Saturday, 27 March 2010

Rise Up

Well, I was there when you were torn apart
Now a piece of you is gone
Somehow you wish that you could only find
A little strength to carry on

You've tried so hard to make it on your own
That your heart has come undone
So I am here to prove that I alone
Have the power to overcome

Don't let your heart be troubled
This world will never keep you down
It will never keep you down

So rise up, my friend
No, this will never be the end
So rise up, my friend
And live again

I didn't want you to feel this way
It's not what life was meant to be
And so for you, my friend, I'll take your shame
You can give it all to me

'Cause you've wrestled demons every day
And they've dragged you to your knees
But in your weakness you will learn to find
That I will always be your strength

In life or in death
Through joy or regret
And all of the secret things you have done
No matter what comes, my friend
Nothing can keep you from the love of God

These lyrics are from a song by Third Day called Rise Up. It's the song that has had the most influential impact on my life, not only years ago, but also again in present times. How often I fall into the trap of living life in the mindset that I can do it on my own - you just burn out. But thank the Lord for grace, and thank the Lord that despite his continual reminders he always says, "for you my friend, I'll take your shame, you can give it all to me ... no matter what comes ... nothing can keep you from the love of God"

The song is further complimented by a great tune! Check it out!!

Sunday, 14 March 2010


I wonder in life, if things ever really leave us? Recently, the same old things keep cropping up with me, the same frustrations, the same difficulties, the same struggles. It's not new stuff, it's not exciting stuff, it's not any more difficult than it was, but it's not any less easy - and I'm tired. So tired.

Lay it down at the cross I hear you say ... that phrase, I know it so well, and not for its out-workings in my life, rather, the wrestling in trying to find out what it actually means! To say the least... I still don't know.

I'm getting burnt out and it worries me. Been there before.

Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG) Are you tired? Worn out? Burnt 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.

I love that bit of scripture, well I used to anyway. It's so romantic, hopeful ... easy. But, does it really work out that way? I'm tired, I'm worn out and I'm getting burnt out. But, I pray, I sing, I talk, I read, in Christian world, I'm ticking all the boxes. I need a rest, and I aint getting it and not because of an active social life, or poor time management. Somewhere, I'm doing something wrong and somehow I'm missing out on the unforced rhythms of grace, and with a painful sigh, I confess ... I just don't know. Maybe, it's time to rewind.

The Israelites screwed up so much because they forgot who they were and where they came from. Maybe I need to remember to.
God had been pestering me for months, through his subtle convicting ways ... people, tv, books, dreams ... you know how he works. He finally got me through Take That, a song that literally changed my life. You may be laughing as you read that, but, let me show you some lyrics.

But you're stuck in a hole and I want you to get out ...
But I know it's time for you to leave
We're all just pushing along
Trying to figure it out, out, out.

All your anticipation pulls you down
When you can have it all, you can have it all.

So come on, come on, get it on
Don't know what you're waiting for
Your time is coming don't be late, hey hey
So come on
See the light on your face
Let it shine
Just let it shine
Let it shine.

Stop being so hard on yourself
It's not good for your health
I know that you can change
So clear your head and come round
You only have to open your eyes
You might just get a big surprise
And it may feel good and you might want to smile, smile, smile.

Don't you let your demons pull you down
'Cause you can have it all, you can have it all.

Hey let me know you
You're all that matters to me
Hey let me show you
You're all that matters to me.

Hey let me love you
You're all that matters to me
Hey so come on yeah
Shine all your light over me.

I don't know how to lay my life down at the cross, I don't know how to 'trust' God and I don't know when I'm going to be free. I don't know.
But, God got me, he poked at me and he saved me. I'll never understand, apart from one thing - I got hope.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Unspoken Prayers

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve,
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health, that I might do great things,
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.
I asked for riches, that I might be happy,
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.
I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men,
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life,
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.

I got nothing that I asked for,
But everything that I hoped for.

Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.

I am, among all men, most richly blessed.

(A soldiers prayer from the 1860's American Civil War)

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

I'm small, but you're big

25,000 people die everyday because of poverty … one person … every 3.5 seconds.

What’s your response? What’s your heart cry?

Does it make your eyes gloss over? Does it make your heart break? If you’re like me, then no it doesn’t. It’s something you grew up with, something you always knew about, something we are so familiar with, it’s really just too easy to be sympathetic and not empathetic. Every 3.5 seconds someone dies, not because of a car crash, not because of a cancer, but because, they just didn’t have enough, because they couldn’t get access to food, because there was an injustice, dare I suggest, because someone didn’t act on their behalf? This leads me to ask why? A dangerous question, a question moving me from the comfort of my life to uncomfortable reality.

But global poverty … wow … its huge … justice … it’s just huge, it’s over my head, I’m small and to be honest, I don’t understand it, I haven’t got the political insight or wisdom to suggest new management plans, I haven’t got £1000’s to give away to those in need, I haven’t got the freedom to jump on a plane and romantically go and spend a couple of days planting some grain for the farmers … I don’t know what I can do, other than one thing … pray.

A cop-out? No I don’t think so … it was through prayer Moses parted the Red Sea … it was through prayer Jesus endured the cross … it was through prayer that all the miraculous and awe inspiring events of the bible took place – it’s through prayer, God changes things. A recent 24-7 product so aptly described 24-7 as an army of people on their knee’s – so are we really? Or are we too busy looking inward, too busy with our own distractive personal hurts, our own short comings, too busy seeking personal development that we forget Jesus calls us to look to him, not to ourselves, and when we do that, we find ourselves?

The Stanford-Le-Hope Boiler room has another week of prayer coming up … this time, we focus on various world issues, but one of them being global poverty. A huge topic, but a huge God. A scary topic, but a scary God – how often do we forget God hears the cries of the oppressed, or perhaps, how little do our spiritual eyes see of that? My prayer for this prayer week, is that in this time, as I somehow, focus my attention on prayer for global poverty, God will break my heart, that God will move me from familiarity to reality but that also, as much as I do not understand much about this, that God will use my availability and press upon me prayer topics, press upon me opportunities to assist in various ways. I don’t really know how I can help other than small financial contribution and some prayer … but I do say, God here I am, use me and further, I trust the Holy Spirit can direct me where he wills as long as I stay in touch with him.

Thursday, 21 January 2010


I love this photo.
Modern art eh?
This one I like. I relate to it I guess.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Christian - Open your eyes!

Us Christians, so comfortable with church, so comfortable with our lives. Do we really see?

Do you really see others or do you just see yourself?

I challenge you to see past your tradition and your cultural norms; I challenge you to see with Jesus’ eyes.

Do you see the girl who smokes and wonder how she calls herself a Christian, or do you see an opportunity to love, a chance to encourage, inspire? A chance to welcome her with open arms and remind her how powerful God is and how he can overcome anything? Maybe you’re right, being 2 stone overweight is no where near as sinful as a 10 a day smoker.

Do you see the guy in church who has his hands up and claps? Do you see the guy who is so passionate and going for it with God and think ‘he’s got is sussed he does?’ … Or can you see past that? Can you, in reality, see the guy who can’t go to bed at night without some form of sedative because self-harm and depression has just to strong a hold over him? Do you see his heart wrenched cries to God for help, or do you just see the guy who comes to church and really ‘engages in worship?’ … Maybe he only does it, because, that’s his only hope – how far would a little encouragement go?

Do you see the girl who comes to church in fear of not impressing? Can you see past her well groomed hair, new clothes and flawless makeup and see that she feels she has to look her best because she knows, that behind the scenes, when the leaders aren’t about the guys in church rate her out of 10?

What about the guy who comes to church who is gay? His effeminate voice and out there trendy clothes. Do you see a guy wounded by life and the churches judging, or can you see past that and realise that sex with another man is just as bad as sex outside of marriage, or, are you going to be like his parents and throw him out on the street too? How far would a welcoming hug and a smile of acceptance go?

What about the newest young couple in town? Do you longingly wait for an engagement ring, so excited as you reminisce of young love? Are you even aware that their putting off such an engagement because behind the scenes they’re still struggling with sexual sin, too scared, too intimidated to ask for help for fear their reputation might take a blow?

Or what about our dear old 80-year-old friend, the one woman who could pray you through anything? You may see her as an inspiration, but she’s still human. Maybe her husbands died, maybe her kids are far away, she’s too sore to walk far and really its not safe for her to drive, but bless her, she still gets to church and pops out the odd passionate prayer. She inspires you, encourages you, but is it all about you? Do you see that besides your new inspired feelings of motivation that she’s actually feeling alone? How far would a phone call go? A quick cup of tea? An invite where you know she can’t go but, hey, it’s nice to be involved?

Maybe it’s time we started to pray for eyes. Maybe its time we realised that this church we so love to go to for a catch up and a song is truly as Casting Crowns put it “A Stained Glass Masquerade”.

What’s the reality? Behind that smoker there’s a story, a reason for her rebellion, behind that guy there’s pain, his passion is just an outworking of his desperation and that other girl? Well she’s chained to image and that guy who’s gay, he can’t break free from something he’s not even aware of, and that young couple, their marriage might be doomed before it’s even started and what if our dear old 80 year-old-friend has a pleasant death and ends up in heaven, but her final few years on this place were spent … alone?

Jesus is the best, Jesus is the healer, Jesus sees, Jesus knows, Jesus truly is God in man - but maybe it’s time we prayed for his eyes. Maybe it’s time we opened our own.

Maybe it’s time where we’re the ones that need to break free.

Pray for eyes.

Be ready to see.


It's funny how the smallest thing can drive you to the point of madness. I normally love the airport wait ... I love the book reading, the people watching, the exciting prospect of travel thousands of feet in the air, the acceleration, the scary but secretly enjoyable turbulence and even my own personal battles not to open the emergency exit door when mid-flight - I normally love all this.

But right now I am loosing my mind, seriously, I posted my status on facebook that I felt like evil hamsters were slowly and surely eating my brain. I have had coffee, chocolate, I'm now on Strongbow, paying for internet, have talked to the locals, read a paper, written in my journal, read my bible, read a secular book, and you know what, i'm cracking up!!!!!!!!!!!

General vent.

I apologise.