Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Randomness Banana

Another one bites the dust. 2008 is in it's final hours and every piece of media is doing their review of the year. Mostly it'll be Obama or the Olympics ... which is nice.
Tomorrow I'll wrap up 2008 in my own regular style with the annual blogging highlights compilation. It's been a year that's seen much of the blogs randomness going by the wayside, with focus shifting away from quantity onto ... well, an attempt at the other.

But you'll have to wait til tomorrow for the joy of highlights, cos I couldn't let Christmas pass by on the blog without sharing my most chuckleworthy experience of the festive period:

It's Christmas day at church and as is now tradition, the kids are up the front showing off their presents. You know, xbox games and the like.
Then one youngster grabs the mic and says in the cutest voice, 'this is my banana what i got for christmas.'
She held up the banana with great pride. I thought it would light up or make a noise or something.
But no it was just a banana!!

Love it. Have a great night everyone. Let's celebrate randomness.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Joy - The 2 Minute Sermon (City Life Church, Cambridge)

It's 11:58. There's only 2 minutes left in a sunday morning church gathering. Normally someone will be nearing the end of a half hour preach and everyone else is breathing a sigh of relief. But on this occasion the talk hadn't even started!
What should you do?

Erm, probably not this!!!

The funny thing is I'd only been asked to speak for 5 mins before Tim, the church leader's main talk. But now everyone thinks I managed to pack a half hour talk into 2 minutes!!

What a surreal experience.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Cold and A Broken Hallelujah

The xmas song sweeping the nation at the mo is 'Hallelujah.' The song is incredible. The original by Jeff Buckley is incredible. Even the Shrek version stops you in your tracks. But for me - sorry X Factor fans - the new cover is distinctly average.

Nevertheless as I was lying in bed this morning listening to Radio One, I realised for the first time that the lyrics reference King David of Bible fame:
'I heard there was a secret chord that David played and it pleased the lord.'

Hallelujah literally means 'Praise the Lord', and the cool thing is: David wrote the majority of the songs in the Bible, which do just that.
The King goes down in history famed for being 'a man after God's own heart.'


...the 'Hallelujah' song, in the second verse, chooses to focus on an affair David had:
well your faith was strong but you needed proof
you saw her bathing on the roof
her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you

By choosing to cover up his actions in an intricate web of lies, the affair ended up with murder!!

HOW? How can an adulterer and a murderer carry the title, 'A man after God's own heart'?!!!
It even took David a long time - and a load of prodding - til he fessed up.

But he did say sorry eventually. And straight away David hears the words, 'The LORD has taken away your sin.'

AMAZING. Forgiveness is amazing! Forgiveness happens instantly.

We often think that forgiveness simply became part of God's plans when Jesus rocked up. Yet David received a totally fresh start, living centuries before Christ. Forgiveness has always been who God is. Love has always desired to forgive.

In response David penned these moving and groundbreaking lyrics, connecting deeply with the character of God:

‘Take away my sin, and I will be clean.
Wash me and I will be whiter than snow.
…Create in me a pure heart, God.
…Give me back the joy of your salvation
…God save me from the guilt of murder
…You don’t want burnt offerings.
The sacrifice God wants is a broken spirit.
God you will not reject a heart that is broken and sorry for sin.'

(Psalm 51:7-17)

As Jeff Buckley sang,
'love is not a victory march
it's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah.'

Friday, December 12, 2008

Varsity Rugby U21s Celebrations

Twickenham was the venue for the 127th Varsity rugby match. It was a great day; I mean, simply visiting a huge stadium is usually enough to get me excited. But there was also so much more in store.
It all started with the U21s match that saw Cambridge convincingly beat their archrivals. Somehow I found myself positioned right next to the trophy presentation in prime place to capture the above video. Check out just how much the victory meant!
But the greatest personal highlight was seeing a pal from Homerton not only playing at such an impressive venue, but also scoring a brilliant solo effot!

Then it was time for the big one. An exciting game ended up being the highest scoring match in Varsity history. With a Cambridge player sin-binned, Oxford opened up an almost unassailable lead of 33-15. Relentless second half pressure cut the defecit, but Oxford just held on to take the title 33-29.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Love is...

Love is ... handing your heart to someone and taking the risk that they will hand it back.
Love is ... giving away power. When we love, we give the other person power. They can do what they like with our love. We expose ourselves, we allow ourselves to be vulnerable.
Love is ... giving up control. If we are serious about loving someone we have to surrender all of our desires to manipulate the relationship.
(Rob Bell)

God is love.
And Love desires relationship. He wants to ask you out on a first date.
But God cannot force you to say yes. He will not manipulate relationship.

In Jesus, Love 'made himself nothing'. He became vulnerable. He made the first move. It was an extremely daring way to ask you out. Exposed, with his heart on the line he took the risk of rejection.
And rejection hurt.
But occassionally a freely chosen 'yes' accepts the greatest proposal.
And joy explodes.