Friday, 29 October 2010

Count them

Sometimes, just sometimes we forget to be thankful.

God has blessed me so much and yet sometimes the first thing I do when talking to him is to ask for more. On one occasion Jesus healed ten men of Leprosy (Luke 17:12-19).  Only one came back to say thank-you.  Are you one of the nine or are you like the one who came back? I know which one I want to be but sometimes I am thoroughly ungrateful.

I think we need to count our blessings more, and we need to tell others about what we have to be thankful for.

You see being a witness for Christ is just that, telling others how He's blessed you. And we are called to be witnesses.  Of course sometimes life is very difficult.  It's at those times when it is most important to remember what God has done for us in the past, then we will find reassurance that He will not abandon us in the hard times.

So I would encourage you now to leave a wee comment to tell what you have to be thankful to God for.  This will be a reminder to anyone else reading this what a gracious and merciful God we have.


And a cheesy tune to cheer you up!

(Special thanks to CM for her wonderful link and apologies to JH for sharing it with others!)

Thursday, 28 October 2010


I'm scared of hiccups.

It's not that hiccups are particularly scary but they are a little bit sore and a whole lot annoying. What really scares me about them is not knowing when they are going to stop.

Charles Osborne, an American pig farmer (not the chancellor of the exchequer!), started hiccuping in 1922 and didn't stop until 1990, that's 68 years! Every time I get the hiccups I wonder will this be me until I'm 97, what a horrible existence that would be!

I mention this because last night I got a dose of hiccups. It turned out not to last too long but it was pretty annoying. Rocky had been naughty and I was telling him off, 'Bad dohukg!, bahuk dog, huk'. My wife laughed, even the dog chuckled, discipline became impossible.
It's the uncontrollable element of hiccups that makes it so disconcerting. You just never know when they will strike. They control you, you are a slave to them. There are many theories as to how to get rid of them but I'm not sure any really work.

Sometimes when we do things we shouldn't we think of it as a hiccup. Just a blot on our otherwise clean paper, just a slip-up, a one off. If our sin is just a series of hiccups Then I have had hiccups from the day I was born until now and it shows no sign of abating.

There seems to be no cure for sin either. In 1 John 1:8 the bible says, 'If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us'. But this tendency to sin is not the same as being a slave to it. We can overcome what we do wrong with the power of the Holy Spirit.

The bible also says, 'count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.' Romans 6:11-12. We do not have to be controlled by the things that are against God any more. By accepting Jesus we can be free from that, we can do good. This needs work, hard work to resist sin, to not let it fester in our bodies, to not indulge in deliberate sin. But the joy of release from slavery and the joy of pleasing the Saviour of the world, is worth it.


Last night was a quiet one in Rathcoole, we thank God for that.  Please continue to pray for our estate and the people in it.  Also feel free to share any prayer requests you may have, I and others here would be happy to pray for you.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Greater things still to be done

The last couple of days in Rathcoole have been very tense.

On Monday there were a couple of raids on different houses around the estate.  These were in connection with 'historial enquires'.  As a response to these raids rioting has taken place on the outskirts of the estate for the last to nights.  (Read BBC reports here).

The vast majority of the people in the estate are not represented by the rioters but we are all impacted by it.  It is difficult to know what to do about the situation, how to influence it. There is one thing we can do and that is pray.  Rathcoole Presbyterian Church will be holding a prayer meeting tonight from 7:00pm.  If you are willing to come and it is safe for you to do so then please come along.  If you can't make it I would encourage you to pray at that time for Rathcoole.

Some things to pray for:
*God would move in the estate to change the hearts of those causing trouble.
*That young children would not be manipulated into taking part.
*That police, rioters and others would be safe from physical harm.
*That it would rain tonight.
*Church leaders in the area would find success as they seek to influence the situation
*That the reputation of the estate would not disadvantage it's young people.
*That God would send revival to this place.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

The Santa Rant

I hate Santa.

You may think that's a little harsh but it is absolutely genuinely true.  I hate Santa.. I love Christmas but I hate Santa.

I bring this up now, on the 26th October to give you a chance. A chance to turn your back on Santa this Christmas.  I know that may seem like a crazy thought and I know that for many parents it is unthinkable but hear me out, maybe I will convince you.

1) Santa steals Christmas from Jesus.  As I have said; I love Christmas.  I love trees and carols and excited kids.  I love spending time with family, buying gifts and I especially love Christmas lights.  Jesus is the light of the world and to see the place lit up like...well like a Christmas tree in massive celebration of His arrival thrills me.  Unfortunately Santa Claus wants the credit for Christmas to go to him and not the Saviour of the world.  Schools, homes and even churches give far to much time to the Santa myth to the point where many children of primary school age see him as the central figure to Christmas.  This is shameful.

2) Santa steals Christmas from families.  Think about it, parents indulge their kids at Christmas.  The buy them more toys than they could ever play with, let them eat all their favourite foods, take them on trips and try to make it as special as possible.  Yes, they do this because of the media pushing materialism and peer pressure (from their kids peers and from their own peers) but the main reason they do this is because they love their kids.  Rightly or wrongly their love for their children is manifested in the act of giving, in many cases sacrificial giving, and who gets the credit - Santa Claus.  'Wow', say the little Kids, 'look what Santa got me, I love Santa! Mum? Dad? What did you get me?'.  Reclaim Christmas for your family tell your kids that Santa doesn't love them but you do.

Everyone loves Santa?
3) There is no reason for Santa.  I can find no conceivable reason for continuing the Santa myth.  There is nothing good about it, nothing.  And don't give me all that 'magical time for kids, let them have their innocent wonderment' nonsense. It is a flat out harmful lie.  If you want your kids to be filled with wonderment at Christmas time, tell them the story of the king of the world who came to be born in a stable.  Tell them about the angels heralding Him in, about the shepherds who came to see His, the wise men who travelled hundreds of miles to worship Him (find the Christmas story here).  Tell them the story of Jesus, tell it accurately and they will be amazed.

There are many other reasons for hating Santa, I just don't have space here but I'm sure you could think of a few.

Christmas does not need a tacky false lie stuck on the end of it to make it a good time.  If you choose to celebrate Christmas do it truthfully and it will be beautiful and love-filled.  Sure your kids might take a week to get their heads round the fact (note the word fact) that Santa is the product of the Coca-cola company, but they had to find that out someday anyway and they'll not care half as much as you think they will.

So here's my advice.  Tell your kids that Santa didn't come through for them, it turns out he doesn't love little boys and girls after all. But they are not to worry because the people who really do love them are here and will make this year truly special by allowing Christmas to be Christmas.


Maybe you agree with me, maybe you don't, I'd love to hear your point of view. You can also express yourself by voting in the poll in the sidebar.  >>

Monday, 25 October 2010


Rocky got neutered on Friday.

Neutering was recommended to us by the vet and the people at the pound.  It seems most professional animal carers say it's a good thing. It reduces aggression, eliminates the chance of a herd of little Rockys and reduces his desire to stray.

If your wondering what exactly neutering involves google it because I'm not getting into it here.   Let's just say that for a lot of men it's not something they want to think about to much.

Poor wee Rocky didn't know what hit him. When we picked him up he was still groggy from the sedative.  The vet slid him into the consulting room on the end of a lead.  His eyes were rolling about in his head, he was bumping into things  (I think they may have sedated him with alcohol). To top it all off he came out wearing the most ridiculous protective collar I have ever seen.

Since then the effects of the drugs have worn off but the collar is still there.  He looks like a massive canine lampshade.  He now has no peripheral vision and can't really hear that well either.  The thing is ludicrous, it's hard to take him seriously, even strangers in the street laugh at him when we're out and about.

On top of all that he's not supposed to out for long walks or doing any rigorous exercise so the stitches have time to heal.  Rocky is energetic at the best of times but with no opportunity to get it out of his system he's starting to get a little frustrated to say the least.  And this is to last for 10 days!

Rocky's is better, he can get Sky on his!

A wee bit like Rocky and his lampshade we get frustrated when we don't see and know everything.  Why can God just not reveal the big picture to us and prove that He is here once and for all?  Why can't He show me His plans for my life so I can be content where I am.  If only someone would come back from the dead and tell us what was in the afterlife then people would repent, then people would believe.  Show us everything Lord.

Jesus explains to us that we have all information we need, all the information we can handle.  God has revealed Himself to us through the Bible and that is enough.  The world around us and our experiences prove the Bible correct and so we must follow what it says.  Jesus said,  'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'

We may not see everything but we can see all that we need - Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Friday, 22 October 2010


What matters, really?

In the recent spending review Britain has pledged to increase it's commitment to foreign aid.  Cue lots of Daily Express reader types up in arms about Johnny Foreigner 'nicking all our readies what-what'.  It takes me to the fair.

On the one hand our media hammers the government for hitting 'hard-working families' (a phrase I find utterly repulsive) too hard.  Then they criticise the coalition for placing the burden of cuts on the poorest in our society while at the same time is happy to reduce the aid we give to people earning 60p a day.

It seems everyone wants equality but only with people better off than themselves.

There is huge burden on Christians to lead the way in this.  We have everything if we have Christ.  From time to time money will be short and it can be a real and genuine problem. If we truly love our Lord then we should follow His teaching and help the poor. Hold on to our processions lightly, they are not ours. Share what we have with our brothers and sisters here and overseas and wherever there is need. Don't love money, don't love stuff, love Jesus.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Colour me beautiful

So little of what goes on in Northern Ireland, the UK, the world, is a black and white issue.  There are many shades of grey. 

Some people are fed up with grey, they want to tell it in colour.  UTV journalist and newsreader Jude Hill has decided to do just that - Tell it in Colour.  She has set up a website that allows people to share their good news stories from around Northern Ireland which she hopes will help people realise that life is not as grey as the news channels would have us believe.

After yesterday's spending review (or should that be 'let's stop spending ever again review') you would be forgiven for thinking the country is facing death by a thousand cuts.  That is far from the case for there are many many people out there making life better, making it colourful. 

You know someone in your life who's doing that for you. Someone who brightens your day.  I hope you too are someone who brings a little colour into the world. 

So what is happening around you that gives you hope, that cheers you up, that brings some colour.  What are the good news stories around you, wherever you are.  Pick one (or pick more than one) and post a comment.  Cheer us all up, let us no that we don't have to be grey any more.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010


Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Saviour. 

Though the pain of grief burns my heart
and loneliness circles round,
though the job has gone
and the bills pile up,
though the chance to say sorry has past
and the guilt weighs me down,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Saviour.

Though my plans fell through
and I don't know where to turn,
though he walked out and left me
and mouths still need fed,
though I am sick
and I won't get better,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Saviour.

Though she won't talk to me
and I'm scared she'll break,
Though I see no future
and no worth in myself,
I know that He protects, He cares
He holds, He Loves,
And so I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Saviour.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Talent's Got Britain

Talent; you either got it or you don't got it. Right?

With the return of the X Factor it seems like everyone is either a wannabe singer or a wannabe judge.  The UK has become obsessed with dressing up in silly outfits, prancing about like eejits and singing our little hearts out in the name of talent. People of Britian I salute you.

You see we all have a talent, some people have more than one. It's just a shame that some folks are having problems identifying what they are talented at.  Simon Cowell says people who can sing and dance at the same time are good, entertainment is king, bring pleasure to the masses and we will fling glitz, fame and fortune at you.  Like a beautiful firework we will oh and ahh at you as you rise into the sky.  We will marvel at you as you burst into life and light up our world and then as soon as you start to fade we'll look to the next one and forget all about you.

I feel sorry for the 'wannabes' on these programmes. Not because they don't get through to the big live shows but because they can't take pleasure in the talents they do have.  Just because your talent may be found in a less glamorous field doesn't make it any less beautiful.

Jesus told a parable about talents.  He said that what your talent is is not the important thing, nor is the amount of talent, but it's what you do with it that counts.  If you use it to glorify God, then He will be pleased with you and reward you. If you don't use it or use it to glorify yourself then He will not reward you.  These rewards He talks about are not the fame and fortune of this world that pass so quickly and are hollow and useless.   These are rewards that last for ever.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Morning has broken

It's early Monday morning, the day - the week - is full of hope and expectation. You've had a great weekend spent with you're other half indulging in your favourite things, having mini adventures, making memories.  Sunday is a highlight. Two great sermons, an afternoon and evening with most of the family, a walk ending with a dirty but happy dog and a good night's sleep (not to mention Everton crushing Liverpool 2-0).
You are ready. Ready for the world and all it can throw at you, ready to rise above trivial things, to spread hope and light where-ever you go.  This is a week for changing things, changing lives, changing the world!

And then you pour milk on your cereal and it comes out of the jug in lumps. Reality hits, hope turns to despair, fantasy to reality, magnificence to mundane, sublime to ridiculous.

Why is it that when we are flying highest we are so easily shot down? It happens so often in life and maybe especially in our spiritual walk.  Everything is going really well and then something happens.  It can be as little as a misplaced word from a loved one or a mistake of our own but the effect can be devastating.

We need to try and guard against these things. Slow steady improvement is what we need not exponential emotional highs.  Sounds thoroughly boring I know but it's true.  We need to work with the Holy Spirit to build our lives with bricks, not straw, so that it will last (1Corinthians 3:10-15).  The highs and lows will always be there of course but the fall will be less severe and the recovery a lot quicker if we are well supported by God, His word and His people. 

Friday, 15 October 2010

Fantastic Friday

'You are fantastic!'

How many times do we actually say that to those around us.  There are those people in our lives who are simply brilliant.  It may be their attitude or their ability or their sense of humour or their patience.  It could be a thousand different things that make them fantastic.  But do they know they are appreciated?

Some of the people in my life.
I had the privilege of hearing a talk by Bill Hybels recently.  In the talk he told how he and the leadership team in his church sat down and worked out who the fantastic people were in his organisation. Once they had done that he had a one-to-one meeting with each of them and told them they were fantastic.  He defined fantastic people by the feeling he got when he thought of them not being around anymore.  If he felt sick to the pit of his stomach he knew they were a fantastic person.

Who would you hate to lose?  Whether it be in work, at home, in school, in church... Who are those people that you really benefit from having them in your life.  Identify those people and encourage them by telling them - 'you are a fantastic person, thank you for being you.'

We have been called to encourage.  Some of us find it easier than others to do but we all benefit from encouragement and from being encouraged.  Barnabas was commended for it, it was his nickname for goodness sake. 

1 Thessalonians 5:11 says 'Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.'  So let's do that, let's encourage, let's build up, let's love out loud.


I thought you would like this spectacular picture taken on Tuesday.  This guy had been trying to get this shot for 40 years.  That's dedication.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Fuerza Mineros!

This morning at around 01:00 GMT (22:00 local time on wednesday) the last of the Chilean minors were rescued.  Around three hours later the rescue team had all left the mine. Job done. Shift over. Thank God.

They spent 69 days down that shaft, seventeen of those days without any contact whatsoever with the outside world.  The rescue operation was extremely complex and dangerous, any amount of things could have gone wrong at any moment.  They didn't. In fact in the end it was incredibly smooth. The technology that was used was brand new, it had never been tested in circumstances like these. Yet an operation that was expected to take 48 hours took under 23 hours. Truly remarkable.

A reporter on the BBC website summed the events up this way: 'In the end, a potential tragedy in a remote corner of the world has been utterly transformed into one of the greatest tales of good news ever told.' (minute-by-minute coverage here)

There is a greater tale of good news.  The one were the hero rescues all the people who don't deserve it and does it simply out of love.  The one where those who were trapped didn't realise they were until they experienced true freedom.  The story of self-sacrifice for those that didn't deserve it or ask for it.  The unpopular story that some find offensive.  The one where those trapped mock the one offering to rescue them, ignore Him and even deny His existence.

After they had been rescued President Pinera of Chile said of the miners, 'They were experiencing a kind of rebirth,' (reported here).  Jesus said 'You must be born again' (John 3:7) , if you want to experience a rebirth stronger and more real than that experienced by miners then turn to Jesus to rescue you.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Childish Things

A bit of midweek music for you today.  Below is a video of the fantastic Brian Houston (no relation) playing in Cambridge a couple of years ago.

This song is called 'Childish things' and it's got me thinking.  What childish thing do you wish you'd never had to 'put away', or maybe there's something you're hanging on to that keeps you feeling young and fresh.  Or maybe you actually are young and fresh, what do you never want to have to give up?

Leave a wee comment, share your guilty pleasures with the class!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

My lovely wife is a teacher, a very good one.  To ensure that her high standards are maintained her school is undergoing an inspection and this is getting everyone quite agitated.

I have the dubious pleasure of knowing quite a few teachers and at least four of them have experienced an inspection in the last few weeks.  They are all stressed to the hilt.  The inspection is a dreaded event, spoken about in hushed tones. That is until the event gets closer and then every time the word 'inspection' is said it is accompanied by Eastender's type drums and a look of terror on the face of the one that said it.

From what I understand inspectors are some sort of sub-human creatures with huge teeth and no sense of smell.  They stalk school corridors hunting down teachers who haven't covered every part of their classroom walls with brightly coloured stars and pictures of children pretending to be happy.  If they ever find such a teacher they drag them outside, rip out their hearts with their bare hands and devour their souls raw. Or at least, that's the impression I get.

Inspector (artists impression)

 They've asked me to come and take assembly today because the teachers are too scared, I'm having garlic for breakfast.

It's as well our hearts aren't inspected like that all the time, imagine what lengths we'd have to go to to convince God that we are doing fine on our own thanks, no need for extra help here.  No badness, no brokenness, no laziness, no impurities, just 100% perfection.  I don't think so.

The fact is God has continual access to all the inner workings of our hearts, He sees all the aforementioned weaknesses but He does not condemn any of us.  Or should I say he does not condemn any who have called out to Jesus to save them.  They have nothing to fear.  Those who haven't called to Jesus, well I'm afraid you will have to convince God that you are perfect in every way.  My advice? Call out to Jesus, He's your only hope.

Monday, 11 October 2010


I dropped the pooper scooper in the poop bin.  This is never good. 

Rocky and I were out for a walk when he felt the urge to off-load, fair enough.  He evacuated his bowels on the pavement and looked thoroughly pleased with himself.  I told him what a good boy he was all the while wondering what on earth he had been eating to make him go that much.

Being the responsible dog owner I am, I readied my trusty pooper sccoper and scooped the mess mountain into a bag. (incidently you can get free poop bags from the council - no excuses for little presents in the street.) A red bin was nearby, this was going to be a successful operation. But then I got cocky. Intead of removing the bag from the claw like grip of the pooper scooper first and then dropping it into the bin, I released the grip on the bag over the bin and at the same time released my grip on the pooper scooper.

I stood motionless for a second, wondering what had just happened. I peered into the bin, my pooper scooper peered back, laughing.  He was in poop heaven, I was scoop hell.

If you've ever had the dubious pleasure of using a dog mess bin you'll know it's fitted with a device which means you can't get out what you put in, believe me, this device works. I know because I stood at the side of the road for what felt like hours with my arm half in the bin like some sort of robo-vet. It was not a good look.

People were staring, staring and laughing.  I think I saw one old lady in a house across the street with a video camera and an envelope marked, 'You've Been Framed'.  I thought, what would Jack Baur do in this situation?  Then I thought Jack Baur would have more important things to be doing so I left.

The rest of the walk was spent praying that Rocky wouldn't need to release any more prisoners until the santuary of his own garden. He didn't.

As a pet owner there are times when you feel totally at the mercy of the animal in question.  It is teaching me a lot about the relationship between a dog and it's master. We love Rocky and we want him to be healthy and happy but there are some times when he just doesn't play ball. I, unfortunately am like that with my master.  The worst thing is that unlike Rocky, my master is perfect and I still mess up and, unlike Rocky, I should know better.

Friday, 8 October 2010

The problem with me is...

There's something that effects us all regardless of background, gender, income, skin colour, waistline, hairstyle or house size.  Something that screws us up.  Something that wants to destroy us.


Whether you are a minister or an atheist, a monk or a hedonist sin is a problem for you.  Now, don't get me wrong, sin is not some evil force you have to destroy with light sabers and wooden stakes. Sin comes from the choices we make. It is every time we choose to do something that goes against God or every time we don't do something that would please Him. We know when we sin because of our conscience. My sin is my fault, your sin is your fault - no one else's.

I hate sin. If I'm honest I enjoy it, but I hate it.  I hate it because of it's consequences. The broken relationships, the guilt, the eroding of what's right and what's wrong...  Everything that is wrong with the world is because of sin, yours and mine.  Don't blame Adam or terrorists or the government or the pope or school teachers, blame yourself and blame me.

We all sin.  We're all guilty.  Sorry Lord.

If you hate sin because of what it's doing to you and others around you, if you want rid of the burden there is a way out. Jesus Christ. He came into the world to save sinners (1 Tim 1:15), he can take away the sin of the world (John 1:29) he can remove your guilt (John 8:36).  Only He can do it. Turn to Jesus and He will set you free. 

If, like me, you're a christian who still sins, it's time for us to change, it's time for us to take hold of the full life Jesus promises us. Let's stop holding on to sin.

Let's everyone step into the fresh warm light of Jesus, sin does us no good but without it we are released prisoners. We are free to do the good that our hearts yearn for. I have tasted this freedom, I taste it now and it is good!


The Prayers of Rathcoole Presbyterian and I'm sure all Christians are with the family of Rebecca McManus who was killed yesterday (7/10)  in a car crash at Hazelbank roundabout (news report here).

Thursday, 7 October 2010


The clip below is reasonably long but is well worth watching.   The themes in it may be upsetting to some.

I don't want to say too much about this issue.  I do think it'd be helpful if it was discussed though.  This clip (forwarded to me by CM and received with gratitude)  was the first I had seen of an abortion survivor. To be honest I didn't even realise so many abortions were 'unsuccessful'.

Miss Jessen has a powerful story to tell and she puts it across well.  However there are many who feel differently about abortion and there is definitely room for a reasoned discussion.

Some questions to consider include;  Are there any circumstances when abortion is appropriate?  Should women who undergo abortions really be treated as murderers?  If the child is a result of rape or will be born with extreme disabilities should abortion be considered?  At what point does a fetus become a person with rights?

What are your thoughts?

If abortion has been an issue for you personally and you wish to talk about it feel free to contact me ( and if you wish I can put you in touch with someone who can help.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Happy Days

A recent survey revealed that six out of seven dwarves aren't happy.

Happiness is a strange concept, everyone is striving for it but it seems very few find it.  Or at least few can hold on to it for any length of time.  There are books and T.V. programmes and 'experts' telling us the secret to happiness and even the American Constitution has the 'Pursuit of Happyness' at it's core.

So what is it? Beats me. Don't get me wrong, I'm a happy sort of person (although I'm prone to bouts of grumpiness, frustration and anxiety too), but I have never experienced a happy feeling for a prolonged period without one of those other pesky emotions getting in the way.

Joy,on the other hand, is entirely achievable. Joy is easy. Joy doesn't rely on the happy feelings, in fact joy can be experienced in the darkest of times. To be joyful means to be content in the fact (not just the feeling) that you are in the right place doing the right thing. Even if that thing is desparately sad or extremely perilous.

A friend of mine who passed away recently, Mina Mudd, was full of joy.  Even in the face of illness and death she never once lost sight of her hope in Jesus.  She knew, knew, that she was sustained by God and He was working things out in her life just how He wanted them. At times she was happy, no doubt about that but she was always joyful. I will miss Mina, many people will.

This joy is only available from one person, Jesus Christ.  In summery, don't worry, be joyful.

'I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.'   John 17:13


Here's a band that express their joy in the Lord very well.  This song in particular will leave you felling up beat (I hope). Others they write will encourage you with their words and I recommend you check those out too.  This song however, expresses well the emotion of knowing you are sustained by God. I hope you enjoy it.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Nobody puts Baby in the corner

One minute and forty-four seconds of pure joy!

(If this video doesn't work click here)

What we do never goes unnoticed.  Even if we don't realise it there are people all around us watching what we do. Sometimes they are trying to spot weaknesses and flaws but a lot of the time we are actually setting an example to them.

Choose who you follow carefully, pick your heroes wisely, never just copy. There's plenty of people famous people out there who we can aspire to be but a lot of them, quite frankly, are numpties; so who should we follow?  That's easy, there's only one who got it right, who gets it right and will keep getting it right.  Make Jesus you're role model, copy Him.

The wee girl in the clip didn't know she'd be copied, she was just doing her thing, her way.  Just because we don't ask to be role models doesn't mean we're not (if only some 'celebrities' understood this!) so we have to be on our guard regardless of whether we know we're being watched or not.

We all affect other peoples lives in one way or another, whether it's parenting, leading young people, supervising in work, even socializing and having conversations with our friends   Whether we like it or not we are examples, make sure you're a good one. Use your influence.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Eighty-Two Percent

82% of people who don't attend church regularly said they are likely to go to a church service if they were invited by someone they know. 82 percent!  I read that statistic recently in book.  The author, Thom S. Rainer, had surveyed a large sample of people that don't attend church on a regular basis and this is the conclusion he came to.

I'm not sure I believe it. That would mean that people are just not inviting other people to church. 

Maybe we need to remember that church is very much worth going to.  We focus so often on negative stuff; 'it's boring', 'the music can be a bit naff', 'we do weird stuff like pray and sing and listen to talks'.  In reality though church is brilliant. Anyone can go (for free) ,you can hear about someone who can transform your life for the better, and you are loved there. Church is simply brilliant.

I know that every church has it's issues and I have yet to find one that is perfect or anywhere near it but it is still brilliant.

Yesterday a friend of mine came to church disturbed.  Something wasn't right with her.  By the time she left she had allowed Jesus to take the lead in her life saying to him, 'Please, be my Lord'.  She told me that she felt a sense of peace. Church didn't do that for her but church is a place where people can hear about that peace and are pointed to Jesus.

Our God is an amazing God and He has chosen to use the church with all it's weakness and failings to tell the world about Himself.  If you are one of the 82% I want to apologise to you.  I want to say sorry if I personally have had the opportunity to invite you to church and haven't.  We Christians can at times be a bit useless when it comes to doing the right thing. Don't let that put you off though.  Invite yourself.  Tell that church-goer you know that you are interested, that you want to give it a go, that you will go with them if they'll let you.

Those of us who call Christ our own need to open our mouths more, don't be ashamed of your Saviour or His people.  We should be able to say, 'I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes'. (Romans 1:16)

Friday, 1 October 2010

Feedback Friday

Today we're going to do a wee experiment.  It is always beneficial to share with each other about God,  no matter what your view or where you are in your walk with Him.   I have been sharing with you some of my thoughts and experiences of my Lord but I need to hear some from you as well.  This is the basis of what Christians call fellowship.

Now this is a bit risky for me.  I am a sensitive soul and if no-one participates I'll be deeply upset so please at least one person....

Here's the thing.  I'll set the topic and you guys respond, if you want to, in the comments.  That way everyone gets the benefit.  You can say whatever you like however I would ask that you keep it short. We wouldn't want those who aren't used to this sort of thing to be put off by other long-winded types!  Feel free to comment anonymously too if that is what you would prefer.

Descibe your experience of God in a few words.