As promised it's time for a story. I'd like to share a very personal experience with you. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin.
I want to share with you something I kept a secret until the age of 17. None of my friends in my school year knew this secret. This secret was that on a Sunday morning I went to church with my parents. It was just so embarrassing. I was just too shy and couldn't have handled the teasing if my friends knew. Surely.
However gradually around the age of 16 God really started to introduce himself to me and a relationship with him became something I wanted to take much more seriously. As a result I wanted somehow to tell my friends about this. So I needed to break my secret.
But I wanted a cool way to tell my friends. It now sounds cheesy and I cringe at the thought but I came up with a 'cool' plan. As you worked in the library it was trendy to listen to your minidisc player - the forerunner to the ipod - and very often the question would be asked, 'What are you listening to?' And I thought - are you ready for this! - I'd reply, 'I'm listening to Christian music.'
Right now we need to jump forward to early on in year 12, lower sixth. I'm sitting in the library on a Friday afternoon, so as you'll expect it's very quiet. There's only 2 other people about, both sitting on my table. One of the guys I hardly knew at all and the other guy I was only just beginning to get to know cos he was in my A Level maths class. He was called Ollie and had a cheeky mischievous streak to him.
And now we come to the moment. The guy I hardly knew asked me, 'What are you listening to?' This was it. I shuffled my feet and then chickened out, replying with the lie, 'Coldplay.' Oh well, maybe I'd be braver another day.
Then the same question was asked to Ollie and he replied, 'I'm listening to Christian music.'
I couldn't believe it. As I passed Ollie my headphone he knew exactly what number track off the album I was listening to. Over the next few months Ollie, with his crazy rebellious attitude, really helped me become more confident in what I believed. And I'm so grateful for that.