Friday, 29 June 2012

Oyster Bashing

I love living in Ealing - being an Inner London Borough, it is so easy to get round on public transport.

We have the Main Line and Heathrow Connect as well as 3 London Underground lines (District, Piccadilly & Central) to choose from and on top of that there are scores of bus routes: we have 6 at the end of our road!

It is great being in zone 3 and makes getting into Central London so easy. Having said that I realise that this week I will have been 'up town' 6 out of 7 days - no wonder I have to keep on topping up my oyster card!

When living in Outer London I was often on my bike cycling round but now I seem to have got lazy.
The good things is that I get to rub shoulders with lots of local people (literally) and there is plenty of time to read - hence the growing completed book list!

A couple of recent weekend's the Central Line has been undergoing routine maintenance and it certainly took a lot longer to get around.

Why is it that I do not appreciate things until I longer have them?

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

The Best of British!

Yesterday was my first ever trip to Wimbledon and it was incredible!

Let's start with getting the facts straight: I attended the 'All England Lawn and Tennis Croquet Club'. An amazing 42 acre site that can accommodate 38,000 people.
On a beautiful first day at the start of the annual 2 week tournament, the site was heaving with people eating strawberries & cream, drinking Pimms & lemonade, basking in the sunshine on Henman Hill (or Murray Mound) and applauding the players.

What really hit me was how quintesencently British the whole spectacle was:
Every detail was planned - even to the Tennis logo on the backs of the ball boys and girls trainers.
Teams of immaculately dressed umpires being escorted out each hour to relive those who had already toiled for 60 minutes in the sun.
If 1 umpire removed his jacket at one end of the court the other 2 did the same, so the team maintained the same uniform appearance.
The politeness of the players,  that despite us all having seen the new balls lined up and handed out - a signal would be given to the player at the other end of the court that new balls were about to be served.

The sense of history, decency, politeness and etiquette was almost palpable in the air.
I appreciate our national strengths. I love my country.

Yet as is so often the case our strengths can also be our weakness.
I am aiming to build a vibrant Holy Spirit filled community, believing God for a church called Redeemer, whose hallmarks are purity, adventure and compassion. I recognise that the fresh, energetic, informal, relational style will be in contrast to our national heritage of tradition and ritual.  For some constant change, being flexible and adaptable is draining. However I hope that we can combine both 'cultures' and see God glorified for many years to come!

Monday, 25 June 2012

This time more than any other time!

As a child I used to come home from my paper round each day and listen to the England football team sing the words 'This time more than any other time!' (Did I miss the England team song this year? Let's get the boys singing!)

I recognise that I played the music on my record player 30 years ago - but I still live in hope. There is always a chance with football...

It was great fun watching the game with 12 others packed into the lounge last night - even if the evening did end flat with us being knocked out of Euro 2012.

Maybe it is because I am a christian who believes in miracles and a God who does the impossible: but I have already brought tickets to take my family to Wembley in September. We play Ukraine as we begin to qualify for the World Cup in Brazil 2014.

Maybe this time more than any other time......

Thursday, 21 June 2012

A sign of things to come!

Everything with church planting can feel new, fresh and exciting!

I have loved meeting with the community group we started in January.
Watching folk step out of their comfort zones and take risks for God is thrilling.
It is great hearing stories of how God has stirred people to join us.
We enjoy eating together every other Sunday.
It is wonderful seeing people's passion and excitement as we dream together about the future.
I have really appreciated all those who have liked the face book page: Redeemerlondon
So pleased to know that folk are catching onto the twitter feed: @redeemer

Great to have the logo designed:

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Glass 1/2 full or 1/2 empty?

I never realised that watching a match for a whole day (as opposed to a 90 minute football game) could be such great fun!

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to spend time with my son Josh celebrating England beat the West Indies in a One Day International match at the Oval.

It was great to see Chris Gayle knock the ball round the ground but then also sit back confident that England could top the score and win the series!

We took plenty of food and brought liquids to keep us going.
There was a beach ball bashed around by the crowd.
One stand kept on sending round a Mexican wave.
We had cards from natwest that we waved every time there was a 4 or 6.
People were very friendly and chatted.
We observed several snakes (as many almost empty pint glasses as possible stacked and passed among the spectators before they could be taken away by the conscientious health and safety steward) much to the delight of the crowd.

OK I did forget to tell you a few things: we were in long trousers and it was far too hot, we got sun burnt and then had to queue for ages to get the tube home - but I would rather focus on the positive.

Are you a glass half full or half empty person?

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Happy Fathers Day!

Being a Dad is a tremendous privilege - all the time!

Having said that it is special when the kids all bring cards with thoughtful messages they have written and gifts they have chosen (& paid for!)

I know the cynical will say it is just another marketing invention to get us spending more money and balances out Mother's Day'.I personally think that it is great to take time to express our love for and appreciation of our Father.

Recently I have been stirred again by the very clear picture in the Bible that God is my Father. I have read Mark Stibbe's 'The Father You've been waiting for' and 'From Orphans to Heirs'. I have also really benefited from Jack Frost's 'Spiritual Slavery to Spiritual Sonship' and found Paul Scanlons book 'I am not my Father' thought provoking.

I am all too aware of my own short comings as a dad to my kids: I can get tired, too focused on my now agenda and let the trivial squeeze out the important. I acknowledge that none of us have had a perfect earthly Father. Surely this makes it all the more essential for us to understand and grasp God as our Father!

How have you expressed your love to your Father today?
Do you know God as your Father?

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Money well spent

I recognise that we are in the midst of a recession and everyone has to make cutbacks - but when it comes to supporting England in the Euros you still have to push the boat out!

A family tradition for each major football competition in our home is the wall chart.
This year is no exception: I willingly handed over my £2 to the shopkeeper.

A regular picture is put to one side so room can be found on the wall to hang the poster.

After each game the score is carefully recorded.

At the start of each new day a discussion is held and predictions made regarding the next 2 fixtures.

Information is easily accessible for all to help make decisions about possible diary clashes.

Decisions are made about which games will be watched and where.

Despite all the planning it is meant to facilitate family enjoyment of the event.

What family traditions do you have?

I read a very helpful article on church planting recently that underlined the importance of investing time and energy with your kids....despite the busyness and pressure of life.... the years pass too quickly and when they have left home you will regret not having made more memories together.

Why not go and do something with your kids now!

Tuesday, 12 June 2012


After Sundays blog post, I thought I would continue with the name theme.....

Recently Nicky & I had a great curry with our friends Dan & Susan at a wonderful restaurant in Southall.

Amazing place whose previous guests have included Prince Charles

and Gordon Ramsay

I really enjoyed the excellent food and now appreciate why the restaurant is named: 'Brilliant'. To quote the advert 'it does what it says on the tin'

I feel excited to be planting a church named Redeemer: A name for Jesus. A constant reminder that He paid the price on the cross that we might know God.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Dull & Boring

This week I was shocked to learn that a town named 'Dull' was hoping to connect with another called 'Boring'.

I know there are some strange names for places out there - I once passed through a place named Prat's Bottom.

It got me thinking what would I choose to call the place where I live?

I recognise it is vitally important to love your local area or you will never pay the price to see the Kingdom of God established there.

Do you love where you live?
What strange named places have you visited?

Friday, 8 June 2012

Westlife at the 02!

Last night I had a case of deja vu: sat in the 02 Arena in London, with an excited girl singing and screaming beside me: previously it was my daughter and Olly Murs, this occasion it was my wife and Westlife.

I know that I have received lots of stick on Facebook for going to the Westlife Greatest Hits Tour / Farewell Concert. (For those interested in the facts 14 years and 14 No 1's!)

I had never been to one of their concerts before so unsure what to expect: even named a 'Westlife Virgin' when welcomed by the guys on stage along with all the other first timers.
Despite the band being 1/2 hour late, and that following 3 warm up acts, I have to admit that the show was great.
I felt quite emotional as this was their last ever London gig. They kept declaring it was time to stop whilst still friends but as a new observer I was impressed that Westlife filled the 18,000 seater venue 4 times - obviously going out on a high.

Recently I was also at the last ever gig of the Hip Hop Band '29th Chapter '- also a fabulous evening of entertainment by a talented bunch of guys who have been together for the past 12years.

The story of our life seems to have several chapters. The end of one things leads to the start of something new. As a family we are enjoying the new chapter of living in Ealing and starting a new church called  Redeemer.

What is coming to an end in your life?
What new adventure is just round the corner?

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Proud to be British

What an amazing Jubilee weekend!
Great walking around London, streets packed with people wrapped in the Union Jack all celebrating the Queen and her incredible reign.

Lets hope that it overflows into the Euro's 2012 and that England do us proud!

Friday, 1 June 2012

1 year on!

12 months ago our family with just 5 suitcases stepped off a plane arriving back from Perth, Australia. We thought we were going there for good - we had managed just under a year.

I can honestly say that I am amazed at how well God has looked after us:
Nicky was offered a full time teaching job back at her old school after one 5minute phone call.
Our 3 kids managed to get places in the best school in the Borough
We are living in a 5 bed roomed house near the main Uxbridge Road and close to the Grand Union Canal.
I am now employed to plant a church called Redeemer.
We have an amazing bunch of guys and girls gathering, expecting God to do great things in West London.

I have learnt many many lessons and won't bore you with them all, but will say:
Family are superb and there for you in tough times.
Forgive quickly and move on.
God is gracious and offers second chances.
As you get older, fight for faith and avoid cynicism
Be excited - who knows what God has for you round the next corner!

I have always said that 'Christianity is not a crutch for the weak but a machete for the adventurous!'

The Christian life is an adventure with Him!