Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Only the dead salmon goes with the current

'The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians. Who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.'

These words aren't straight from the Bible, but they are complete and utter truth in my opinion. Be very careful with what you say and do.

Most people won't be bothered about reading the Bible. To most, it is just a boring old book full of rules to make life dull. Which means if they're not going to read it for themselves, the only Bible they're likely to engage with is the life of the nearest Christians to them instead. What does your life look like? Faithful, upright and prayerful? Or tepid, easily influenced and worldly!?

Now I'm not trying to say the life of a Christian needs to always be full of smiles, hugs and perfect responses. That would just be annoying. But what I'm trying to say, is that if your peers have to see through your foul language, drunkenness, cheap joking and laziness, then something isn't right. In the gospel of Matthew (7v16) it says that you will be able to recognise them by their fruit. 'Them' being God's people; 'their fruit' meaning what their faith in Jesus amounts to in day to day living. Look around the different areas of your life - the friendships, the habits and the hurdles. Which patterns have you grown so accustomed to that you no longer recognise their ugliness? I bet there are loads.

We are to be the change we wish to see in the world. And that aint likely to take place if we're coming across as hypocritical or half-hearted. It's time to pull your socks up and start looking for the areas of life that are gonna bear the fruit.

Don't wimp out just cos it seems too much like hard work; there are lives at stake after all.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Coals or crowns. Kings or clowns.

'It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly...who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who have never known neither victory nor defeat.'
- Theodore Roosevelt

I agree Teddy. I'd rather be a nobody trying to tell everybody about a somebody, than be a nobody who is oblivious to the battle that rages, idly sitting on the couch, with my umpteenth lager, pot noodle and pay-per-view, as the trespasses pile on top without a second reflection.

Anything but 'Lukewarm', please!

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Poem #6 – Euston Station – 13.12.06 – 14.30pm

It’s early afternoon. It’s the middle of winter. Sipping from the tall can he just sits and watches. London is a funny place, he thinks. It is awe-inspiring. It is full of history and potential. It is dangerous but adventurous. It is the frontline for ideas, styles, community-shaping movements, art scenes, fashions and trends. He sits there in the midst of it all at Euston Station and he loves it. Commuters, families, couples, business people, Railway workers, Taxi drivers, florists, dodgy dealers and the homeless. They’ve all passed him in the last quarter of hour. If he didn’t have somewhere to be he could have sat and watched them go by all day long. He takes another mouthful. He feels a compassion for each individual that walks by. Some look flustered. Some look sad. Some look calm. Some greet each other warmly, others look at him like they want to knock him out. He ponders for a moment. How many of these people know what he knows? How many have met their creator and know His voice? And almost as importantly, how many of them know their enemy?

How would he describe this monster to them? Are there eye-opening words powerful enough to convey the damage that this fallen thing can cause? Words don’t do justice when characterising his Saviour, but they probably will do for the Evil One. Maybe one day he’ll have the courage to stand before such people and proclaim these facts more openly, but for now, he reaches into his pocket and pulls out the tattered grey notebook that holds his thoughts for him.

He’s the uncomfortable chill on the back of your neck.
He’s the white noise that pierces your ears.
He’s the stranger who stares at you menacingly.
He’s the heart-thudding, cold sweat you wake up to in the middle of night.
He’s the alcohol-nicotine breath that stings the crowded air.
He’s a burnt out flame. The crushed flowers in the gutter.
He’s cold on cold and heat upon heat.
He’s jaw dropping, heart wrenching, stomach-in-mouth reality.
He can be defeated and absent from your future’s future.

But from time to time, he’s still life’s calamity.

His train isn’t due for another five minutes. So he goes back to slurping cider and the daydreaming.

If only they all knew.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

In His hands.

I'm doing some decorating in a block of flats this week. It's only a few floors up but the view across south London is pretty cool. As I was getting on with work today, it was good to just glance out at the view every so often, particularly as I was standing on the window ledge for quite long periods of this afternoon!

Ipod blaring, dust cascading and mind racing, I couldn't help but appreciate the sheer scale of this place; both the geography and population of it. From the tower blocks on the nearby estate to the high rises of Canary Wharf in the far background, my mind was in overdrive just imagining the huge demographic of lives being lived out between those two sites. From the academic to the criminal; business man to prostitute; addict to accountant; mother to lonely widower - they're all represented somewhere out there. There are probably millions of people going about life between those two tower blocks.

And I was wondering: How many of them realise that God loves them? Not like a bumper sticker slogan, but an actual, tangible, real, life-changing love.

The capital would be an even more exciting place to live if they all took that truth to be their reality.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Poem #19 – penned 18.07.2007 – midday

First and last born king. The breath that blew stars out of His hand like dust. A love that filled the oceans with His tears. The Global Illustrator and hand-painter creator. Gospel editor, narrator and protagonist. The incomprehensible best friend. The prophet’s most vivid dream. Leader of the advancing army. The broken and the meak’s lifetime victory. The close presence. The Pilgrim’s guidance. The dance of the inextinguishable flame. Wisdom’s full understanding.

Grace’s Lamb and Mercy’s Lion.

It's priceless yet probably remains dusty on most bookshelves.

Been chatting to someone a lot this week. Been really enjoying it too. Turns out he hasn't been reading his Bible as much as he should have been recently. That's all about to change though. A Bible has now been downloaded onto the Blackberry; a challenge to begin reading through the book of Acts laid down and willingly accepted. It'll do us both good and I canny wait to chat through it with him. I guarantee it comes alive before his very eyes again.

When was the last time you picked up a Bible? Maybe you devour it every morning with your Cocopops. Or maybe it needs dusting off and carefully opened for the first time this century.

Lets just contemplate it for a second. This book's final entry was written a couple of thousand years ago. And yet it can, without equal, still show its relevance in any circumstance culture throws at it today. It contains hundreds of prophesies that came to pass throughout it's pages. It talks of creation, angels, war, sex, murder, betrayal, love, hope, demons and resurrection (to name but a few). It always has been, and lets face it, always will be, the all time international best-seller. It is adored by many. Ignored by many. Treasured by many. Laughed at by many. But regardless of all these things - it was written by GOD! He breathed it's content into being and promised us that it would always be profitable to our lives if we spent time engaging in the challenges it lays down.

Why on earth would you not at least wanna give it a chance if you never have before!?

And if you profess to believe in it's protagonist and live by it's laws daily, why would you not choose to bury your head in it every single day of your life!?!? It's absolutely stunning.

It will change your life. Just like it would have done the hundreds who died trying to write it.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

This morning I saw a young lady leave a folder on the top of the ticket kiosk at the station. I was some way off, but I saw her put it down, and I watched her walk off without it. She may have run back a few minutes later, once she had realised her mistake, but I don't think she did. I don't know why I didn't jog after her. By the time I had realised I had been an idiot, she had gone through the barriers and disappeared into the sea of commuters. I hope her day wasn't ruined by it though.

Anyway, about 15 minutes later, there I was, sat on the Bakerloo line, when on came an elderly lady. I dunno whether I was trying to make up for my earlier folly, but I offered her my seat. She was more than happy to acquiesce.

Some would say that was a 'good deed'. Others would think a life filled with such works would be good enough for Heaven. A nice fluffy cloud and a harp awaits the lucky person who's 'good' deeds outweigh the bad ones, at the end of play. Like it's all held in some kind of supernatural balance or something.

Afraid not chums. It doesn't work that way unfortunately. If it was down to good stuff like giving up a seat to an old woman or walking a blind bloke across the street, then that would suggest that we could earn our passage through those pearly gates.

There is nothing we can do to earn that. Nothing whatsoever. What accumulation of good deeds could possibly suppress a lifetime of sin and God-dodging?

We'd all be idiots if we thought an everyday, human effort could achieve this for us. Maybe you don't give a monkeys about Heaven of Hell. Or maybe you're desperately worried about the outcome of this all. But we all need to rest assured with the fact that Jesus paved the way. Pure and simple. Keep on giving generously and speaking positively about one another; but don't think it'll get you very far if it isn't done in Jesus' name and for His glory alone.

I hope someone ran after her to return the folder.

Saturday, 11 September 2010


Last night something amazing happened. Really amazing actually. I stood at the back of the room, with a lump in my throat as I watched a group of lads, in their mid-teens watching this video.

At the end, they were asked to show their response in a powerful way. Did what they just watch leave them broken inside? Did it make them want to stand up and be counted? In the Bible, it says that Christians are to 'believe and be baptised'.Do those two things and your up to speed with the basics. As you can see in the clip, one side of the deal involved a serious commitment from one individual. Absolutely everything was laid aside as part of His offering to the situation. Our side of the coin, however, simply requires us to believe in that one man's sacrifice and be baptised, to signify that we are born again into this new life with Him, and to visually show that we have been washed clean of past sins, present woes and future transgressions. Seems like an unfair deal doesn't it!? We get off lightly compared to the beating and torture that that bloke endured.

Well, some of these lads last night thought so too. Laying peer-pressure and doubt aside they rose to the call. "If you want to be baptised in the name of this man, then step forward to the line. If you want to nail your colours to the mast and take a stand once and for all for what you believe in, then make it known now."

5 of them did. It's the best decision they will ever make. Trust me.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Poem #26 – penned 02/06/08 – 1.40am

It’s another late night and spiritually speaking he’s a couple of hundred miles away from normality and easy living. The room is cool but still, most people will be enjoying sleep by now, but not him. The noise of the day has subsided everywhere around apart from inside his own head. Turmoil. Crashing waves. Drumbeats. Warlike chanting. This is what he has signed up for now. His name’s on the list; its been carved in. It would have been much easier not to have signed up. It would have been far safer to have turned a blind eye to the innocent man’s sacrifice; to have just continued enjoying himself without a care in the world. But he has got a care for the world now. It won’t budge.

Strangers that he shouldn’t give two hoots about are now Kingdom opportunities. Friends and family walking on a different path to his will now leave his heart in knots; and all because his own sinful little eyes have been chosen and opened. This passion could drive a man insane – it probably has done many times over the centuries. And even a decade ago he would have thought this was all just dusty and outmoded; something for old women that would stifle and hold him back from real life, here and now, fun. Not the case.

His mind bends when he weighs up the potential each day could hold. The promises of something far greater than he are now his purpose. ‘His promise, my purpose’, he thinks. That has a ring to it. So he jots it down to make sure it is remembered. He doesn’t stop there; there is more to be written on this tonight. So he goes on.

Be still and know that I am the Lord, and find strength against your enemy, the voices this world believe to be unheard.
No matter what, through lashes, thorns and nails, this love endured.
No science or religion but all sin sickness forever cured.
Come to me my children, the weary and heavy laden, against my Father’s wrath, my stripes paid for them.
So be rested and blessed in this mind bending stillness.
My love will show the answers to mind’s tricks and heart’s illness.

It seems funny to him how easy it is to sum it all up so simply. It should be a lot harder surely? Explaining the truth he himself has in his own life shouldn’t be possible, let alone the fact that it can be applied to centuries of faith before his even began. Promises secure.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

whose legacy are you planning to inherit?

We all have an inheritance. We do, honest! It's freely available as well. It's watertight and doesn't involve paperwork, banks, or family squabbles. It's for everyone. The share is massive for each person and doesn't depreciate in value as times goes on. It's priceless too, financially speaking anyway. You can't buy it and it's not for sale. Although a price was paid for it originally. It came at a cost for one person. Someone had to die in order that this inheritance would come alive.

I am talking about Jesus' legacy. The stuff dreams are made of and the material that miracles are woven from.

Jesus said that 'anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.' (John 14 v12-14, NIV)

So with that responsibility in mind, a group of us at Queens Road Church, Wimbledon, stand at the threshold of a new term. We've been spending the last little while trying to put that instruction into practise. We've had some big successes, and we've encountered a few minor hiccups as well. But a new season is upon us and we've got to get back to work on this.

Jesus performed miracles. He caused sight, strength and hearing to return to those who needed it. He opened up lives with prophetic words that cut straight to the cause of an issue. He united the discontent and isolated; the proud and the self-sufficient. He did all these things and much more. But then said: "Greater things will YOU now do."

Don’t sell out for a cheapened version of living, just because the world promotes it so well. Join the group of 18-25's @QRC who are willing to lay that aside as they continue reclaiming an amazing inheritance that is Jesus’ legacy