others, but I do think there are a lot of Christians who need to shine that specific light, the one that says, I am suffering the same pain as you, but I feel strong, loved and supported. I can be a moody whinger, what does that say to someone about my faith, I am trying and I believe really getting somewhere in not taking myself so seriously and showing that I am living, even in the dark.

Somebody during a prayer meeting yesterday was talking about the shepherd and the 100 sheep. The shepherd will leave the 99 and go looking for the 1. I think sometimes I and others get caught up in what the 99 are doing, when we are meant to be out looking for the lost 1. That is where the shepherd is.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009


Once again after yesterdays post, things got a bit turned on their heads.

I was running about doing some cleaning and happened to look behind our sofa. We have wooden flooring, and the entire area under the sofa was black with mould, the wall was damp, it was pretty horrible. We have been having problems with mould and condensation, but generally it has been around the windows and doors, this was in our living room up the wall and across the floor. It knocked me a bit, we want to move, because of space and we have had health concerns, but we don't know how to. Very frustrating, I don't know what to do.

Tanya got a bit upset and kept on having to go and breath outside as I cleared the mould up. In the end, Tanya said to pray, so we did and asked others to as well. So if you do read this, we could do with being able to move, please pray for us. Ta.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

To Do

Quick post, it is good to be busy, it is good to have focus, I have to remind myself when I am rushing about, that is what I wanted. How quick I forget, when I am busy, I moan about so much to do, when I am quiet, I want to be busy.

I should just have a bit of consistency and be content, shine in what ever I am doing and learn from where I have been in my life. This is one of these I just wanted to blog posts, oh well.

I notice I say 'I' quite often, it is not because it is all about me, it is me taking responsibility for who I am, and I on purposely write 'I' on this blog so that I am not preaching at others.

All random musings, I have just given blood, so I will blame that.

Lastly, the reason I sat down to write was to remind myself to start 2 new blogs by me, I am not exactly sure why, as I can hardly keep 1 going. But I have always wanted this blog to be about me splurging out and expressing myself, while keeping some people up to date with where I am, I want to write 2 other blogs, 1 about issues close to my heart, Burma or human trafficking or you get my drift, a socially aware blog and 2, I wanted to share some poetry, which of course, not everyone will get, and of course some people will take the mick out of, so I thought I would do it separately. I will do this soon, I hope.

Monday, 8 June 2009

I should not have said that

I was not recovered, my brain has been causing me problems for the last week. During half term, I tried to take time out and the last week, I don't really know what I have been doing, being bored is the general consensus. I have been at home, unorganised, not really knowing what I am doing, with Tanya and by about Saturday, I was really starting to go a bit mad. No doors have been opening, applying for jobs with no answer, looking for courses, not finding the right one or not being able to get on it, I am not really sure what I am meant to be doing and felt really guilty at thinking, Tanya will work, I will be househusband and work in some areas of voluntary service or learn something.

I have got over myself a bit now. I did some planning with Tanya yesterday, and I have to be reprogammed about what work is, what serving is, how I am not to worry what the world thinks of me. I say this and then having to explain to people, no I don't work, I find awkward. Is it because, as a society, we base so much on what someone does, or I don't want to be a sponger, or lazy????

So many things I am yet to deal with. I am now going to give certain days over to certain things, this is my plan. One day to getting everything right in the house, one day to help on the farm, one day to help in the community, one day to plan for the future and ministry and one day to focus on learning. These are focus points for my days really, to help me be organised, not waste my time, serve and learn. We will see.

I am feeling good and walked with.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009


Yesterday I just sort of splurged forth not a lot, I feel a bit recovered today, you see Tanya is staying at the boiler room in Stanford for a couple of days, rest, sleep and pray, which I am really excited she can do, but I get myself into superman mode while she is away and decide everything must be done and done better than ever, I can cope, I am super dad, I can prove it, I have done 4 loads of washing, I have ironed, moved stuff around, cleaned, cleared, fed and even had time to blog. I even put on a worship CD, to show that I could be spiritual at the same time, I remember putting it on, not particularly listening to it after that, but at least I ticked that box.

The reasons for me acting like this are, 1. I don't want to miss Tanya, so keep busy, 2. I am very proud and have to prove that I am great at being 'super dad', 3. Being busy of course means I can feel like I am achieving and thus, I am worthy of relaxation time and all accolades of praise.

Load of rubbish really, it is good to miss your partner, it is not good being proud and boastful and I should serve because that is what I am, full stop and stop putting pressure on myself, relax and enjoy the relationships, sometimes, well quite a lot actually, I am like Martha in Luke, who runs about making sure everything is done, missing out on what God is saying. I actually will say that yesterday I was doing everything on my own steam, it doesn't work, I missed out, stressed out and ran about.

Tanya is back later, I continue to learn.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Cloud Cuckoo Land

I didn't know what to call my post today, but I bought a book a couple of weeks ago to learn ancient greek, it only cost me 80p in a charity shop. I admit I am thoroughly enjoying myself, learning slowly and in little bits, today I had to write out cloud cuckoo land in ancient greek, hence the title.

I bought a couple of other books at the same time, the most enjoyable being 'Adrian Plass' sacred diary', which I have really enjoyed, laughed out loud at and been really encouraged by, especially the recurring theme of God liking Adrian, I think God likes me too.

I have been a bit busy, I have plans and I want to start getting organised, it is good to be busy, to have purpose. Last week being half term, I did things a bit differently, small things in my daily routine to make it feel like I was having a break as well, because Tanya has now, except for one day, completed her hairdressing course and we have our bankruptcy to sort out. After that things are going to be different, lack of car for a start, but different in a way that we can be more organised in how we are going forward, more clear and flexible about how and where we are spending our time. This all sounds a bit coded at the moment, but I do have a lot going on in my head, new ideas, new passions, or maybe just reinvigorated ideas and passions, I wanted to write something down. Things are not great from a worldly perspective, but I feel good and am still optimistic.

Just a bit of a blurbed update.