Sunday, 31 July 2011

It would be quite easy to see why yesterday's wedding guests would be compelled away from church for a little while longer. The priest/reverend/insert 'title' here, almost stole the show from the outset. Cracking inappropriate gags and smoking/drinking/dancing his way through the proceedings, it was very hard to not look on with raised eyebrows. I guess you could look at it from two perspectives: either questioning his position/example individually or questioning my/our/his hypocrisy. 

If we say we have this gift of a message, surely the first sign or result of this should be a complete change in OUR attitudes and actions? If this 'message' isn't amazing enough to do this in our lives, people who are yet to believe in it will have very little desire for it themselves.

I'll refer back to this other bloke: think of the opportunity he had yesterday to preach his heart out; extol the virtues of a Christian marriage; or perhaps even just say a prayer over the couple without even laughing half way through. Such a missed opportunity in front of a largely unchurch-attending crowd. 

But then again, I look at the bloke seated next to me who I failed to engage in any meaningful conversation with whatsoever. An equally squandered encounter?!

I might not be a 'priest' but I have a responsibility too. Im not sure what's more displeasing to God: one man's inappropriateness or the raised eyebrows and tutting of the inactive onlooker?

'He replied, "Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: "'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me." (Mark 7 v6 NIV)

Friday, 29 July 2011

'I am profoundly grateful to God that He did not grant me certain things for which I asked and that He shut certain doors in my face.' (Lloyd-Jones)

Find huge comfort knowing that He intimately cares for your next step. Your very next breath. Be thankful that He is the Sovereign God and not the sloppy God.

Patience is a virtue; but waiting is also a bloomin' tough game!

'Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the lord your God will be with you wherever you go.' 

- Joshua 1 v9

Today is my last day on staff at my church. After a month in south-east Asia, i'll return unemployed and looking for a new start in something. Very daunting to say the least. So I thank God when I stumble across verses like this one! When Joshua was facing the challenge of his lifetime, assuming leadership from the recently deceased Moses, he must have seen a mountain of a task ahead of him. So, the comparison here is rather distorted, I recognise that! But one man's mountain, is another man's molehill (that's not an ancient proverb...I just made it up).

I wait prayerfully and hopefully for September. He know's what's next!

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

I've said it before and will no doubt say it again in the future: be careful what you pray for. Because if you pray with faith, God WILL answer.

I've been praying recently for the opportunity to share my faith with my friends more frequently. There's an urgency required to witnessing that all too often I disregard.

In the last couple of days, a very close friend and colleague of mine has been asking me loads of questions about the faith I have. I love to be put on the spot like this. What will Heaven be like? Why do you pray? Do you believe in angels? What does the Bible say about Earth? 

Honestly, I've had it all this week!

After hours of discussion I asked him if he would take this intrigue any further...

He said 'not yet'. 

It would be easy for me to be discouraged by this, especially considering how well I thought I'd done (pride!?!). But then I take great comfort in knowing that God is SO on this guy's case - so much so, I don't think he even realises yet. With every deep question I can just imagine him walking closer to Jesus' outstretched arms.

So I'll continue to hope for him/Him to ask those big questions of me.

'But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.' - 1 Peter 3 v15

Monday, 25 July 2011

'Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colours. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open. When down-and-outers get a break, cheer!'

James 1v2-9 (MSG)

Sunday, 24 July 2011

In a weekend where dozens are massacred in Norway and a drugged up music icon joins the '27' club, life and death is probably a topic that's hot on most lips. It's occupied my thoughts somewhat as well. For another reason though. I was very priveledged to say a quiet little prayer over my little nephew earlier today. Just 10 days old. The biggest thing on his mind is wind-release and milk. He's the coolest little dude around. To consider one wasted yet highly successful life alongside his new little life, I find it impossible to NOT ask for God's biggest blessings over him. I hope he is raised up to one day go to the darkest, most needy corners of the world with God's message of love.

He was very fearfully and very wonderfully made by a Creator who cannot wait to reveal this truth to him. Hopefully THIS one day becomes his drive and not the sex, drugs and rock 'n roll living, currently in the headlines.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

'If I was ever prosecuted for my religion, I truly hope there would be enough evidence to convict.'

- John Wooden

Friday, 22 July 2011

If you've been looking at stuff on this site for any length of time, you might have worked out that I'm interested in God's kingdom. You could say it's something of a distraction to me. 

Last week I was at a conference which painted a great picture of what the global church is doing. Both the subtle and the very significant advances it is making. This is the kinda thing which really excites me. 

So, a week later, here I am, sitting on my sofa, trying to hold on to those amazing stories and snapshots of God's gospel taking ground, though all the while feeling the spiritual temperature cooling down inside me. 

How do I hold on to the excitement, the vision, the sense of togetherness!!?

I open my Bible (anywhere) and start reading! 

Because it's all in there. As colourful as can be in black and white. I recommend that you give it a shot too. You don't need the conferences and the ministries to get caught up in it all. Just open your Bible and it's there too. 

It really is exciting stuff.

When the kingdom and the church is in allignment, you'd better watch out. When it isn't, feel free to take a nap.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

'Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the lord's purpose that prevails.' - Proverbs 19 v21

'May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.' - Psalm 20 v4

So several months back, God told me to stay in the job I'm in until September (Yes, God does speak to people. No, this does not make me crazy). As that date rapidly approaches, I have no ideas and no sense of what work will look like - other than to wait patiently at the moment...which is actually bloomin' difficult!

A month or so after the September conversation, we then felt very positive about booking a month off to go to Vietnam & Cambodia in August; two places we've wanted to visit for some time. To love travelling as much as we do, and to then go nowhere for two and half years means that this trip is a huge answer to prayer. 

It builds faith for this September thing. I know His plans are to prosper and not to harm - a thought that I maintain when resisting the urge to go on the recruitment websites... We have a mini adventure in South-East Asia which He has crafted for us to enjoy, before the job hunt commenses!

Monday, 18 July 2011

Creatormade is one year old today!

I can only take a small guess at the different lives who have stumbled across it over the months. More nationalities than I could have dreamed of though.

Some of you might think it's a load of crap. Some of you read it regularly and seem to enjoy it.

Either way...God bless ya!

Friday, 15 July 2011

some more cool quotes from this week...

" If we find comfort as a central focus in our lives, we are going to struggle to live courageously."

" This is the only time in history when you'll get to fight for the glory of have a limited window of opportunity."

- Scott Marques

"The word would have no meaning or significance if we couldn't do the same things or experience the same spirit today, ourselves."

- Terry Virgo

"A new era requires new sacrifices."

"Nations can be changed by God. They definitely cannot by me."

- Steve Van Rhyn

"Fear: a holy inclination of the heart which earnestly endeavours to please the Lord. Generated by Him in the first place, knowing that one day we'd stand before Him."

- Tom Shaw

"Be faithful in the day of small things. Let God be the one who calls you. You don't want an opportunity that you know you manufactured yourself."

- Mike Betts

"Pre-cancer, I knew this was all true. Post-cancer, I really know it's true!"

"The furnace of suffering doesn't consume. It refines."

"He washed my eyes with tears - that I may see Him more clearly."

"It's because of the scars that this is so spectacular."

- PJ Smyth

"We're not running this race against other people; but the 'other' you. The lustful you, the greedy you, the unkind you."

-Stef Liston

anguish V concern (part 2)

This is completely counter-cultural this stuff. It bucks any trend and is totally unfashionable. I'm sure i've said it before on here. 

Just to give you an idea of what the movement of God's kingdom looks like, let me give you an example.

Lastnight I stood in an auditorium and watched as several thousand people partied the night away in celebration of giving their money away! Foolishness right!? .....not even remotely. 

The work of God's church is relentlessly spreading across the globe. Thousands and thousands of lives being impacted by this truth. From India to Bolivia. Russian to Cambodia. An advancing horde. 

It was upon hearing the stories of these lives being changed that caused such a crowd to rejoice when parting with their hard-earned cash. To the tune of just under a million pounds. 

Just think of the difference this could make!? I'd rather put my money there than in the pub, casino or any of the highstreet chains. 

It's a watertight investment. 

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

I was in a meeting this morning when a siren went off. A massive klaxon in my heart. A shocking alarm.

I have many friends and family who are yet to find a faith in Jesus. It would amazingly change their lives if they did. But the guy heading up the meeting said two words which shook me up.

Anguish Vs concern.

Or to expand it slightly: real anguish or mere concern.

I'm sure many people reading this have people in their lives who they want to see in Heaven one day...!? We might pray for them (occassionally!). We might try and tell them about Jesus (occassionally!). If you relate to that or have just felt a nudge from the Holy Spirit, then you're probably quite concerned for their salvation. 

We're so concerned for these people that we'll continue considering it later. Just after we've finished the DVD box set. Or after we've spent a couple of hours surfing the net. 

Eternity is an incredibly long time. Incredibly! If we really cared about them, shouldn't we be anguished enough to turn the screens off? Put the magazines down? Or turn off the gadgets/computer games etc? 

If you disagree, then continue as you are. Mildly concerned for these loved ones. But don't forget...eternity is an incredibly long time for you to no longer be able to pray for them. 

We'll one day give an account to God for all the relationships we basically ignored in place of Glee, Call of Duty and Facebook.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

En route to a conference. Thousands from dozens of nations...all hoping to get caught up in the bigger picture again.

At the start of a mad hectic week. Conference Christians, thrill seekers and the devout all meet. Packed out carriages, lifelong marriages, the old and young all gathering, worshippers of all ages. And i've been here before. I've come knock-knocking before on this narrow door of yours. Waiting to hear again from the Son of man. All this hype and preparation because we all know He can. Thousands joining with loud shouts, drum beats; together they stand. Trying to catch a glimpse of your pierced feet and pierced hands. 

You might think we're all crazy, but you're wrong. Just a glimmer yourself and you'd be quick to sing along. 

Monday, 11 July 2011

Yesterday was remarkable. A bumper crop of baptisms to celebrate! A variety of stories and backgrounds that all lead each of 'the baptised' to one of THE most significant days of their lives. Many different ages and nationalities, finally standing side by side announcing to the hundreds that they acknowledge Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. It was a great celebration to be part of.

But what marked equal significance for me was the unassuming gentleman who snuck in at the back. Late the night before I had been sitting alongside him on a train. God had been grabbing my attention the whole time telling me how much He loved this guy. (You might think this is strange if you don't believe in this kinda thing. But let me tell you... It's not!)

I had successfully talked myself out of sharing this information with the man on the train, so you can imagine my surprise to see him again, at the church I attend, only a few hours later!

Needless to say, he finally received the message. I'm yet to know whether it means much to him, or even if he believes in the God who loves him so much. But either way, God clearly wanted him to hear it from me!

Sunday, 10 July 2011

'This is the true joy of life: the being used up for a purpose recognised by yourself as a mighty one; being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clot of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.'

George Bernard Shaw

Friday, 8 July 2011

'It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.' 

- Ephesians 1 v11-12

Just remember that when you think you know it all. When you think you've got this life summed up; neatly wrapped up in manageable, digestable stages. Whether you're dreaming big dreams constantly or scraping the barrel to find joy, read this verse over and over again. Because, if you're anything like me, you'll think you have most of 'this stuff' sussed. And then all of a sudden the Holy Spirit will remind you that you're best laid plans and greatest ambitions have been considered and weighed by He who is far greater than you, looooooong before you even had the inclination to start developing or understanding them in the first place. 

As if He doesn't care about us immeasurably!  Such thinking is a ridiculous waste of time.

I give you my fears, dreams, love, finances, marriage, future decisions, family, hopes, past errors, previous successes, times of relaxation, new achievements, hobbies, old lies, big sins, career paths, free time and anything else I might have forgotten.

You can handle them all far better than I can.

Monday, 4 July 2011

'The general feeling was that we all wanted to get cracking and get on with it. We were fed up with all the mucking around and the training for so long. We were glad when the bubble burst and we were off!’

- Capt. G.L Bream (prior to the D-Day landings).

As you empty that coffee mug, iron the shirt, catch a haphazard two minutes staring at your Bible, and then check for wallet/keys/phone - you open the frontdoor onto YOUR mission field.

The bubble bursts.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

So, lastnight I preached for the first time. Why am I telling you this? Well, because we need to be careful what we ask for from God..cos if we really mean it, He'll answer.

I have been praying for a while that He would use me. That I would really feel a part of His kingdom's 'bigger picture' works. I didn't specify how, but I just wanted to feel like I wasn't wasting time. Or even worse, being left behind in the advance.

I think lastnight He answered that for me a bit, as 60 or so people heard me rambling on! It definitely got me out of my comfort zones! Writing these blogs is a piece of cake. I'm usually in the comfort of my bed on my iPhone... Not exactly ground-breaking missionary work! Im not likely to get martyred for the cause because of it!

But either way..back to the point. 

If you mean it when you ask for it, God will show up. Massively. So be careful. He could have you preaching before you know it!