Friday, 11 September 2009

September Update

So once again I find myself below Watford Gap: A place known to many as 'The South'.

That's right I have moved away from my home land in the Midlands, somewhere that is known more as a fence between the North and the South rather than a whole region in its own right...anyway!

I'm now located in Basingstoke (Roundabout Town) working for a church called St. Mary's in the centre of the town. I'm living with two other guys, one whom I work with and another who is a teacher at a local school. Our house is 10 minutes away from work and within 15 minutes of the main centre. It's a nice little estate close to a park, cycle track and a number of pubs - nice!

I started work a week last Tuesday and have been getting stuck into work here. My job title is a Ministry Trainee. I'll be down in Basingstoke for at least two years being trained in teaching and preaching the bible both at St. Mary's and through taking the Cornhill Training Course in London (2-days a week).
The main areas of my job are to help with lead the youth groups at the Church but opportunities to do other things such as college CU's are certainly on the cards.

The term really kicks of this evening with the youth groups starting back up after the holidays...something I'm pretty excited about. Am also looking forward to continuing studying Romans throughout the year with a group of the older lads.

It's a great privilege and joy to be able to serve God in this way but also a great responsibility to preach and live the gospel out faithfully and distinctively. Thank God for the power of his Word and Spirit to enable me to do that.

That's me at the moment anyway (in brief at least).

I'll try to update the blog slightly more regularly as I settle down into 'The Stoke!'

Friday, 5 June 2009

Prosperity Gospel

I wanted to share perhaps the most moving, powerful, inspiring, challenging and influential video I have perhaps ever watched on youtube with you.

I am continually amazing at what it means to know know the gospel!

Please watch this video and share Pipers passion for an authentic gospel not one of prosperity!

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

'Poor' Old Chelsea

Chelsea 1 - 1 Barcelona - (Barcelona win on away goals)

What a fantastic game of football...resiliant defending by an expensive Chelsea outfit...a sublime looping volley from Essien in the first 10...and 84 minutes later...a sucker punch blow with a superb strike from Niesta in the 93rd minute - harsh...but so sweet!

I enjoyed this match in Reading's College Arms pub this evening with a large number of erm....rather passionate Chelsea fans.
I thought I would share with you the look on Didier Drogba's face after his second penalty appeal is turned down - seriously this guy deserves an Oscar for his play acting. Another consideration would be to enter him into the 2012 Olympics for the Diving Events - I mean this guy is good!
His diving is certainly better than Florent Malouda's current haircut - serious issues there!

Anyway, similar faces were expressed by Chelsea fans in the pub as once again I enjoyed the ironic phrase of "Poor" Old (Multi-billionaire owned) Chelsea echoing around throughout the pub!

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

'Idol Chatter'

After being at New Word Alive and attending seminars led by Dr. Dan Strange I have been increasingly struck by my rebellious tendency to worship idols rather than God.
As a human, I am designed to worship. However, most of the time I am worshipping created things – I am worshipping idols.
What do I mean by that – well I do not ‘love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind and strength’ – I do not delight in the Lord with all of me – I sin!

It’s made me think about sin. Jeremiah points out that God’s people have committed two sins – they have turned away from God and dug out gods/idols for themselves. Jeremiah describes it as turning away from the living fountain and digging out leaky broken cisterns for water, or life perhaps.
The thing is that only the fountain (or God) can bring real fresh water - life – only God can bring joy, satisfaction, fulfillment etc.
Leaky broken cisterns leak, are polluted and to be honest – they don’t hold much water (excuse the pun). But…we are in the same situation, I am in the same situation – we put our hope, our delight etc. in leaky broken cisterns – in other words, idols! They do not work!

If I keep asking questions about my life - ‘Why do I do that? Why do I think that? Why, Why, Why?’ - I realize that I am always reaching out for something that the leaky cistern idols I worship cannot give me – these two things I believe are acceptance and security. I am worshipping things, going after things, delighting in things that in fact ultimately bring neither of those things – not completely at least – they don’t hold much water!
These idols/leaky cisterns are not in themselves ‘bad’ things – relationships, achievement, the state of my bank account, the fortunes of Derby County FC –they do in fact bring some sense of security and acceptance, some fulfillment, joy and satisfaction.
But all of these things ultimately fail – relationships break down, achievement is never good enough for everyone, my bank account…well take a look at the global economic situation to see how little security we have – and well the fortunes of Derby County FC speak for themselves.

Putting our hope in leaky polluted broken cisterns (idols) that do not hold much water or give real life is completely hopeless!

However, the gospel of Jesus Christ brings the greatest and only hope the world has. Jesus came and said ‘I come to give you life and life in all its fullness’. He is the fountain of water that will satisfy and bring joy. And he did this through his death and resurrection. We who previously were lost in worshipping leaky cisterns and deserving punishment for that are set free as Jesus takes God’s wrath and anger on himself. He rose again and defeated the power of death that sin brings!
Putting our trust in Jesus means we are marked with God’s eternal stamp of approval – we are marked with his precious blood which says – You are acceptable to me through Jesus blood. This eternal stamp of approval also brings hope within the hopelessness of this world. God promises in Romans that he works for the good of those who love him.
We can be secure in the promises of God, because he is faithful, his word is true and will never ever fail his word as he cannot deny himself and lie!

So in the same way that I’ve been challenged if you’ve read this and been challenged: think about how ridiculous worshipping idols is, how hopeless it is, how unsatisfactory it is and how much we all deserve to be eternally punished for worshipping idols other than God!

Equally or maybe even more so, rejoice in the hope we do have, the life we have because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ – and live in the light of that hope!

Let’s be satisfied in God, delight in him and bring him glory he is due!

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Thinking About Youth Work

Anyone who knows me will know this is something that I'm thinking about...

I think this article is really helpful and worth a read.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Not Only The Gospel But Our Whole Lives

A Verse For Life

1 Thessalonians 2 v 8

“We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.”

This is an incredible verse from Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians. For me it has been really wonderful to see the gospel of Jesus transforming people’s lives to clearly be living out the practical life this verse speak of.
I won’t name names on this blog but certain individuals throughout my Christian life have not only shared this verse with me but practically lived this verse out – they know who they are!

They have loved me so much that not only have they shared the gospel with me (which in itself is the most loving thing they perhaps could ever do) but they have also endeavored to share their whole lives with me.
Friendship, time, love, care, attention, laughs, tears, money, family, house, food, prayer, bible study, chill-axing etc.
The list literally could go on and on.

Whether these people are youth workers, student workers, co-workers in the gospel or just brilliant friends, these are the people who have helped steer me to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, and godly examples that I aspire to imitate.
These are people who that the reason these perhaps I will not remember exactly what they said to me but more who they were and how they shared ‘the gospel’ and ‘their lives’ with me.
A thought that has occurred to me is peoples lives have effected me, encouraged me and helped keep me running the race of testifying to the gospel of grace is that their lives are all about the gospel!
They are people who never leave the foot of the cross.
They seem to never forget the grace and love Jesus has shown to us.
They let Jesus transform them to become more like him.

They are people who are being constantly transformed by the gospel. As their lives are transformed by the gospel, the love of Jesus can be seen through them.

I hope and pray that my life would in some way reflect 1 Thessalonians 2 v 8 – that by the power of the Holy Spirit working in my life to transform me to be more like Christ, something which God promises will happen – that I may be one who not only seeks to share the gospel but also my whole life!

Certainly this is one of a few verses that I am currently praying my life to be based upon!

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

The Opposite of Friday?

The first thing that I would like to share with you is some thoughts and research which I have been thinking upon for some time.

Friday is perhaps our most enjoyed day of the week – perhaps this is open to further debate in a later blog however – this has led me to ask the question ‘What is the opposite of Friday?’

Despite comments such as ‘Friday is chronologically irrelevant’ (Potts, J, 2009) I have endeavored to answer the question.
After much deliberation, thought and consultation with others concern with the question ‘What is the opposite of Friday?’ it has become apparent that there are a few different theories as to the true answer to this much contested question.

Firstly, there are those who hold strongly to the belief that Friday is mostly spoken of in reference to Thursday.
One example may include - ‘I can’t do Thursday, but I can do Friday’ – although this example implies that Friday is somehow opposite to Friday I think that it would be quite reasonable to assume that any day could be used rather than Thursday.
For example – ‘I can’t do Wednesday, but I can do Friday’ – by no means would any one suggest that Wednesday is the opposite to Friday – therefore I think that Thursday is not the opposite to Friday.

Secondly, and more convincingly there are others who are very aware of the history of our 7-day week.
They argue that Sunday is the beginning of the week deeming Saturday the opposite of it as it marks the end. This would leave Monday and Friday as opposites within the week, alongside Thursday and Tuesday.

Monday would also appear the opposite to Friday if we think about more contemporary ideas about how our 7-day week is structured.
Monday is generally assumed to be the beginning of the working week with Friday as the end. We may therefore conclude that Monday is in fact the most widely held day in answer to the question ‘What is the Opposite of Friday?’

The statistics speak for themselves as 79 per cent of the 42 people I have spoken to today held to the arguments which led to Monday being the opposite to Friday.
14 per cent did however hold to Thursday being the opposite to Friday.

The question though now appears to be if Monday is the opposite of Friday, Tuesday the clear opposite of Thursday, leaving Saturday and Sunday the most probable opposite days of each other who will partner Wednesday?

It is the solitary day of Wednesday that is left with no counter part opposite day to both compete with and enjoy company with.

I would like to quote my sister at this point.

‘It is clear that Wednesday is a prime day.’ (Eley, S, 2009)

Quite simply it would appear that Wednesday, the cornerstone of our 7 – day week is a prime day. It can only be divided by one and itself. It essentially has no opposite unlike other days but is still an intrinsically important part of our week.

I hope this somehow may have lightened up your day!

It has certainly highlighted my need to stop worrying so much about such questions but rather concentrate on a Sustainable Development Essay due in on - yes you've guessed it - Friday!

Perhaps concentrating on that essay may well be more Sustainable for my future than spending so much time thinking about the question 'What is the Opposite of Friday?'