Tuesday, 31 July 2012

All that work for nothing....

I will pretend this will be my last post regarding the Olympic Opening ceremony (but I am sure I will keep telling the story for years!)

Danny Boyle had requested that the cast for the Industrial Revolution allow their hair to grow a bit longer and not shave for a while.
After 10 days I ended up looking like this:

I was going to have a vote and see whether people thought I should keep the look....
I found that opinions were forthcoming regarding my new appearance:
my daughter told me it made me look like a character out of the Bible
my mother in law told me it looked sexy
my wife said no!

I wondered if I could keep everyone happy so went for the following options:

Having said that Nicky won the day and I am now clean shaven again!
That was 10 days hard work down the drain (sink to be precise!)

What have you spent time doing only to end it was not appreciated.

Who do you listen to the most?

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Opening Ceremony - I was there!

A huge privilege to be part of the Olympic Opening Ceremony.
Struggled to see myself on TV but here is the evidence of me climbing down the Tor!

My name and even my photo is in the back of the programme. (white shirt on right)

I will miss all the wonderful people involved - thanks for an amazing incredible once in lifetime opportunity - to be involved in the greatest show on earth!

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Wedding Anniversary!

20 years ago today Nicky and I were married!

She has just finished University and I had completed my first year of teaching.

We have lived in 2 countries, had 3 kids and made 8 different houses our home.

I am so glad that I am still with this same woman!

Monday, 23 July 2012

Motivated by fear

One of the joys if being married to a primary school teacher is seeing the presents that she brings home from the class at the end of year: lots of boxes of chocolates!

This week Nicky and the kids have gone away for a week and left me guarding the stash...

In a moment of weakness I sat down and ate a whole box of Roses. I had only meant to test one of each flavour to see which I preferred.

I know that I can buy a replacement box for the shelf but I am worried my wife will spot where I have hidden them (the overhang hiding my trouser belt) so I decided to go for a run in the heat on Sunday afternoon.

Being scared of my wife is obviously a big motivating factor - I managed to take 2 minutes off my usual time.

We are all motivated by one of two things: love and fear.

I am so glad that I serve a God of love. He loves me so much and that motivates me to I love Him in return!

Saturday, 21 July 2012

The Well Church

Recently I met up with the very radical church planter and evangelist Clive Sharpe.

He and his wife moved into the heart of London, by faith, just over 2 years ago. As a through and through evangelist Clive has been incredible in seeing friends he has got to know join the Church and discover Jesus for themselves.

I am really looking forward to visiting them on Sunday 22nd July!

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Age is catching up with me....

3 weeks ago I was back at the surgery and the nurse gave me a second course of antibiotics.

Maybe she could sense that I am always hesitant to bother the medical profession, so as I am about to leave she threw me a warning remark ....'if that does not heal in 2 weeks you had better see the doctor -  it might be cancer.'

I genuinely feel healthy and played football last week as well as going for a run 3 times....but suddenly the words echo in my head and I feel vulnerable. (This should not be happening to me I believed the lie - we can pursue youth and delay the ageing process.)

I nervously approach the doctor today and inform him I have not still fully recovered.

He leans forward and looks concerned.
He decides to observe the area and asks a few questions.

He then informs me that I have an ingrown toe nail!

None of us stay young forever!

Any aches and pains you would like to share?
What have you worried about unnecessarily?

How are you making the most of your days for God?

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

It don't matter if your black or white

As part of the Olympic Opening ceremony (had I mentioned before that I was taking part? - I know I talk about it a lot but it does take a lot of time at present!) we are broken down into small groups.

My team of approx. 12 is a real mixture: people from Australia, New Zealand, America, Russia, Spain, Malaysia, India & China. Some are single others are married, some live at home - others own their own place. Some are employed, some are not. One guy is gay and another one has special needs. Yet we have all come together as a team, we volunteer side by side, hour after hour to be part of the occasion together, to make the ceremony great. 

I love living in London with its amazing diversity: the borough of Ealing where I live, is home to just over 320,000 people and within that population there are representatives from 172 nations!

The Bible declares that heaven will be a diverse place. Around the throne of God will be people from every tribe, race, nation and tongue!

My hope and prayer is that Redeemer will be a very diverse church. We want to intentionally welcome and reach out to as many folk living locally as possible. I have appreciated reading Owen Hylton's book 'Crossing the Cultural Divide.'

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Attention to detail

This world seems to be divided into 2 in so many ways: one of the profoundest distinguishing features that separates folk is those who dream the big picture and those who dot every 'i' and cross every 't'.
I meet people who constantly talk about 'the vision' and use 'broad brush strokes' when painting a picture of the future. Other people want to drill down into every detail and have an app that sorts out the smallest of details.

Who are you? Dream the big picture? Sort the fine detail?

Last Saturday I went to a wedding which seemed to combine both: there were almost 750 guests for a wonderful 3 course meal. There was a big band to play for the evening dance, there was a chocolate fountain in case you were not full up from the meal and a magician wandered around entertaining the guests.
There was a massive spread of fruit available whilst the photos were being taken:

(A sad confession I did not take a picture of the couple but I did the food and  I asked the caterer and the melons took 2 hours to carve each!)

Great to witness a couple marry who dream big and yet also pay attention to the detail.

I pray that God will make Redeemer a Church that dreams big -  is caught up in the massive mission of taking the good news about Jesus to every nation and yet also a church that reflects the heart of Jesus who told the story of the shepherd who went searching for the one.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012


My son Josh has been learning the drums with John Jackson since around October last year, so we decided to listen to these bad boys (& girls!)

I so love living in London and having all this talent on the doorstep.
I have been before but it is an amazing evening - the energy, the creativity, the timing and very funny!

I wonder how we could get this musical creativity and passion in worship at Redeemer as we want to ' make a joyful noise to the Lord!'

Monday, 9 July 2012

Volunteering - part 3

OK - I will try and make this the last blog on the subject (I appreciate sequel's are really not as good as the original) - I have just been trying to process my thoughts on the subject recently....

This year in the community, for the school and as part of the Olympics I have volunteered more than at any previous point in my life and these are some of the lessons I have discovered:

You may not be busy the whole time. You are not being paid and so people may not be trying to work you full tilt the whole time - just be available and energetic when called upon.

Choose your time carefully when making suggestions about how things could be improved. Mostly you are asked to do a certain task in a specific way for a reason. They are not always looking for a solution as to how this task could be done better.

Let others lead - sometimes it is good to follow.

Learn to step back and keep your eye on the big picture otherwise it is easy to wonder why am I investing time in this activity.

Enjoy being part of a team.

What have you most enjoyed / learnt from volunteering?

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Volunteering - part 2

Most leaders would agree that leading volunteers is much harder than paid staff: you do not have financial rewards to offer and few effective deterrents to threaten with!

I know that when since volunteering for the Olympics Opening Ceremony that there are some things that really help:

Pay for travel to and from the place of work: thanks for the ceremonies oyster card!

Provide food whilst on site: I appreciate the drinks and lunch provided by London 2012.

Keep on saying positive things: even though I am not sure they are true, I find myself believing it when they tell us we have achieved a lot during a rehearsal

Connect: I have been very very impressed by the amount of time that Danny Boyle has spent on site and moving around talking to any and every member of the cast.

Provide the right tools: I have been wearing in my steel toe capped boots even though they set off the airport style security scanner every time I enter the Olympic Stadium.

What do you find helpful in motivating and encouraging the volunteers you manage?

Thursday, 5 July 2012


As I have mentioned before I feel very excited and privileged to play a part in the opening ceremony of the Olympics London 2012!

Having got through the auditions in February this year I have been committed (and my family have released me) to lots of rehearsals: by the 27th July I will have been 21times! The shortest session has been 4 1/2 hours and the longest 8 1/2 hours. Last weekend we were practising in the stadium Friday night, all day Saturday and Sunday morning.

I have not personally met or counted them all but rumour has it that there are almost 10,000 people volunteering just for the opening ceremony. (In addition 240,000 people applied to volunteer as Games Makers for the tournament!)

I find it thrilling that people are motivated and excited enough to take the trouble and effort to get involved.
I think it is wonderful that these folk are not out to grab but give to make an occasion.
I am so impressed that all of these people are willing to serve so that others might have a more pleasurable experience.

I do not think that the Olympics could occur without the volunteers.

I KNOW that the church cannot function without people volunteering.

I love being part of the local church: people volunteer week after week, month after month, year after year. The sacrifice and love is staggering.

In what ways do you volunteer?
How do you serve in your church?

Monday, 2 July 2012

A short story

I was delighted on Christmas morning to be given a new pair of shorts for running. (I would like to point out that I had not out grow the last pair - just worn them out!)

I came back from the first run along the canal in the new kit and was sure they made me look slimmer and run faster.

A couple of days later when preparing to go out again I was unable to locate the new pair of shorts so had to make do with an old pair, but was a bit cheesed off.
You can image in that a few weeks later when I was still unable to discover the whereabouts of the shorts my frustration spilled over.

My oldest son sometimes borrows my clothes so naturally I accused him of having not returned the items. He denied it and even after searching his room - the floor and the wardrobe, I was unable to locate the missing shorts.

Along came April, and my birthday. so I had another pair of shorts - that I have looked after and loved wearing since. (Despite having no evidence - I still secretly blamed Josh for having borrowed the last pair and left them at a sports centre - I was not prepared to loan him the new ones.)

This weekend the mystery was solved when Nicky was sorting through Isaac's wardrobe and discovered my missing gear. She apologised having mistakenly returned the shorts to the wrong room after washing them.

I went for a run in the shorts today but felt guilty for blaming Josh for them going missing.

It seems so easy to falsely accuse others when frustrated.
I so want to change and be one who 'believes the best' in others rather than 'assume the worst'.

Who have you falsely accused?
Are you believing the best of those around you?