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!