Sunday, 30 October 2011

'One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts.' Psalm 145 v4

I've been in student churches, Christian Unions, youth work ministries etc etc. They can be amazing; the influence they carry and the paths they forge are so valuable. 

But this morning at church, a rallying call was raised by someone; for the older generation to stand up and impart some of the stuff that God had placed on their hearts to the younger generation alongside them. Our youthwork has been in the spotlight for a while, because of the ground it has been taking and the impact it has been having in the local area. 

But this morning was equally as significant in my opinion. As several came forward to share one truth or was amazing to see the church in motion. A family - young and old, black and white - steadily addressing the obstacles of life. Some on fire for it; some struggling in big ways. Some at the start of their race; some nearing the finishing line. 

One older lady made a big statement. She had been a Christian for 60 years: 'If you're young, please keep going - you've probably still got a long way to go!'

Shoelaces tightened; warm-ups complete; fuel taken on board; focus on finishing line readjusted. 

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

I used to be blind. And God gave me sight. 

I don't mean that my eyes didn't work - not that kind of blind. But I did stumble around in complete darkness, as though I had no sight. I used to think that I could define my own identity and that my popularity was a secure foundation to live on. 


I used to think that drinking and smoking all the time was wise. 


I used to chase relationships, good times and incredibly fleeting pleasures; with little regard for the impact upon my body, friendships and future marriage. 

Pitch blackness. 

'The man replied, “This is amazing! You claim to know nothing about him, but the fact is, he opened my eyes!' John 9 v30

'Jesus then said, “I came into the world to bring everything into the clear light of day, making all the distinctions clear, so that those who have never seen will see, and those who have made a great pretense of seeing will be exposed as blind.” John 9 v39

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

'A good plan today beats a perfect plan tomorrow.' - PJ Smyth

This is one of those backward Kingdom truths that doesn't make sense until you're knee-deep in a situation that requires you to seriously weigh the options in front. And when you do, God's grace explains such statements and you can sit back and sigh with relief. 

The context: Last week I was told that I hadn't made the cut for a job, following an interview that I had prepared my butt off for. 

Disheartened - perhaps. But prior to the interview, I had prayed that if God wanted me there, I'd get the job (the salary, some stability, direction etc). If He didn't want me there, I would fully pursue a new position as an Intern elsewhere. 

That was Plan B right? Yes, maybe on paper. But this afternoon, after meeting with some people at this new company, I am excited by the prospect of a new challenge and relieved to remember that my God will provide, always.

I had wanted the pay and the security. He had wanted me elsewhere, it would seem. So, with this in mind i'll give thanks for this 'good' plan I've been presented; and be relieved to know my 'perfect' plan, in actual fact, probably wouldn't have been so spot on in this instance. 

Sunday, 16 October 2011

From the grime to the glory

I heard the testimony of a teenage girl earlier. She has battled self-harm, mental illness and a miscarriage in recent years, and wanted to explain that backdrop in light of the recent Jesus-discovery she's been through. With such confidence and conviction, she spoke in front of her contempories and youth leaders of what grace looks like to her. Having never set foot in a church until fairly recently, it's remarkable to think where she has come from to where she stands today. 

The event, which launched this evening by an amazing Youth Team, has been entitled 'Grime2Glory', and I don't think her story could have better defined where these set of meetings intend on heading in the next few months. 

But what stood out, over and above her boldness? It was the invite that had been extended to her by her Christ-focussed friend, all those months back; when she was in complete darkness. He knew how best to serve her as a friend. He had seen the goodness of God in his own life - the only thing to pull her from such dispair. 

She has since been baptised. But we're counting down the days and months until he turns 18. He is from a Hindu background and doesn't have the permission to take that step just yet. But with stories like this, he's doing a fine job of laying some major foundations for when that brilliant day finally arrives!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Squinting through the fog.

Frustrated by not hearing from God; desperate for direction; knocked back by a stack of unsuccessful job applications; very unsure of the next chapter. It would be easy to take the easy way out - ditch the discipline, prayer and hope and replace it with idleness, daytime TV and self-pity. But instead, I'm spurred on by a one-word text message from the old man:


Saturday, 8 October 2011

Thousands upon thousands upon thousands stand in Heaven, waiting with baiting breath as a sinner steps forward for baptism; publicly declaring that their life and destination has changed for eternity. You could hear a pin drop up there, I'm sure. 

As that individual is brought up out of the water, can you imagine the roar of applause?! It must be a phenominal tidal wave of noise. 

I can just imagine Jesus, enthroned before all, with the most perfect look of satisfaction on his face. Accompanied by tears rolling down His cheeks. 

Love, vast as the ocean. 

Thursday, 6 October 2011

An epic thinker and a true visionary

I'm going to join the millions upon millions of people tweeting, blogging and name checking an absolutely amazing man today. Nobody has influenced how we communicate, understand and pursue vision in the way that this guy did in his lifetime. It's hard to imagine what he would have gone on to manage, if only he had lived a little longer - it would seem that God took him way too early.

That's not to detract from the impact he has made on society and culture though. His name will undoubtedly go into the History books - bucking the norm and creating amazing trends of his own; leaving a legacy that will probably forever change the way things have been done up until he started his work.

He had his enemies and doubters - some who didn't appreciate the vision he cast, preferring different ways of doing things. But today, I bet they'll take their hat off to him, one way or another.

He called the new generation to think bigger, expect more from their ideas and step out of the box when it came to understanding a dream. He united groups all over the world, in ways people never thought possible before. And he lead with boldness and passion, until the very end.

He even helped the founder of Apple think up some big ideas too.

It's the name of Jesus that echoes on.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Yesterday was cool. I got to spend it at work with a good mate. This is the same guy who has kept me accountable to many actions and decisions over the last couple of years, so it was great to catch up properly. 

Some people have funny views on being accountable to people. If they are anything like the 21-year old me, they might think they can go it alone. Fly solo without anyone speaking truth into their lives. Nobody to pray with, question your motives or lovingly keep you in check. 

Or they might be the opposite. In which case they'd know how important it is to gather people (guy to guy, girl to girl) around them who care enough to stand beside them through the good and the bad; the sin and the pride or the hope and achievements. 

Going alone doesn't work. Full stop; end of story. Take it from someone with a huge amount of experience in that field. Yes, God is big. But yes, the Devil is also incredibly cunning. It doesn't matter how old you are or what direction you think your life is heading in.

If you need a good benchmark to work on when meeting up with a like-minded follower of Jesus, then get them to ask you this for starters:

'What one question do you least want me to ask you regarding your walk with God?'

Friendships rooted in Jesus are not best served by giving each other a gentle pat on the back. Sin is far too dangerous to dance around - keep it undomesticated and deal the Devil a dirty blow with daring questions to each other instead.  

Monday, 3 October 2011

If this doesn't stir you, I dunno what will?!! Amazing stuff.....

From Galatians 5:

19-21It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on.

This isn't the first time I have warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God's kingdom.

22-23But what happens when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.

23-24Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good—crucified.

25-26Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.