Thursday, October 09, 2003

hello there, haven't blogged for ages. (mainly 'cos a strange german bloke has been living in my computer room) (sorry, Wil, you're not really strange. You and Anna are welcome to stay as long as you want). so what brings me back to the blogger? well, some amazing news. Only 10 days overdue, after a 24 hour labour, our good friends Lorna and Dave have had a baby boy! Baby Aiden (sp?), a mere! 9lbs 15oz, our first God-son, welcome to the world. Tres exciting.
What have I been up to? Well, had a fantastic week down in Cornwall. Had a birthday (thanx to all who came to Habibi, it was a great night). Started back at college. Had 17 people round for lunch on Sunday,.Fell off my bike this morning, twisting my knee and narrowly avoiding falling in the canal, oh well, these things happen. will blog more soon hopefully.

Sunday, October 05, 2003

Started back at college this week after what seemed like an incredibly long summer break. I have really been looking forward to coming back this year and getting stuck back into some study.
I am really grateful to God that He has enabled me to take this time to study His word. I was originally only planning to do one year at BCC, but I enjoyed the 1st year so much, that I was keen to come back for more. God has provided abundantly to help with the course fees and our living costs. I am also so grateful to Su, without whom I could not have done what I'm doing now. Not only has she been working hard in a difficult job, but she has been constantly faithful in supporting me, encouraging me when I've been down and bearing with me when I've been tearing my hair out (eg when I'm finishing off an essay at 4 o' clock in the morning).
I have been so impressed with the lectures this week. There is a noticable increase in the level of study this year, which I relish.
Increasingly I am asking the Lord to give me wisdom and understanding, I have no interest in becoming 'Bible Answer Man', being able to quote chapter and verse on any given subject, but I do want to become more familiar with the whole biblical story, being shaped by the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

“Would you know who is the greatest saint in the world? It is not he who prays most or fasts most; it is not he who gives most alms or is most eminent for temperance, chastity or justice; but it is he who is always thankful to God, who wills everything that God wills, who receives everything as an instance of God’s goodness and has a heart always ready to praise God for it.” – William Law
Lord help me always to be thankful for who you are and everything you have given me, help me to want the same things that you want, and help me to recognise that every good and perfect gift comes from you.
There are so many things I have to be thankful for, for Dave and Lorna, who are expecting their first baby any week now. For Wil and Anna at church who are also expecting, and especially my sister Rachel who is due in January. I’m going to be an uncle! Also, my friend Tom from university is getting married in October. Father, I thank you for all these pieces of good news, I pray that you’ll be with all of these families, protect them and bless them in Jesus’ name. Amen

Friday, August 29, 2003

According to today's regulators and bureaucrats, those of us who were kids in the 50's, 60's, 70's and 80's probably shouldn't have survived. Our baby cots were covered with brightly coloured lead-based paint, which was promptly chewed and licked. We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, or latches on doors or cabinets and it was fine to play with pans. When we rode our bikes, we wore no helmets, just flip flops and fluorescent 'clackers' on our wheels. As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags. Riding in the passenger seat was a treat. We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle - tasted the same.We ate dripping sandwiches, bread and butter pudding and drank fizzy pop with sugar in it, but we were never overweight because we were always outside playing. We shared one drink with four friends, from one bottle or can and no one actually died from this. We would spend hours building go-carts out of scraps and then went top speed down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into stinging nettles a few times, we learned to solve the problem.We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back before it got dark.

No one was able to reach us all day and no-one minded. We did not have playstations or X-Boxes, no video games at all. No 99 channels on TV, no videotape movies, no surround sound, no mobilephones, no personal computers, no Internet chat rooms. We had friends - we went outside and found them. We played elastics and street rounders, and sometimes that ball really hurt. We fell out of trees, got cut and broke bones and teeth, and there were no lawsuits. They were accidents. We learnt not to do the same thing again. We had fights, punched each other hard and got black and blue - we learned to get over it. We walked to friend's homes. We made up games with sticks and tennis balls and ate live stuff, and although we were told it would happen, we did not have very many eyes out, nor did the live stuff live inside us forever. We rode bikes in packs of 7 and wore our coats by only the hood. Our actions were our own. Consequences were expected. The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke a law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law. Imagine that!

This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers and problem solvers and inventors, ever. The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all. And you're one of them. Congratulations! Please pass this on to others who have had the luck to grow up as real kids, before lawyers and government regulated our lives, for our own good.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

I think I must be gettiing old. (I'll be 29 in October). Evidence for this is
1. I've been listening to Radio 4 for at least 3 years.
2. I was in a skate/surf type shop the other day and I was 'disgusted at the price of the t-shirts.
3. I can entirely relate to the following (above) :
'Take God seriously, but never take yourself seriously' - I liked this bit of advice (I think it was from Rick Warren, in a comment on emerging minister's blog) The problem is most of us do the exact opposite.
Serious lack of blogging for a while, so I'll try and catch up today. mmm, lets see, what have I been up to? Well I've been out cleaning chimneys with Colin twice now and I have to say I thoroughly enjoy it. It's nice to be out and about, meeting people and well, cleaning their chimneys. I've done about 8 so far and I'm going out all day tomorrow. After that I should be ok to go out on my own. Good honest work and the money's decent as well. Otherwise, I have been working in the bookshop the last couple of Saturdays and all last week, which I've also quite enjoyed (despite all the Jesus junk we have to sell). Read a 'Walk through the bible' by Leslie Newbiggen (note to self, read all of his work), an excellent overview of the whole biblical story, and also 'Responding to the challenge of evolution' by Kevin Logan, which was one of the best (short) introductions to the whole creation/evolution debate I have read.
I've even been doing some DIY (shock horror!). Managed to go to B&Q without getting depressed, and then replaced a drainpipe on the back of the house. It gave me a sense of enormous well-being. Next up, painting the downpipe, and replacing the roof on the lean-to. Man, I'm interesting.

Monday, August 04, 2003

What a cracking weekend. Another heatwave is upon us (must resist the temptation to grumble about the weather we had on holiday). Saturday, Su and I went for a bike ride to a village called Monk's Kirby, which turned out to be a lot further than we thought. Really nice to get away from the city. We stopped off at a pub in Brandon and read a chapter of Dallas Willard's 'Renovation of the Heart' over a pint. Tres cool.
Sunday morning we went down to Moods, for our 'chilled out church'. Met up with Will and Anna, Tom and Angie, Steve, Clare and baby Nathaniel and a lady called Marrione. Steve entertained us all by playing catch with Nathaniel (much to the consternation of his mother). Tom and Angie came back for lunch in the garden, then we prayed for about an hour about church stuff. Payed a visit to Will and Anna, then finished off the day in the garden.
Su is finding work really difficult at the moment. Lord, I pray that you will give her strength and encouragement today and give us wisdom regarding her job situation and my course. Amen.
I'm waiting for a phonecall to go out and get trained up in chimney sweeping! How bizzare is that? Chim-chiminee, chim-chiminee, chim chim cheree, a sweep is as lacky as lacky can be.


Thursday, July 31, 2003

I loved this 'Christian celebrity death match' thing between Dallas Willard and Len Sweet from the 'what is church?' blog. And who said Americans don't have a good sense of humour?

This blogspot advertising banner is getting quite amusing, it was just trying to sell me '28 days later' on DVD, after I talked about it the other day. Could turn into a little game. Let's see how good it is. Mmm, I wonder where I could get hold of copy of 'The Last of The Mohicans' on DVD.
Well, back to good old Coventry after a week or so in Devon. Had a great time, weather was pants though, a complete contrast to the heat wave the previous week when I was kicking my heels around the house.
The best part really was spending lots of time with Su. (He says, trying to redeem himself). No, I mean it. I heard a story on the radio about how loads of couples actually fall out on holiday. They spend all year not talking to each other, go on holiday, where there is nothing to do but talk, and then find they really can't stand each other. Thankfully, this is not the case for Su and I, and I think we both came away feeling a lot closer. (I know, get the vomit bucket.)
Despite the bad weather, we made the most of it. One day Su and I cycled to Woolacombe, from West Down where we were staying. When we set off, it was only slightly raining. Spitting, you might say. As we went on, it got heavier, and heavier. We carried on, getting wetter, and wetter, as the rain turned into a torrential downpour. Chucking it down. We got soaked to the skin. It was fantastic. The route was nearly all downhill to Woolacombe. and I went fast. When we got there I sat on the rocks for two hours, taunting the sea as the tide came in. After almost catching pneumonia, we sat in mum and dad's car and had a picnic. (sitting in a car, eating lunch in the pouring rain, reminds me of sooo many family holidays when we were young) Thankfully we were able to put the bikes back on the car to go back up the hill.

I enjoyed the surfing, well, body boarding, immensely. I was thinking about why I love this so much, and snowboarding too. Well, apart from being an adrenaline junky, I think it is something to do with cooperating with something that is much more powerful than you are.Whether it's waves, or a big snowy mountain, gravity and a slippy bit of wood. Just putting yourself in the right place at the right time, pushing off and holding on. On the edge of loosing it. (and frequently doing so). You are not in control, you're just cooperating. This is how life with God should be. There is this guy who just did a skydive across the channel. He went from 30000 ft, freefalling (flying) for six minutes, reaching speeds of 220 mph. The whole thing took 14 minutes. How cool is that? Su! I've got a new hobby!

Thursday, July 17, 2003

Well, tomorrow we're off down to Devon for a weeks holiday. We're staying at my brother in law Karl's sister's house, with Rachel, Karl, mum and dad. This will be the first year since we've been married that we havn't been to Cornwall, but Devon is just as nice. Can't wait.

10 best things about going on holiday:

1. Not working

2. Surfing

3. Barbeques and Beer on the Beach

4. Spending all day, everyday with Su

5. Long Walks

6. Sunsets

7. Sitting on the rocks watching the waves crash at your feet

8. Eating out.

9. Finding new places

10. Bike rides

5 worst things :

1. Packing

2. Traffic

3. Rain

4. Packing to come home

5. Coming home

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Su has been away tonight. Although I miss her dreadfully, obviously, it does give me a chance to watch a dvd that she wouldn't like. So this evening I watched '28 Days Later'. From the director of Trainspotting and The Beach, Danny Boyle, it is essentially an update of the zombie genre. A Night of the Living Dead for the noughties. Britain has been devastated by a disease which turns people into flesh-eating monsters in seconds. It was pretty good. Lots of suspense, atmosphere, intriguing plot, great cinematography. Fascinating to see scenes of London and the M1 completely deserted. Why is it that I can watch stuff like this and just find it entertaining, whereas my wife would be scared witless, horrified by nightmares for weeks afterwards? Am I wrong to enjoy movies like this? Does this mean I have become desensitized. Hard hearted by years of exposure to senseless violence? Or does it just mean I am not a girl?

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Quite liked this C.S. Lewis quote I read earlier about other religions :

'If you are a Christian, you do not have to believe that all the other religions are simply wrong all through. If you are an atheist, you do have to believe that the main point in all the religions of the whole world is simply one huge mistake. If you are a Christian, you are free to think that all these religions,even the queerest ones, contain at least some hint of the truth. When I was an atheist, I had to try to persuade myself that most of the human race have always been wrong about the question that mattered to them most; when I became a Christian, I was able to take a more liberal view. But, of course, being a Christian does mean thinking that where Christianity differs from other religions, Christianity is right and they are wrong. As in arithmetic-there is only one right answer to a sum, and all other answers are wrong: but some of the wrong answers are much nearer being right than others.

Monday, July 14, 2003

man, it's hot outside! Yes I've finished college, and finished all my essays, hoorah.
I will try and blog a bit more now. I've been reading some of real live preacher's blog. That guy is an amazing writer, everything he writes is interesting. I' d love to be able to write like that, rather than 'er.. today I went to the shops, and then I er.. came home again.'

The last few weeks have felt pretty hectic. I think I've been doing too much thinking. There have been times when I've felt so low and I couldn't explain why. Su has been so supportive. She really is amazing. She works so hard in a difficult job, and has me to deal with as well. She is much stronger than she realizes.

Spent this weekend down at Su's dad's. This is always nice and relaxing but also a bit weird 'cos I never know quite what to say to them. Managed to mess up quite spectacularly on Sunday night before we came home.

mess up no. 1 : spilt a full glass of red wine all over their new garden furniture. (no I wasn't drunk)

mess up no. 2 : whilst playing swingball with Chris (su's little brother, age 9), managed to thwack it full pelt into his face, oops. He cried like a baby.
I'll get my coat, I said.

Oh well, I've done worse.

Found a friend's web site with loads of photos on. This guy was in Banff for the season when we went out there snowboarding in Feb. He's now in New Zealand. Jammy git. Anyway, I'll blog more later, as Su is out all evening on a work's do, lucky girl.

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

O Thou who camest from above,
the pure celestial fire to impart
kindle a flame of sacred love
upon the mean altar of my heart.

There let it for thy glory burn
with inextinguishable blaze,
and trembling to its source return,
in humble prayer and fervent praise.

Jesus, confirm my heart's desire
to work and speak and think for thee;
still let me guard the holy fire,
and still stir up thy gift in me.

Ready for all thy perfect will,
my acts of faith and love repeat,
till death thy endless mercies seal,
and make my sacrifice complete.

Charles Wesley 1762

Monday, June 16, 2003

ouch, my head hurts.Just finished essay no. 3 out of 5, about 'evangelism' in the book of Acts. I think my information intake level is far exceeding my brains ability to process it. Basically, I read too much. I think I may even be addicted to it. I suppose there are worse addictions, but still. Currently on the go are (some of these are even to do with my course) :

The Cost of Discipleship - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

What is Mission? - J. Andrew Kirk

Evangelism in the Early Church - Michael Green

Beyond Tithing - Stuart Murray

Houses That Change the World - Wolfgang Simson

God of The Poor - Dewi Hughes

Rich Christians in An Age of Hunger - Ronald J. Sider

The Resurrection of the Son of God - N.T.Wright

Stupid White Men - Michael Moore

Now, most of these books are pretty devestating in their own right. Taken together they are a recipe for a full on breakdown. I think I may need to calm down before my brain explodes. Maybe I should get out more! oh, I nearly forgot - The Purpose Drivel (tm) Life. I have to agree with Greg Adkins about this one - it kinda bugs me.

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

I like it when I read old books and find stuff which foreshadows what other people are saying today.This happens a lot with people like Tozer. Here's a couple I've come across in the last couple of days:

Heres Dietrich Bonhoeffer, writing in 1937- The Cost of Discipleship, but it could be Dallas Willard -

'Discipleship means adherence to Christ, and, because Christ is the object of that adherence, it must take the form of discipleship. An abstract Christology, a doctrinal system, a general religious knowledge on the subject of grace or on the forgiveness of sins, render discipleship superfluous, and in fact they positively exclude any idea of discipleship whatever, and are essentially inimical to the whole conception of following Christ. With an abstract idea it is possible to enter into a relation of formal knowledge, to become enthusiastic about it, and perhaps even put it into practice; but it can never be followed in personal obedience. Christianity without the living Christ is inevitably Christianity without discipleship, and Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ.'

Duncan Campbell -1956 'I want to say reverently and humbly that for me the greatest reality, the greatest fact in life is just the presence of the Lord Jesus.And I love Him; that to me is greater than preaching, it is greater than seeing revival...the greatest thing of all is just to have fellowship with Jesus'

Lord Jesus, I want to be able to say that too, and mean it. Amen

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

OK, what have I been up to for the last few days? Well towards the end of last week I was getting a bit anxious. I think it was mainly 'cos of these essays I have to do. It's crazy, I've been given this opportunity to study what I'm most interested in, and yet I still moan about the work I have to do. I guess at the bottom of it all is the fact that I'm just plain lazy. I think I inherited it. It seems a bit unfair. I mean, people get all kinds of special treatment for various problems, dyslexia, short sightedness, work related stress, but us lazy people are made to feel guilty. I didn't ask to be lazy, I was born that way. It is only through tremendous self-sacrifice and perseverence in the face of adversity that I am able to get up in the morning and function on a semi-normal level. what? ok, enough whinging

Friday evening we had our worship and prayer evening. There was only a select few of us but it was a good time of really meeting with God. We used the Lord's prayer for a structure and we had one of the best prayer times I can remember for ages. Jesus knew what He was talking about.

Saturday, I played football in Birmingham with our college team against South Birmingham Evangelical church. It was probably the best game we've played, but we got killed (7-3). I really enjoyed it though, scored a couple of goals. I love the way when you're playing football you can just switch off for 90 minutes and nothing else matters except the game. Relaxing in a knackering kind of way.

Our Sunday morning gathering at Moods was nice. Got to pray with a guy who wandered in off the street which kind of makes it all worthwhile.
Rachel came over on Sunday afternoon and yesterday we went for a day's walking in the Peak District which was great once we got away from the bank holiday traffic. So it was a great long weekend all in all, but now I REALLY need to knuckle down to some work.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Need to blog more! Housegroup was cool tonight, Su Clay was back from her O.T. placement. It was great to see her. Bert brought his friend Caroline along which was cool. Talked about Dying to Live, following on from Nick's talk on Sunday. At least we starting off talking about that then moved onto building genuine friendships with non-Christians, sorry, people who aren't yet following Jesus. It seems like lots of people feel they have nothing they can talk about with people or nothing in common and the frustration of smalltalk.
I think we need to focus on this a lot more. How to have common interests and build genuine relationships with people.
I have so much in my head at the moment. 5 essays to write. At least 3 of them have to be in in just over 2 weeks time. I find when I am stressing about 1 thing that I stress about everything else too. Church stuff. Job stuff. Future stuff. I constantly need to remind my self to hand everything back to God. I am asking God to make me delight in Him more than anything else in life.

Sunday, May 11, 2003

Well, I did my preach at Beeches Evangelical church this morning. Seemed to go ok, I was probably the most nervous I've been about any talk I've done for some reason, but God really helped me when I was up there. For the childrens story I did an updated version of the prodigal son which Su helped me write, gave out balloons, party balloons and lollipops which went down well. The church was about as far removed from Coventry Vineyard as can be, ex-brethren v. conservative evangelical. We actually sang 'All Things Bright and Beautiful'. Probably the first time I'd sang that since school. They were very welcoming and v. kind about what I said (and generous too). Didn't rock the boat too much, although I did talk about how the Father lost all sense of respectability and dignity and breaking with tradition in order to run out to the lost son. And I talked about prostititutes quite a lot. (to the adults this is, not the kids!).
This afternoon was another BBQ in the park which was good fun. I love hanging out, BBQing, playing aerobie and football.
Then we had explore the bible this evening where we are continuing to read through Acts. Amazing stuff. I love the prayer of the disciples in Acts 4:24-30. v.powerful. This week as a community here at Coventry Vineyard we are agreeing to spend half an hour each day in prayer. God seems to be speaking to loads of people about prayer at the moment. Found out that, quite independantly of each other, Nick and Andrew McNeil were speaking about prayer this morning, using the Lord's prayer model. And the church I spoke at this morning did it last week. Anyway, must go to bed now. Goodnight.

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

wow! 2 weeks have gone past since I last blogged here. what have I been up to? Well last week I managed to play football 3 times which was cool. Wednesday, 6 of us from college played 3 a side on half a full size pitch for an hour. Just when we were about to die, we got challenged to a game by 6 local lads (schoolboys). We got slaughtered. v. embarrassing. after 25 minutes we made our excuses and left. Thursday was 5-a-side with the Marconi boys, always a pleasure. Saturday, our college team played against a team from one of the Birmingham churches which consisted of boys and girls average age 12. We only just won. And we felt good about beating them. How sad are we?
Friday night went out to dinner at Steve and Siobhans, (with Neil and Mikey B) too. These are the guys we went snowboarding with. lovely people. Saturday night we went to a party at Steve and Jo's, for Jo's birthday. Met some friends of their's Al and Emma who are Christians. Al organises hip-hop nights in Leamington and Brum. v. funky.
I have a 'preaching engagement' on Sunday @ a little evangelical church in Birmingham. I have to do a half hour sermon and a ten minutes children's talk (yikes!). They'd best get the brushwood and matches ready. Major prayer needed.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

First day back at college today after the Easter holidays. I can't believe it's the summer term already! this year is flying past. Had Jonathan Bentley this morning for our 'evangelism' module. I think it's going to be a good course, very encouraging. Talked about the importance of our inner life for being a faithful witness. Thought these questions were good for accountability type stuff

Am I content with who I'm becoming?

Am I becoming less religious and more spiritual?

Does my family recognise my spiritual growth?

Do I have a 'flow through' attitude? i.e. am I being generous with what I've been given, or am I storing it up like a reservoir

Do I have a quiet centre to my life?

Have I found my "because"?

Is my prayer life improving?

Have I maintained a genuine awe of God?

Is God bigger in my life than He was last year?

Am I feeding on the right spiritual diet?

Do I have joy?

definitely food for thought.

I am wondering if I should keep a more private journal or just stick with this one.

Went to the Easter Holy Communion service at the local Anglican church in Yately. It was awesome. Really alive, moving and meaningful. (We were warned by 3 different people before the service that we would probably have prefered the previous 'family' service as it was less 'traditional', but we loved the one that we went to). Its amazing how embedded the consumerist idea of church-going is, we just felt it was a real privilege to worship with them.

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Found this guy - Greg Adkins or 'emerging minister' via Steve Sparrow's blog. What an amazing blog! Made me laugh out loud several times and was also very inspiring. Looks like they are doing some really interesting stuff. Hope he doesn't mind me putting a link to his blog here.

Monday, April 14, 2003

It's been a few days since I blogged. (on this one anyway). I need to be more disciplined in the time I spend blogging. I want to do it regularly, but I don't want to spend too much time on it, neglecting Su and other stuff. (Su has gone out to a 'ladies night' tonight so I can get away with it). I am supposed to be writing my Galatians essay though!

So what have I been up to?
Well, I've done a few days in Wesley Owen. Spent Saturday morning pricing up 8 boxes worth of bibles for a promotion they are doing in May. I know it's vital to have a variety of translations and stuff, but with some of the study bibles they are producing the publishers are blatantly taking the pee. I mean 'T.D.Jakes 'Woman Thou Art Loosed'(Tm) NKJV study bible - get real! Blatant marketing exercises. Talk about peddling the word of God for profit.

Oh, and on Saturday somebody nearly started a fight with me! There I was, sat by the cathedral in Brum, reading and eating my lunch, when some bloke walked past, leaned over and made a wierd noise in my face like 'Kiighrghr', like he was going to spit or puke or something. So obviously I looked/stared at him as he went past. Then he started shouting 'Wot u lookin' at ?' etc and came up to me and asked if he wanted to fight him. I politely declined. 'No, I don't want to fight you, I just wondered why you pretended to puke on me' I said. He carried on shouting and making insults etc then walked off. As he did so, I must confess I laughed at him. Then he came back and ranted some more before storming off, almost bumping into an old man on the way (whom he also started with - 'do u wanna fight me, old man?' etc.
I carried on reading my book and enjoying the sunshine.

What annoyed me was my internal reaction, I let him rile me. I wanted to rip his head off. I wanted to tell him what a sad little loser he was that he need to pick fights with random strangers in order to boost his self esteem. Hardly 'forgive him, he knows not what he does'. I remember David Wilkerson in 'The Cross and the Switchblade', he said to the knife-wielding gangsters "You can cut me up into a thousand little pieces and everyone will scream 'I love you'". or something. Well, I felt like saying to this guy, you can kick my head in, and beat me 'til I'm black and blue and every part of me will still scream 'YOU LOSER!'

test of Christ-like character? FAILED, I need serious heart renovation. how can we demonstrate Christ's blessing of those who persecute us if we can't bless those who p*ss us off?

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Some more Wright stuff:

Wright said, "I would like to be instrumental. At the moment, a great many devout Christians do not believe that anything good can come out of serious, academic, historical study. They just don't believe it. Their seminary gave them plenty of evidence that these guys have got their heads in the clouds, or their heads in the sand, or both, and that the real world is different. I struggle to show again and again that when you really do business with the Bible at the fullest historical and theological level, then it is passionately and dramatically relevant, life changing, and community changing. And I suppose I would like to kick-start a biblical renewal within the church—not simply a renewal of private piety, though God knows if you got the sort of renewal I am talking about, it would drive people to their knees, it would fill their hearts with joy, it would challenge them at every possible level.

"Far too many people, especially within evangelicalism, think that the individual is all that matters, and that the corporate dimension is a distraction or diversion. Of course Christianity is deeply personal for every single Christian; nobody gets lost in the kingdom of God. But you can't play that off against the corporate dimension. If you get the corporate right, you get the personal thrown in."
This holiday is going way too fast. Three weeks sounded like ages, but it's half way through already. I need to get cracking on my essay. Monday I went round to Nick's again in the morning. Spent the afternoon finishing off the fence and giving our conifer tree a serious haircut. Went down to Moods and met up with Nick, Rich, Beccy and Andy, played cards.

Yesterday I spent most of the day trying to research for my essay -'What was the "Galatian crisis" and why did it matter so much to Paul?". I love Galatians, Paul in angry mode. I've decided to take this opportunity to get my head round the so-called 'New Perspective' on Paul. Good web page on it all here. Basically, it revolves around what Paul meant by 'justification' and 'works of the law'. I may try and summarise this at some point.Gave me an excuse to read loads of N.T. Wright stuff, he really is an amazing scholar, and a Godly man, and he's going to be the new bishop of Durham, hoorah! I am realising that I absolutely, positively, unapologetically love theology, especially New Testament stuff. Now, obviously I don't just want a bunch of head knowledge which makes no difference to my life or other peoples, but equally I don't want to use that as an excuse for not thinking seriously about this stuff. I want to be able to understand profoundly in order to be able to explain simply, and that means serious historical/theological study. As Tom Wright would say, we are not at liberty to invent who Jesus or Paul were, or what they meant or what their aims were. I want to know Jesus the Messiah, the first century Jew who is the same yesterday, today and forever, not some icon that myself or my tradition has made up. It is by knowing the real Jesus that we know what God is like.And that's what I want, so help me Lord!. (amen brother).

So there we are, good theology should always lead to worship.

Sunday, April 06, 2003

Another great Sunday, life seems to be good at the moment. Coventry Vineyard at Moods was cool this morning. It felt like people were starting to worship. I hope it blessed God's heart. Nick was talking about talking with God. It really spoke to me. We all seem to at the same point recently. Realising that we need so much more of God and trying to figure out practical ways of being with Him.

Mum and Dad came round this afternoon for a cup of tea and we did some praying as well.
Watched 'About a Boy' this evening, What a brilliant film. Hugh Grant in non-bumbling mode.Lots of stuff about fatherhood and family and community and stuff.

Saturday, April 05, 2003

Spent a lovely evening with Tom and Angie. Walked to the local park and played Aerobie. Came home and chatted and prayed about housegroup. It was cool to spend time with them, They have such a heart for God. I pray that we would be able to help them grow in Him as part of our community.

This afternoon we went to B&Q and it made me physically depressed. I don't know why it has that affect on me. I had to go and sit in the car. I felt bad 'cos I know Su loves to go round the garden centre. I guess its cos I know how bad I am at DIY and stuff. Came home and spent the rest of the afternoon staining the garden fence, whilst Su cleared out the lean-to, (accompanied by periodic screams as she discovered big spiders lurking in there.)

PEACE, goodnight.

Friday, April 04, 2003

Worked at Wesley Owen today. I kind of like working there, but it kind of winds me up as well. So many of the books they sell are just junk IMHO. They sell good stuff as well but there are so many 'The secret to a successful life/ministry/whatever books. Just confess this daily and shout at the devil and you'll be free and liviin' in victory type stuff. Oh well, people have gotta make a living I suppose.

There was a bomb scare in Birmingham today. The police cordened off several streets and evacuated the shops. We were told to stay put and keep away from the windows while they did some controlled explosions on a car. The 2 customers in the shop had to stay in the shop for 2 hours. We made them tea. At least they had plenty of reading material. The Prayer of Jabez for People Caught in a Bomb Scare?

Tired now so I'm off to bed, good night.

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

Had a good couple of days. Got lots of reading done, which has been nice. Yesterday I cycled into town, (in the rain this time though). Went to the cathedral to pray for Iraq. Turned out not to be as serene as I'd hoped. At least 2 parties of noisy schoolkids. Spent most of the afternoon in Moods, reading 'A New Kind of Christian' which Nick has lent me. I haven't hardly been able to put it down since Monday. It is very well written, and I'm surprised how much of the stuff I'm already on board with. I'll try and formulate some more thoughts at some point.

Last night was down at 'The Meeting Place', the drop in meal thing at the Sally Army that we have been helping out at. There are some wonderful people down there. Some wonderfully screwed up people as well. I always find going down there exciting, stimulating, scary and heartbreaking all at once. I should never complain ever again about anything in my life, but I will.

Met up with a friend, Jon, a Lebanese guy.He was buying all kinds of wonderful gifts for his wife's birthday which is tomorrow. I swear middle-eastern people know something about generosity and passion that I need to learn.

This evening as I was walking into town I started to get a bit anxious about job type stuff. This is the main thing I'm praying about at the moment. Whether to do another year at bible college, what to do if I don't, what to do over the summer if I do. I know God is putting things in my heart, but there's still a lot of out-working to do. Anyway, this was all buzzing round my head 'til I got to Moods where our housegroup was s'posed to be meeting up tonight ('cept it was shut), Just then, I bumped into Ghislain, a guy from Burundi who I'd met the first day he arrived in this country to seek asylum. That day he didn't know where Coventry was in England. He spoke v. little english and wasn't really sure how to claim asylum. I managed to get him a solicitor and somewhere to stay via the refugee council. It was so cool to see him. Turn's out he's been granted Indefinite Leave to Remain, has got engaged to a lovely Christian (also from Burundi) and he's applied to do law at Cov .Uni. Seeing him lifted me right up. Thank you Lord.

Su is away tonight, which is probably why I'm still up. anyway 'nuff ramblings for tonight.

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

Yesterday was beautiful. Cycled round to Nick's in the morning, chatted about church stuff and prayed. Spent the afternoon reading and trying to sort out the blog. Then last night a few of us piled round to Nick and Vicki's again to watch a DVD - Reign of Fire. Now there's an abismally poor/cheesy film if ever I saw one. Still, it was nice to see people.

I was thinking about going down to the Cathedral to do some praying. I pop in there now and again and I do find it helpful. Its a bit wierd 'cos they always think that you're going to be a tourist and try and give you a little guide book (and to put some money in, of course). When you say you've come in to pray they look a bit shocked.

God has been challenging/inspiring me and Su about praying recently. Usually, whenever I feel a bit guilty about praying, I read a book on prayer to try and sort it out, and then forget to pray. But this time I read a simple little book by Bill Hybels,Too Busy Not to Pray, and it's really cool. So we're 'training not trying' to pray more, as individuals and as a couple, and that's also what inspired me to write this journal. I know I need so much more of God. I need His wisdom and His guidance. So help me Lord!

Monday, March 31, 2003

Right, that does it, I'm off to sit in the back garden with a yoghurt and a fat theology book - Jesus and the Victory of God.
aah, it's doing that wierd thing when the posts are appearing in the archive but not on the home page!
mmm, blogger doesn't want to seem to post anything for me today. Maybe it is telling me to go outside and enjoy the sunshine!
I love you.

Friday, March 28, 2003

I'm knackered today. Gave all my essays in this morning, which was a great relief. Then we had church history with Dr. Massey. He seems to be doing ok. (His son died unexpectedly of a heart attack last week, age 36). The funeral is on Monday. He was talking about the birth of liberal theology in the 19th Century. With modernism -Darwin,Kant, Marx, Freud etc the rise of critical scholarship, then the conservative reaction to it, the birth of evangelicalism -Lightfoot, Warfield, the preaching of Spurgeon. He also covered the 20th century, how liberal theology emptied the mainline churches, the social gospel, the ecumenical movement, Vatican II and his speciality the rise and rise of Pentacostalism and then the charismatics/third wave etc. Not bad for a 2 hour lecture. Made me think about how so many movements (all?) are born out of a pendulum swing reaction to what had gone before. I remember Brian Mclaren saying in 'Finding Faith' about Deism being a reactionary movement, and how reactionary movements rarely last. Thought that was quite ironic for a book that was basically a reaction to Modern versions of how Christ has been presented. Oh well, I seem to be being pretty virbose today. I feel sorry for any poor fool who ends up reading this stuff. It would bore them half to death I should think.
I have been feeling a bit closer to God recently. Its wierd, it kind of makes me feel like a child. Like I'm innocent. But at the same time that makes me feel quite vulnerable, like I'm having some protective layers peeled off. anyway nuff said for now.
Finished my essay! and the birds have just started singing, joy!
s'pose I'd better get some kip


Thursday, March 27, 2003

Well, had my last New Testament lecture today on the book of Acts. John Moxon the lecturer, really is amazing. He is a fountain of knowledge and is well up with all the latest scholarship e.g Wright and the 'New Perspective on Paul.

Anyway, now I'm trying to write my essay on Spiritual Warfare which has got to be handed in tomorrow. We had a free choice of what to write about as long as its connected to Spiritual Warfare. For some bizzare reason I have decided to try and tackle the contentious issue of Territorial Spirits and 'Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare'. Basically it's the Wagner view vs the Wimber view. (Guess whose side I'm coming down on). 365 words written, 1135 to go! I think it's going to be a long night. Maybe I could just bind the spirit of unwritten essays!

Ok ,here goes. I blog. Not too sure about posting my innermost thoughts on the web for all to see.So I'll keep them to myself and just put random musings here. Anyway, it's meant to be a private blog, so maybe I'll keep it that way.
Anyway, now that I've started, I need to go to bed. Only one more essay to write (in a day!), still its only 1500 words. on spiritual warfare! oh well, good night. God Bless.