Friday, August 31, 2007

HAPPY 90th BIRTHDAY GRANDPOP!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Is there Hope for Change?

Having driven through Croxteth just last Sunday, the recent tragic headlines have particularly saddened me. Politicians have reacted by highlighting deep rooted problems in societies across the UK. People are asking, is there hope for change?

Yesterday the Bishop of Liverpool is quoted as saying, '...people have got to come together in their community groups ... where people can voice together their determination that they will not tolerate this sort of behaviour. The tide of lawlessness can turn only when people come forward.'

In 2005 I got involved with Merseyfest which brought young people together to display hope through practical community action. As I manned a free bouncy castle, I was given a small small glimpse into the needs of the area and the difference that communities coming together could make. However two years on I find myself asking, 'Did one week in the summer really have a lasting impact?' It just feels like a drop in the ocean.

Confronted with that thought, Mother Teresa told a reporter, 'But the ocean is made of many drops.'

In 2008 people all over the UK are getting together for a massive initiative aptly named, 'HOPE 08.' It's going to be a year full of local projects to put a smile on the face of communities everywhere. The cry is, 'Do more. Do it together. Do it in word and action.'

Recent events have highlighted just how important it is to switch off our TVs and get involved. There is hope.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Questions of Life

Should I wear a different tie to this weekend's wedding?
I would have to buy one that isn't navy.
Hmm, what colour would suit me?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Welcome to Anfield



Brilliant. What a day. 12 hours of driving were so worth it. Had a superb view of the mouthwatering Torres goal. Liverpool looked strong.

So nearly the result to match the occasion......but a certain referee had other ideas. So frustrating. Welcome to the world of the football fan. At least it gave us something to talk about on the long journey home!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Bono - Hypocrite??

I've just got hold of a bargain autobiography of U2, and as it's been a while since Bono made a guest appearance on this blog, I thought I'd share a short extract from it. Bono is one of the few celebrities out there that I want to aspire to. It makes me laugh that so many accuse him of being a hypocrite, because in my mind it's his openness about his inabilities that makes him such a worthy role model. And in these words we are given privileged access to the core of what makes him tick:
Your nature is a very hard thing to change; it takes times. One of the extraordinary transferences that happens in your spiritual life is not that your character flaws go away but they start to work for you. A negative becomes a positive: you've a big mouth: you end up a singer ...
I have heard of people having life changing, miraculous turn-arounds, people set free from addiction after a single prayer...But it was not like that for me. For all that 'I was lost, I am found' it is probably more accurate to say, 'I was really lost, I'm a little less so at the moment.' And then a little less and a little less again. That to me is the spiritual life. The slow reworking and rebooting of a computer, reading the small print of the service manual. It has taken years, though, and it's not over yet.'

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

If Carlsberg did posh weddings...

I've reached the age where friends have started getting married. While my first wedding of the summer took place in a barn, the second was in probably the poshest building I've ever been in. It was even owned by the National Trust.Despite the different practicalities the weddings had a lot in common, with the main thing being the stand out characteristics of those getting married. Amongst all the ones you'd expect the couples display so much peace, discipline and commitment. That just seems so alien from the kind of relationships that television has been telling me about for all these years.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

World News With A Difference

Somewhere in this classic Kenyan Safari pic is pal and soon to be uni corridor neighbour, Andrew Jackson:
Andy's currently spending a whopping 3 months helping with Education in Kenya, so I just thought I'd take this moment to say all the sentimental stuff like 'we still miss you mate' and all that!

On Sunday I heard of some experiences that friends from my home church have also just had in Kenya. My local community have been raising money to build a school in a village called Pokot, and a team went out recently to open the school officially.
Other aspects of the trip included painting a mural on the school that a child in England had designed and connecting up water tanks which will collect rain water. This will enable easier access to cleaner drinking water. A farmer from home also lead a packed seminar where he gave tips to improve farming production in the village.

I'm amazed by how these simple things will make such a lasting difference to the area. But on the teams return, the thing that struck me most is how much the peeps had brought back from the Kenyans. And I don't just mean the generous gifts! The team had been moved to discover a joy - rare to this country - inside people that struggle to find enough food to eat. On Sunday we saw a video of when the team first arrived, and the welcome they got was quite simply overwhelming - for over 2 miles the dusty tracks into the village were full of people dancing and singing!

wow. Now that is world news that puts a smile on your face!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The World Wide Web

As I sit at home in my comfy sofa tapping away at a keyboard, I'm amazed by how many of my friends are currently off round the world doing so many good things. These friends inspire me, and I hope to blog about what some of them have been up to over the next couple of days. In this post I want to offer some encouragement to those of you who are currently abroad, without your comfy home sofa.

All this reminds me of a meeting at City Life Church in Cambridge at the beginning of Summer. We had a time where we prayed for everyone travelling abroad this summer on some form of project. And there were more people receiving prayer than people praying!
Now that has to be a very different situation from just 10 years ago surely??? Has the internet had an impact on this, cos it obviously makes the world a smaller place? And the ultimate question to ask is what impact does this have Jesus' words of 'Go and make disciples of all nations...'?

Surely this is more possible now than at any other point in history. Now that's encouraging!

Friday, August 03, 2007

How to make a bloke emotional and in need of Mum.

I never thought I’d ever go to a game as big as Liverpool v. Chelsea. I’d just assumed it’d be too hard to get tickets. Pictured here are tickets from the last 2 reds games I got to: Bradford and West Ham 6 and 7 years ago! But as I phoned up the ticket office at the very time that tickets went on sale I knew I had as good a chance as anyone. After 20 minutes of dialling and redialling I got through to the queuing system. As my queuing position counted down from 96 I began to get very excited and nervous; I was on the brink of going to this massive match!
After 40 mins queuing, I actually made it through to a real person! I asked for 4 tickets and started to give them my details. And then the lady on the end of the phone went quiet. ‘Is that OK?’ I said. No answer. I was no where near completing the transaction yet. And then I heard the sound of the phone line getting disconnected!
Ahh! I started panting heavily in disbelief. No. No. No. No. No. This can’t be happening. I felt sick, no exaggeration.
I would have to wait at least another hour before I got to the front of the queue again and surely they’d be sold out by then. I gave up and began to tell myself that I’d been stupid to have dreamed of going to such a big game.
Half an hour later my Mum decided to give it one last go. Instead of phoning the ticket office she phoned customer services to complain that her devastated son had been cut off. She didn’t tell them her son was 21!
And they put her through to buy tickets! We’re going to Liverpool v. Chelsea!!!!! I’m so happy. All because Mum came to the rescue!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

The One With Outrageous Blasphemy

Do you ever have that sensation were you look at something really, really familiar to you but this time you stop in your tracks and go, 'Wow.'?

I had that experience recently when looking at a passage that gets read out in churches every Christmas. It’s the one that goes, 'For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.'

Written in about 750BC, I've always known this is used as a prophecy about Jesus, but it didn't seem too spectacular. But the other day I realised this classic carol service text says something revolutionary. It says a child, yes a human child, will be called God! When this was written, it would have been outrageous blasphemy. Very few could have taken it seriously.
I’ve often wondered who first worked out the mind-bending concept that Jesus was 100% Human and 100% God? Well, I guess the origins go back to well before he was born in Bethlehem!

And finally, thought you’d also like to know there’s only 145 shopping days left til Christmas! Chuckle. See yers soon.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Yet More Nostalgia From 04/05

It was too long for You Tube but Facebook can handle it! I'm talking about the review video me and Beth made to look back on our DNA 04/05 year in Herne Bay. If you know what I'm talking about, and you're my friend on the wonder of Facebook, you may want to take a spare 13 minutes in your day to find out what we got up to. Watch it by clicking here.

But be warned though, it can get a bit boring at times, despite our desperate attempts to be funny. And it contains some moments of honesty and some moments which make me big headed that I can no longer edit out. Oh well. Besides all that - ENJOY!!!