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It’s funny (or at least I find it funny) that the Kingdom of God is, at times, so backwards. Think about it:

The Saviour of the World born in a manger. If the Duke and Duchess and Cambridge have a child, I can guarantee they won’t nip off to the nearest stables to make sure the heir to the throne is born there. But in God’s backward Kingdom, Jesus was born in a stable.

The Creator of the Earth knows each one of us by name, and longs to be in close relationship with us. Steve Jobs pioneered some of the greatest technological advances of our time. But when he was alive, he didn’t know my name. He probably didn’t want to either. And I would not have been able to simply call out to him, and have him answer me, even on an iPhone. But in God’s backward Kingdom, He knows us despite his awesome size – indeed, because of his awesome size – and loves nothing more than when we call out to Him.

In God’s eyes, when we are weak we are strong. The world urges us – dares us almost – to do things by our own strength, to rely on our capabilities to achieve milestones by which we are judged. Power, money, success, position – the world tells us that if we don’t achieve these, we are nothing. But in God’s Kingdom, the first will be last and the last will be first. Those who rely on their own strength will not reach their full potential, whilst those who acknowledge they need God’s strength will flourish.

It’s a pretty backwards way of looking at things. And as people who live in God’s light and love, the challenge is how we live backwards(ly). How do we reflect God’s backwards love in our worlds? There’s no formulaic answer to this question, as is so often the case with God. Each individual has their own ways and opportunities to live backwards(ly). Sometimes it’s the big things, the big decisions. And sometimes it’s the little things, the little decisions.

But one thing is for sure: a life lived backwards(ly) is a beautiful thing.

*Backwards(ly) clearly isn’t a word.

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Come Thou Fount

July 24, 2012 — 1 Comment

One of my favourite hymns.

Fuming at God

July 9, 2012 — 8 Comments

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve submitted this post as part of a synchroblog project organised by author Sarah Cunningham. Her aim is to collate and capture beautiful stories of folk who follow God and live their adventures with him. Find out more about her book Inciting Incidents here or click here to read more stories.

If my days were categorised – if someone was compiling a record of days good and bad, successful and not successful -today would undoubtedly go down as a bad, unsuccessful day. Put bluntly, it sucked. From 6.52am, when I got soaked to the bone on my way to the station, I knew it was going to be bad. And it was.

Superficially, I spent most of the day keeping myself to myself, not really saying a lot and just trying to get through it. Internally, I was raging. Fuming. My mind was throwing fists, and all of this anger was aimed firmly in one direction.

God.

I’m pretty sure I even threw a few swear words around in my mind whilst I was silently screaming at Him. Why am I having such a bad day? Why are things so tough? Why are my friends hurting? Why is so much of this life following you so difficult? Why?

I’ll be honest, I didn’t really leave much time for God to answer me. And by the time I was on the train home, 12 hours after the downpours began to hit, I was mentally and physically exhausted. I sat in my seat and stopped. I didn’t read. I put my headphones in and shut my eyes.

The battle raged on in my mind. Me: Why? God: Nothing Me: Why this? God: Nothing Me: Where even are you? God: Nothing. Infuriating.

Until I realised that, perhaps, just maybe, I wasn’t letting God answer. So I stopped. I silenced the cries within me. And I heard nothing. But it was a different kind of nothing. I’m not sure what kind of nothing it was, but this kind of nothing felt different. Safe, almost.

Perhaps the nothing was actually everything, God. Perhaps, a bit like being caught in the eye of a storm, I felt nothing because the big stuff was going on around me, and I was safe in the middle. Perhaps. I don’t know. But what I do know is that that nothing, that silence, felt unlike the one before. And I believe that is God.

For the next two weeks I’ll be doing this:

So that others can have this:

Your song

May 8, 2012 — Leave a comment

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One of my favourite Bible verses is Zephaniah 3:17:

“The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”

It’s a cracker. One of the reasons I love it is because it speaks of God rejoicing over His people with singing. I have no idea how that song would go, but I imagine it’s a beautiful melody which rises and falls with grace and peace, and is hauntingly and wonderfully perfect.

What makes it amazing is that I think God has a song for each and every one of us. For each individual person, God has a specific song of love He sings for us. Our own personalised number in which He speaks of love, purity, grace, peace and forgiveness.

I’m not sure if I’ve really heard it; I’ve probably heard glimpses of it, maybe without realising it, but not the whole thing. And I don’t know if I’ll ever hear the whole thing. That’s ok.

But if there’s one song I could listen to forever, it would probably be that one.

All things new

May 7, 2012 — Leave a comment

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Revelation 21:5 tells us that God will make “all things new”. I believe that in every sense, including the ‘new beginning’ of this blog. It’s a year and two months since my last post. Now I feel like it’s time to start again. Life goes through seasons, and I feel that this is a season to write again. As for how long it will last, we will see. For now… it’s back.

Planting Trees

March 20, 2011 — Leave a comment

This is one of my favourite songs at the moment by one of my favourite songwriters. Check him out – Andrew Peterson.

We chose the spot, we dug the hole
We laid the maples in the ground to have and hold
As Autumn falls to Winters sleep
We pray that somehow in the Spring
The roots grow deep

And many years from now
Long after we are gone
These trees will spread their branches out
And bless the dawn

He took a plane to Africa
He gathered up into his arms
An orphan son

So many years from now
Long after we are gone
This tree will spread its branches out
And bless the dawn

So sit down and write that letter
Sign up and join the fight
Sink in to all that matters
Step out into the light
Let go of all that’s passing
Lift up the least of these
Lean into something lasting
Planting trees

She rises up as morning breaks
She moves among these rooms alone
Before we wake
And her heart is so full; it overflows
She waters us with love and the children grow

So many years from now
Long after we are gone
These trees will spread their branches out
And bless the dawn
These trees will spread their branches out
And bless someone

Everything in it

March 18, 2011 — Leave a comment

I missed my blog yesterday. Hmm. I was going to catch up, but I figured I didn’t have enough valuable things to write two blogs in one day. So consider this Thursday’s and Friday’s combined. (Anyway, you can miss Sundays during Lent, so this can count as my midweek Sunday.)

There’s been a lot of chaos in the world the last few weeks. Japan. Libya. Bahrain. Egypt. Tunisia. It’s been impossible to turn on a TV, read a paper or browse the internet without being confront with these disasters, either man-made of natural.

It can be hard to know what to think, do or say.

At times like this, I think it’s helpful to cling onto some fundamental truth. Psalm 24 v.1:

“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world and all who live in it.”

No matter what is happening, that is truth worth clinging to.

Dawn

March 16, 2011 — 3 Comments

Dawn isn’t a time a lot people see very often. It’s also not a time that people tend to look forward to. Because of my job, I’ve had to be up before dawn a lot lately. If I’m honest, it’s pretty early. When I get up it’s dark, it’s bleak and it’s cold. There’s not a lot going on outside – the birds aren’t up yet, and the majority of people are still asleep.

Then this amazing event happens. Slowly, a touch of light appears in the sky. It’s the smallest of glimmers, but it’s a sign of what is on the way. Without any warning, the sky is suddenly filled with reds, oranges and pinks. It’s amazing, and never fails to attract my attention.

I like to think of if of God’s way of drawing back the curtains on a new day, revealing a clean slate for us. It’s a timely, beautiful reminder.

Hebrews 6

March 16, 2011 — 1 Comment

This is yesterday’s (15th March) blog and yes, I know, it’s a little late. But I think it still counts.

At Bible study last night, we were looking at Hebrews 6. I was leading the study, and found it a really tough piece of Scripture to get to grips with. I found it particularly challenging that the author says in vv.4-7 that it is ‘impossible’ (seems to be a similar word in most translations) for those who have slipped away to come back to repentance with God.

That’s a pretty strong statement, and one that I think we can’t simply dismiss.  I don’t know how literally to take this verse; reading around, it seems that most theologians don’t quite know either. But there’s a lot of things to think of there. If anyone has any thoughts, I’d love to hear them.