Thursday, October 09, 2003
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
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
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
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
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) :
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
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
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.
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
10 best things about going on holiday:
1. Not working
3. Barbeques and Beer on the Beach
4. Spending all day, everyday with Su
5. Long Walks
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 :
4. Packing to come home
5. Coming home
Wednesday, July 16, 2003
Tuesday, July 15, 2003
'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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Monday, April 14, 2003
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
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."
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
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
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.)
Friday, April 04, 2003
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
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
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
Friday, March 28, 2003
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.
Thursday, March 27, 2003
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!
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.