Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Life After DNA

Yesterday I went up to Bromley in London to help with a DNA training block. It really felt good to be back in the set up a year on and catch up with a few people, even if I now don't know most of the trainees there. The new venue's nice as well!
I was helping with the session humorously entitled 'Life after DNA.' For those of you that have done DNA you must love it when the same old jokes come out every year. So when the 4 ex-trainees were being introduced to be questioned by the current DNA gang, we were introduced as 'living proof that there was life after DNA' and out of the 4 of us there were, '2 previous DNAers and there carers!'
Personally it was actually a really good opportunity to look back over the past year and think about the areas where I've moved forward, where I haven't and important things I've completely forgotten about. It has been a great year at uni which I've really loved. I now see that loads that I learnt during DNA was building me up for getting the most of uni. For example, before DNA I guess I struggled with building frienships thinking, 'why would anyone want to hang out with me.' And yet now after DNA, and the freshstart of uni, I just love being around so many people and feeling so much freer to be myself.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

So I start talking about God and always end up with footy!

As promised, it's time for some reading updates. And I'll start with my methodical and chronological trudge through the Old Testament. It's going to take me about 2 to 3 years to get through the whole Bible but I'm plodding onwards, and have taken the opportunity of spare time recently to catch up a bit. I've now reached 'Judges' which is apparently about a quarter of a way through the whole thing!!
The background is that the Israelites are now living in their luxurious promised land, having witnessed God do some pretty specatacular stuff to get them there. But now as generations keep passing, the nation grows complacent, goes off the rails and forgets about God. So God keeps building up 'judges' to get them back on track, which usually results in a time of peace, before time passes and God's forgotten about again. And this pattern continues cyclically.
There's a line which strikes me when a guy called Gideon says, 'Where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about?' (Judges 6:13) And I know I often find myself feeling like that - often thinking 'yeah, so God did that amazing thing a year ago but what about now?'
I think it's a very British mentality - we seem to only remember what happened yesterday. In footy a striker is only ever as good as his last few games. He can be a hero one minute as he bangs in the hat-tricks but if he stops scoring for a few games he's accused of being rubbish and passed it. He's still a good player, and may still be playing good football for the team, but if he's not making the headlines then the fans start to grumble.


I don't spose I need to draw out the analogy I'm getting at. I probably only need to add, that like with the Israelites it doesn't make God happy to be ignored and accused of losing his touch, but he understands and loves to let us start again ... every day. Which is a good thing for us football loving 'only as good as your last game' Brits.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Summer Blast 2006










I'm back home now from the Summer Blast and looking for a job. One of the things which stands out for me from the Blast is that 2006 was the 4th year that the Blast has been on, and it'll be back there next year. Over the previous years the 10 days of projects have been the springboard for more sustained work with young people in the area. So this isn't just a one off - the great connections and friendships made during the Blast will continue, which is just so important. Over the 4 years the core Blast team have seen the difference made to young individuals, even reaching the point were some of the first troublesome youngsters are now helping out. And because of this sustained difference made in a community which needs it, the Summer Blast is looked forward to throughout the year. I'll always remember going into a rough looking pub on the 2nd day, wearing my Summer Blast t-shirt, with the aim of taking in some beer mat advertisements. And I was greeted with the friendly words, 'Yeah, it's the Summer Blast innit!'

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

IMPOSSIBLE IS NOTHING

The Summer Blast has a few values that fire us on through the 10 days. They can seem a bit cliched at times but are really important when put into practice. These include, 'People over projects', and 'Joyful community.' The final one comes direct from an Adidas ad campaign and is a very bold statement - 'IMPOSSIBLE IS NOTHING.' Here's what Adidas have to say about 'Impossible.'

We all know the nice, cute, fluffy nativity story, don't we? When the angel visits Mary telling her she's going to have a baby despite being a virgin, the angel concludes with the incredibly bold, courageous and far from fluffy statement, 'FOR NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD.'

Because during the Summer Blast we want to see 'Impossible' not as a fact or a declaration, but as potential and a dare. Can we even dare to believe that 'impossible is nothing?'

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Monday

On Sunday night I wrote that the hard work was worth it, but didn't really have anything in mind when I did write it. I just felt I should put it down. Well, Monday was a day full of really encouraging stories. Stories of breakthroughs in conversations and behaviour, and direct answers to prayer.
Let me tell you about one such event which moved me so much I had a face like Beckham's when he resigned as captain, but one of the happy variety. During the weekdays it's less busy cos the kids are at school, so in the morning the Summer Blast team took the opportunity to sing songs to God. But one troublesome youngster was still hanging around, obviously schiving from school. So he decided to come and sit with us. I loved the sight of him tapping his foot to the strummings of the guitar and screwing up his face as he closed his eyes during a time of prayer. For this guy just to sit still for half an hour was a breakthrough, let alone not think we had completely lost the plot!!!!!