Thursday, 26 February 2009
Many just think my giving up FB is plain odd. Some feel sorry for me, (I haven't yet worked out why). I agree with the neuroscientist in the audio clip. The issue is not whether online networking is an evil technological development, (it is morally neutral) but rather, how do I ensure that I enjoy it, along with all of life, in its correct proportions, given the realities of eternity that stretch out before us?
To put it another way, when you're sculpting something as big Mt Rushmore (left), it's hard to tell if what you are doing is going to turn out right. Sometimes it's only when I take a step away from a little daily routine that I can see what I'm making of my life, for better or worse.
"Sow a thought, reap an act.
Sow an act, reap a habit.
Sow a habit, reap a character.
Sow a character, reap a destiny."
Saturday, 21 February 2009
What is it about human beings that we love to project human characteristics onto animals and inanimate objects. I did it with my toys when I was a littl'un. No one taught me to do it! Is it a form of idolatry? Or a fun off shoot of the creative imagination put into our hearts by an almighty God?
Note this is not meant to be a heavy question. WALL-E is on my list of to watch movies, but our obsession with animating inanimate objects does fascinate me. Why do we do it?
Friday, 20 February 2009
Christianity was still central in Wales, but the passion and the spark had gone – It was the failure of Christianity in this regard that troubled Roberts most. Most of his friends went off fishing, he made it his priority to get to the almost-daily prayer meetings.
Jesus was not being glorified as he should be, because people were wanting to "show" themselves in church meetings.
Converted at 13 but Roberts sought a deeper spiritual experience. At the age of 26, God used him to start revival.
I will have the Spirit, he journalled
For 10-11 years I have prayed for a revival. I prayed and prayed, in great distress.
Then one night, for four hours, I spoke with the Almighty as a man speaks with his friend. It seemed to change all my nature, and I saw things in a different light. And I knew that God was going to work…
Roberts was the answer to the four year long revival prayers of another preacher, Mr Joshua, who prayed that revival come again to Wales, but that a man be taken from the colliery or the farming field, like an Elisha, not the university, so that intellectual pride might have no room to muscle in on the work of God.
Lord bend us, Oh Lord bend me.
Roberts' only book became the bible
His only desire - to benefit a guilty world with the message of Jesus. People inc Christians, thought he was going mad.
Great number of teenagers and particularly girls were contributing at the revival meetings.
Do you think [Roberts asked a friend] that it is too much to ask God for 100,000 souls in Wales?
I saw a vision of Jesus Christ presenting a cheque to his Father for 100,000 and it was alright. Within two years the "soul-cheque" was "cashed".
There are four things to be right. You can go to Heaven without being filled with the Holy Ghost, but without him, you will lose much on the way.
1. Obtain full pardon for the sins of the past.
2. Is there anything doubtful in your life? Do away with it. Otherwise, there cannot be any joy in your heart. Self-denial is one of the first essentials of the religion of Christ
3. Complete and immediate obedience to the Holy Spirit. The world may laugh. He did not. Don't worry, you will not be here long.
4. A public and personal confession of Christ. How long will it take you? Don’t look at one another. Out with the confession!
Our fathers were sincere Christians, but gloomy. What I want is for us to get out of that gloomy groove and experience the joy of knowing Christ.
His major preaching themes centred around Gethsemene and the Cross. It was as if he was there, being bent to the will of God.
Meetings went on until 3-4am
Thank you for Calvery and although it’s only a little mountain, it has grown bigger than the Himalayas now and the whole of Wales can see the summit.
Good language replaced bad language and pit ponies didn’t understand their masters anymore. Sportsmen forgot to turn up to matches because they were so preoccupied with revival meetings.
On Robert's memorial stone it is written:
God loves you.
Thursday, 19 February 2009
Tuesday, 17 February 2009
One of the funniest moments was that on arrival, I was respectfully requested to watch a Health & Safety PowerPoint which was packed full of fascinating life-saving tips including the reminder to hold on to the hand rail when I use the stairs!
And there was me thinking education had gone H&S mad! I shut my mouth and give thanks!
Britain has known not a few revivals in her history. If ever we needed another, I am more convinced than ever before, it is now.
Monday, 16 February 2009
The Bible is the answer to all its own questions. For me one of the best places to find the answer is Numbers 8:17-19.
The priests were a ransomed people. A people that should have been dead, had it not been for the mercy of God and the many Passover lambs that were slaughtered in their place. Saved from death, they are put to work ministering in the tabernacle/temple. Working under the direction of the high priest, they would do all that was necessary to maintain the spiritual health of the nation.
For example, they would offer sacrifices on behalf of the people:
They would lead the people in praise,
and pronounce a blessing on them:
They would also teach the people all that was in the law and how to live it.
What is both fascinating and terrifying from the Numbers passage mentioned above is that when the priests do their job properly, the nation is safe. If they fail to teach the people how to approach God or fail to do their job properly, the Lord would break out against the nation of Israel with a plague.
The priesthood of Christians is royal. Christians are children of God and therefore bonded familial-y and eternally to the God of Heaven.
Final judgment seems to come on a people/nation when sin reaches its climax. Biblically that appears to be when child sacrifice and/or sexual deviancy are happening systematically and en masse! I put it to me and you that with all kinds of perversion being held up as good and the god of convenience being worshiped at the altar of the abortion clinic waging war on the truly weak, now is as important a time as any to pray for mercy upon our nation of (Great?!) Britain, regardless of her economic prosperity or lack thereof. Lest our wickedness see us vomited off the land on which we live.
I'm sure there is much subtle humour I miss in comedies like The Office, because I don't work in one. Even if I do get it, I perhaps don't feel the poignancy of it like others do, who work in that environment day after day after day.
Today saw the first installment of my Lunch Time Adventures. I ate my cheese and pickle sandwich with Chris Poston, who works for HP, and gives IT support to the Bank of Ireland which has a major office in the Plaza West building, just by the Oracle Shopping Centre, here in Reading.
If you work in education, credit crunch talk is for the most part an academic exercise (pardon the pun). We won't be losing our jobs here at school unless: 1) the birth rate drops significantly, or 2) the current recession gets really bad and when I say really bad, I mean Mugabe's Zimbabwe style. Nevertheless, talking to one of Chris' colleagues whilst filling my face with Duck and Hoisin flavour crisps, (I'm a sucker for a special edition flavour even with a Jesus sticker on my bank card! ;o) made me realise that credit crunch means a whole load of different things if you are working in mortgages. She said that she was dealing with around 5-6 reposession orders a week. When I asked her how many she would normally see, she replied about 5-6 every couple of years!!!
I am very grateful for friends like Chris. I'm also grateful for opportunities to get out of my own navel-gazing little world and enter other people's worlds for a change.
If anyone would like me to come and visit them at lunch time, I would welcome the invitation! Do get in touch.
Wednesday, 11 February 2009
Friday, 6 February 2009
It is a wonderful way of applying what it means to abide in Christ. Something that I talked about recently here.
Prayer is as natural as breathing for the Christian; as much a part of our lives as being awake.
This isn't about being super-spiritual vs. not so, it's simply about recognising that this is God's universe, not mine or ours and that I am not an independent self-sourced, self-dependent life form, but rather a created and totally dependent one.
Oh to live a life that is increasingly in sync with the Jesus the Creator and his creation.
Wednesday, 4 February 2009
Do I typify the person mocked in this song? (2:52) Do you?
Pride says no, a more honest assessment will concede a sheepish [cough] "maybe..." I don't think I would shrivel up and die without my mini-feed, but I'd have a tough time mastering my curiosity and feelings of being cut off from the world. I'm more of a sheep than I like to admit.
Press play and judge for yourself:
I do have to pinch myself at times and remind myself that 99% of the info that appears on there is totally inconsequential to my life! Either because I can find it out elsewhere or because it just isn't important that I know what you had for dinner or that you know that I have just finished the washing up! Was it Winston Churchill who said: Never has so much effort been put in by so few to bring the trivial, missable and generally inconsequential to the attention of so many?
With verses like 1 Corinthians 6:12 in my head, I might just have to give it up for lent if only to prove to my heart that I have my life priorities in the correct proportions!
Will I survive? Hmmm...
Tuesday, 3 February 2009
- The Crown of Righteousness - For those who love Jesus (relational)
- The Crown of Glory - For those who look after well those under their care (relational)
- The Crown of Rejoicing - For those who bring salvation to people (relational)
- The Crown of Life - For those who overcome in trials (relational in the sense that we continue to love those who persecute us, as well as relating to ourselves exerting godly control over our own passions)
Sunday, 1 February 2009
My church is embarking on a week of prayer and fasting this week.
My spirit, which is alive to God, loves these weeks. My body, which is alive to selfishness, hates them. I often feel like a split personality!
If you are new to the concept of fasting, here are some of the things that I have learnt (sometimes the hard way) in past fasts. In no particular order:
- In all this, take God seriously, but don't take yourself too seriously! That's for the religious bigots.
- Prayerfully decide for yourself how/when/for how long you will fast and then tell a trusted friend your intention. This is important to help you get through those moments when you are home alone and the cookie jar in the kitchen is full of delicious, mouthwatering delights.
- Use the time that you have gained from not preparing, eating and washing up a meal, (or whatever you have fasted from) not to catch up on all the little jobs that you have put off until now, but to pray.
- If you are intending to fast for an extended period of time, begin the fast with prunes and end it with prunes! This may sound offensive, but believe me, there is nothing worse than constipation due to your whole metabolism being on shutdown. I know from PAINFUL writhing experience! And I want to spare you the same. LOL
- Fasting is a great opportunity for witness, especially if you are like me and have a reputation for enjoying your food. So think ahead of time what you are going to say to a colleague at work who offers you a delicious, mouthwatering treat. Show them, in a loving way, that there is more to life than edible treats. Many is the time that I have eaten one just cos I was caught off guard and gripped by an irrational fear of being seen as a whacko if I said no thanks! Before I knew it, the treat was half way down my throat! (Note it is not the be all and end all if, like me you do cave in at these moments. Remember point 1 in this list and carry on.)
- Remember, how much we fast is not the issue, the issue is that God wants our hearts and our undivided loyalty and attention. I know no better way to do this than through fasting (and the prayer and meditation on the Bible that accompany it).
- Wear an extra layer or two especially in the winter months. With a lowered metabolism, you feel the cold more keenly!
- Memorise Psalm 103:14 and say it to yourself every time you get irritable because you feel all melodramatic and like you are going to die of hunger, then thank God for the stark humbling physical reminder that you aren't God, he is, that you are dependent and frail, but that he is eternal and almighty. Then also praise him that, through the cross of Jesus, he who is eternal and almighty cares for you like a father.
- Memorise John 4:34 and remember that life is about more than just servitude to your physical needs.
- You wouldn't put a bottle of wicked strength ale in front of recovering alcoholic. In the same way, if you are feeling vulnerable through hunger and the usual route home from work involves going past your favourite chippy/coffee shop/corner shop, then plan an alternative one that avoids enticing eateries!
- Finally, and most importantly, remember that the point of all true fasting is not self-discipline or proving how hard you are, but love. Love for God and love for people. Love for God and his purposes. Love for people: their salvation and their relief from suffering. Like the marshmallows video above, fasting is about deferred gratification, we fix our eyes on what is really real and deny ourselves a small pleasure now for the sake of greater pleasure later, especially in the age to come!