Thursday, 27 December 2012

Skype

As a family today we sat down and opened our Christmas presents watched by Nicky's Dad, Mum and Sister. Nothing unusual about that except they are the other side of the world in Australia, Perth!
Amazing as all 8 of us caught up and celebrated Christmas together.

I know there are thousands of miles between us
I know there are many different time zones to be crossed
I know they sat in their shorts whilst we huddled indoors
I admit the technology dropped us a couple of times and we had to reconnect...

But still great to take the opportunity to cross these barriers and enjoy each other.

What barriers have you allowed to come between you and those you love this last year?

I believe following the Christmas break there are more applications for divorce that at any other time of the year.

I love the story behind the Christmas song - 'Pipes of peace' - where those normally fighting each other would stop and share peace. Should you take a moment to connect to family at this time of year & tell them you love em?!

Thursday, 20 December 2012

What are you known for?

Last Sunday night we had a great time with the house full of neighbours who had come to drink mulled wine, eat mince pies and to spend time together. An intriguing evening where I discovered lots about those I live closest to: one guy over the road has lived with his wife in the same house for 62 years!

Half way through one conversation a couple, who live 5 doors down the street from our house, both stopped and pointed their fingers at me; mouth and eyes wide open as if a mystery had just been revealed. They pronounced together - you are the 'laugh'.
These 2 new friends shared how they had often heard raucous laughter floating along on the air waves and they had wondered who it was and what was going on. This led them to declare 'from now on when we hear the laughter start we are just going to invite ourselves over and join the fun!'

I have to admit this is not the first time that my laugh has been commented on. When I left the first church I worked for the one thing they said they were going to miss was my laughter. I embarrassed my daughter on the bus only last week - I was laughing so much she declared the 3 girls sat near her were laughing at me!

I am happy to be know as one who laughs:o)

What are you known for?

My vision is that Redeemer is known as a church where all ages and nations are very welcome. I want us to see a church established where the Bible is preached, where the Holy Spirit is in control, where the good news about Jesus is shared and where people discover genuine love and community. I do not want Redeemer to be known by the things that we are against but rather for the good that we do for the poor.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Christmas Wrapped

An assortment of shapes and sizes, nicely wrapped in bright colourful paper under a Christmas tree is for many of us the image of Christmas. 

Kids love to madly tear in excitement whilst the more mature gently unpick the sellotape (pretending they do not want to break the fragile gift but more than likely so they can re-use the  paper the following year)

Giving can be as exciting as receiving and last night I spent the evening wrapping presents hoping that when opened they would bring joy and laughter. 
I fear that I was too slow off the mark: My wife informed me some time ago that she wanted new boots for Christmas. These had been purchased, tried on and were in a box waiting to be wrapped. However I discovered yesterday she has changed her mind and returned the present - I had not even had a chance to wrap it!

I digress....

Most of us realise that the paper is cheap and fun - but the thing of value is inside, the thing worth treasuring. 

I love Christmas - the food, the friends, the film, the family memories, the carols, the time off work. Yet all of this is really only like the wrapping paper - fun yet cheap compared to the present of God's Son Jesus. 

I hope you have a truly great Christmas and that you get beyond the paper and know Jesus.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Neighbours

In years gone by I used to love the TV programme 'Neighbours' -even watched it twice one day in case the programme changed between lunchtime and the evening: I was a student with nothing better to do than observe Kylie and Jason! (In my defence I have not watched the programme in 20 years!)

The theme tune used to go
Neighbours - should be there for one another
Thats when good neighbours become good friends.

Wherever I have lived I have made an effort to get to know my neighbours.

I have been really grateful over the last year:
It was a neighbour who suggested I get involved in the Olympic Opening Ceremony
At the last count at least 5 different neighbours have taken in parcels which arrived when I was not home to receive them
Our neighbours had us round for fireworks and food in November
Our neighbour lends us his ladder
Our neighbours are chatty and friendly

Tomorrow night I have invited some of my neighbours round for Mulled wine and mince pies.....can't wait, should be a great evening!

In what ways do you connect to those you live near?

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Liar liar!

I know that it is cold outside.... I cycled to work, I see people scrapping their cars, the ice is still on the road, I feel as if I can see my breath in the office!

Having said that I love a cold Christmas. To me there is something special about sipping pipping hot mulled wine, something cosy about sitting watching a roaring fire in the lounge and something so special when gathering indoors to play board games with friends on a chilly night.

I am not sure that my car agrees. I feel as though the ageing metal machine that I gently coax into taking my family places is in denial. I am convinced that the car prefers the warm weather.

Only last night as I was driving friends to the station, the display on the dashboard, informed me the outside temperature was 30 degrees!  I am not sure whether to laugh, to agree with one mature in years or to shout at it - liar lair!


Some things are so blatantly not true.

I personally believe that the Bible describes marriage as God's idea. He created it for one man and one woman. Those who try and declare otherwise are like my car stating it is hot when it is obviously not. I feel I cannot just laugh or even agree with others more mature than me. Everything inside of me wants to shout - liar liar!

Monday, 10 December 2012

Billy Graham

We have a guy as part of Redeemer Church who was saved during the Billy Graham crusade of 1954. He has lent me the book: 'Harringay Story: A detailed account of the Greater London Crusade.'

Billy Graham is a legend. This book gives an insight into the early days of his ministry and there are many wonderful lessons I hope to retain:

  • Keep the main thing - the main thing: telling people the good news about Jesus
  • Great to get churches working together
  • Think BIG - they did a 12 week crusade
  • Mobilise teams - the mission is so much larger than we can accomplish on our own.
  • Do not let finance get in the way
  • Vital to get people plugged into church
  • Families will make a sacrifice to see the gospel advance
  • Pursue excellence - even in small details
  • Do not try and copy others - build the way God tells you

I would love to see the churches work together again - to raise a loud voice across the Capital - making the name of Jesus known!

Saturday, 8 December 2012

The Tipping Point

I have loved reading Malcolm Galdwell's book this week: 'The Tipping Point How little things can make a big difference'

So often the best that we can hope for is a gradual increase in whatever we are doing. I do not knock that as in these days of difficulty and recession just to be still going is doing well.
And yet it is still good to believe for and dream of bigger days than we are seeing at present.

The author points out that some things can act as a trigger suddenly tipping things in a very positive direction. Malcolm studies diverse situations such as the sales of Hush puppies, Sesame Street & Blue's Clues, the possible start of the American Revolution and the fall of crime in New York.

As we approach the end of 2012 I am grateful to God for the small steps that we have taken in starting a new church in Ealing: gathering a small group in our home, socialising over food, starting to build community, establishing links with other churches & meeting at Ealing Town Hall on Sunday mornings.

I look forward to 2013 and want to pray and believe for a 'Tipping Point' in Redeemer Church. As well as praying to God for Him to supernaturally move amongst us,  I also want to pause over Christmas and think are there small changes that we can make that will help take us forward.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Handel - Messiah - Hallelujah Chorus



I have booked tickets for Nicky and I to see Handel's Messiah at the Royal Albert Hall on Friday 14th December... can't wait!

Watched this to get me in the mood:)

For those who have followed my blog will realise that I seem to be slipping into a rut.... this is the umpteen clip that I have cried my way through (at least 3 times this morning!)

Amazing to think the one who died naked and humiliated on a cross has inspired this passionate praise and worship - I am sure the crowds singing in heaven will be absolutely incredible! Make sure and book your ticket for that event.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Desperate ....

For 75 years kids (& adults) have loved flicking through a comic called 'The Dandy'. My favourite character was Desperate Dan - what was yours?

The weekly print run used to be 2 million but that has now dropped to just over 8,000.

Fascinating to see on the TV today that people are rushing out to buy a souvenir copy of the magazine they cherished as a child. From now on you will only be able to read The Dandy on line.

Society is rapidly changing and the way we do many things are changing .... listening to music, taking photos, catching up on TV programmes missed, banking, sending Christmas cards (my 1st one this year was an ecard!)

The question then becomes how does the church adapt or will it die?

I believe one of the advantages of a new church is that is can be more flexible: it can quickly connect to today's society without worry about the traditions of the past.

A bit like the new on line Dandy  - 'it is dramatic and different' - why not come on Sunday to Ealing Town Hall at 10am and find out for yourself?

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Pouring money down the drain

If I am honest (I know it is always best to tell the truth) I had noticed for the last couple of days ...or so... that there was a problem with the drain at the side of the house.
Often when someone had a shower we generated a puddle by the back door. I hoped that the odd leaf I scooped out was what caused the problem but in reality I could see the water was still not draining away.

I was hoping that if I ignored the problem it would go away - it didn't - yes you wise people have guessed, it got worse.

Yesterday I decided to lift the manhole cover further along the path and discovered there was a blockage (I have not included a photo).

Fortunately we know a guy who came out and cleared the blockage and it is great to have all back in good working order.  (Having said that the £80 charge feels like pouring money down the drain!)

The whole episode did get me thinking.
If there are problems in life it is better to sort them out sooner rather than allow them build up.
Say sorry quickly. Forgive. If you feel unwell see the doctor. If you struggle with lessons speak to the teacher this week. if you are feeling overwhelmed ask for help.

The longer you leave things the more costly it is to fix.