Thursday, 30 December 2010

I just spent the last 2 hours watching BBC1's 'The Nativity'. A bit belated I know.

Don't let the fact that Christmas has been and gone stop you from watching it! It's absolutely bloomin' brilliant. And to think that it was prime time, 4 nights in a row, on national TV.

...the mind boggles at the number of people who might now be thinking slightly differently about this man called Jesus.

Is this going to be a year to remember!?

So, 2011 is nearly upon us. What, if anything, are you going to do differently compared to twenty-ten? You may have it all lined up and sussed, without the need for any alterations!? If that's the case, I'd love to meet you. Because my 2010 was far from faultless. I'm not a massive fan of New Year's resolutions. I figure if there's stuff in your life that needs working on, it should be sorted throughout the year. Not just from January 1st onwards.

Having said that, I have thought of a few areas I'd like to work on from this weekend on: building on some friendships, reading my Bible more and getting stuck into a couple of new hobbies, to name a few!

Whether you're fussed about making resolutions or not, take the time to consider what could be done differently in the next 12 months. You're kidding yourselves if you think you've got the perfect path mapped out.

I think God gave us a purpose for being here and plodding from A to B (2010 to 2011; relationship to relationship; night out to night out; promotion to promotion) was not His intention.

Why and how is 2011 going to be a year to remember?????????

Saturday, 25 December 2010

'He humbled himself. He went from commanding angels to sleeping in the straw. From holding stars to clutching Mary’s finger. The palm that held the universe would later take the nail of a soldier.'(misc. quote)

'For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.'
(Isaiah 9:6)

Happy birthday Jesus Messiah.

Friday, 24 December 2010

"The first time that you opened your eyes did you realise that you would be my Saviour? And the first breathe that left your lips did you know it would change this world forever!? To look back and think this baby would one day save me.

And I celebrate the day that you were born to die so one day I could pray to you to save my life..."

(song lyrics)

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Santa can't you see why you're the sideshow!?!?

Well, it would be a bit remiss of me to bang on about Jesus on here for six months and then say nada about Him at Christmas time, wouldn't it!?

It's so easy to get caught up in the hype. Without even realising it, I'm hooked on the food-drink-party-presentbuying-christmastreedecorating whirlwind that is 'Xmas', without even pausing to remember why it is that this is what it is in the first place! The West goes mad for it and London is no fact, it's probably in the thick of the knees up.

I'm sitting here, looking at the blinging Christmas tree, surrounded by presents with Santa Claus and Snowmen cards hanging everywhere. When did it develop into this? I mean, I am the biggest kid when it comes to Christmas time, but this is a far cry from the stable and wise men and all that stuff. Everyone knows the story of Jesus' birth; it has been drilled into our psyche by countless Nativity plays growing up. So much so, that the fully-booked Inn, manger-delivery and guiding star plot seems to have faded into the background for most people.

I think that Jesus probably would buy His family gifts. I think He would share a feast of a meal with His loved ones. I also think He'd probably enjoy the finest bottle of wine to help celebrate the occasion too (probably not mulled though!).

Whilst this whole extravagant celebration stems from extremely humble beginnings, I don't think it's wrong to go a little overboard with our eating and spending.

It's a King's birthday after all. Just remember that when you're stuffed and wearing your stupid paper crown at the dinner table.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Did I forget to remark on the remarkable!? Read the book of Mark and you will marvel...

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

I've been learning a lot about leadership recently. Particularly, when to take it up and when to know when to put it down. Both require serious wisdom. A couple of years ago, my old man started co-leading a cluster of groups at church that met for monthly meetings. Back then, it was a wise move to ask him to lead it. He was the man for that job.

Well, tonight he lead his last of these groups as they make way for a new set of events later in the new year (lead by some new people). There's a lot of positive things I could say about the way he has helped lead his group (his faith, diligence and candour to name but a few areas).

Some people might negatively view this step down from position. I've yet to hear him grumble.

Can you name one thing makes a good leader? I can. It's the person who remains in the room at the end of their meeting, stacking the chairs loyally and making the most of whatever responsibility has been handed to them.

I hope one day my 26 year-old son might see me stacking the chairs faithfully as well.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Poem #8 – 11.01.07 – the day before returning to University

The boy is becoming a man. The fool is slowly gaining wisdom. The perpetual sinner is fast realising that the slate is clean. He doesn’t need to be trapped by it any longer. He has a calling now. He has a cause to fight for. He is championing something magnificent; something resplendent; something that goes beyond the grave. Something everlasting. It’s taken him a while to get to where he’s at now, but he cannot take his eyes off it now. It consumes him. It causes visions, dreams and an inferno in the pit of his stomach. He might waver in his commitment; he might stumble along the way. He may fail to grasp opportunities. But this supernatural thing will remain steadfast through it all. He knows that perfection is not required of him. He knows he will never have that label no matter how hard he tries. But this, this beautiful, all-consuming, awe-inspiring thing, will forever be spotless and spectacular.

This chorus of emotion and fire within quietens down, and he focuses on the pint of lager sitting in front of him. His friends will be joining him soon. He has much good news to share with them. This could be the night that a fire is lit inside their souls too. It might not; who knows? He’s willing to give it a shot nonetheless. Pulling out the trusty old notebook, he pens a quick few lines before the horde descend and his train of thought is thrown askew.

Trying to tread carefully in the footsteps of my Saviour,
This narrow path is one I must savour.
The King is alive, creation declares it.
So why must I fall for the slippery slopes of Evil’s pit?
With so much goodness in the world, all around me,
I just wish it would be done for my King nailed to a tree.
The tears of the wise must surely be an indication,
But instead it’s only greeted with dismissal and indignation.
If only they knew how fragile the paving,
Of this narrow road that leads to their saving.
I know it’s down to me to be the good example,
But upon all my good words, the Evil seems to trample.
A flicker of light, just a vague understanding,
Is all you need to see your Kingdom expanding.
So why do I struggle to be a good witness?
Is it ‘cos I live for this world to too much excess?
It’s a new year, new me, new ‘me and you’!
It’s patently clear what you’re calling me to do.
Read your word and pray for those who don’t know your love…

…And remember I’m secured by those ancient promises from above.

Pen down. Notebook tucked away. A mouthful or two of drink. Then the first friend walks through the doors. What conversations will ensue? Could this be the night that ground is taken from the enemy? Will a mark be left or a seed planted? This could be the greatest day of their lives. He has the words to share and the passion to drive them. Only time will tell….

Friday, 3 December 2010

I read this great translation of Matt 11 v28-30 recently:

"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me — watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." (from 'The Message')

I am tired and worn out at the moment. And totally burned out on 'religion'. So it's pretty refreshing to read this particular translation, because it's easy to forget how powerful the unforced rhythms of grace actually are. It's time to 'stop, look and listen' again I reckon.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Just received this segment of an email from my Mum. It should stop you in your tracks:

'Thought you might like to see this paragraph that I extracted from an email sent out by ****** from ******* ****** who seems to be very near the end of an extremely long battle with cancer. I think this is a very useful little "life tool":

The plan of God cannot be changed by our decisions. His plan is good and eternal – what does change is the path we take to get there. We all are faced with decisions that will effect our lives – sometimes we will walk through the wrong door or make a wrong or bad decision and we will suffer the consequences. Those decisions do not effect the eternal plan - just the daily walking out of our lives. We get to choose how we deal with the things we are facing – the good the bad and the ugly. The only question is “in the midst of the circumstances that I like or don't like, who am I going to be?” The most important thing to remember is that in the end we win. This is a time to make sure that we (as Christians) really understand the eternal aspects of our lives and the lives of those whom we love. This is a part of God's plan that we don't like – but we know that liking or disliking the plan will not change it, it will only effect how we live in it. God is good all the time and we need to remember that during times when we just don't like what is happening. And here is a Kingdom principle – when we think God is not good all the time, it's our misbelieve in play, not Him.