Sunday, December 23, 2007


I was listening today to the song, 'It's the most wonderful time of the year'. I love this Christmas song – it's one of my favourites just because it has such a feel good factor about it. However I am sitting in my flat, alone, and realising that for some, this is most definitely not the most wonderful time of the year. Christmas is in your face for the whole of December, you can't avoid it. It's celebrated on all the radio stations, on all the T.V shows, and every town centre. I guess those for whom Christmas is hard or lonely will be reminded of their loneliness everywhere they go. I have always tried to remember that some people will not be having a Christmas like mine. When we were younger and Mum and Dad were CO's we often spent much of Christmas day at the Army helping out with the Christmas lunch for those who had nowhere else to go. On other occasions we had some people come and join our family for Christmas dinner at our house. This was very long ago now, and I don't remember that much about it. I hope that I was gracious about this and didn't moan too much. I hope I could appreciate that there were people who needed to be loved and cared for on that day more than ever. I hope I understood how blessed I was and I hope I was happy to share that blessing with those less fortunate. I honestly don't know if I was any of that. What I do know is that it is a long time since I have had to make sacrifices like that on Christmas Day. I hope one day I will be gracious enough to go and look for opportunities to do that again.

I once read a book called 'Second Choice' by Viv Thomas. The book was written to try to help Christians to understand that even when the world they live in, and the circumstances they have to face, are not their first choice, there can be untold blessing in that world. Take for instance my childhood Christmas days. It may be that having strangers at my families Christmas dinner was not my first choice, but there is something so special about giving. When I look back at those times, I think about those people and wonder whether spending their Christmas with us actually helped them to enjoy the day more. (It's possible – my brothers were much younger then and not half so annoying!!!!) I really hope so. If it did then even now, the blessing of that second choice for me lives on in the knowledge that my very small sacrifice gave someone else some happiness.

I find this a massive challenge in the situation I find myself in today. I often feel like I am living in a second choice world. I guess many will not have to read to far between the lines to know what I mean by that. I won't spell it out! Sometimes in the midst of living in a state of 'second choice' it is so hard to think that it can be of any benefit to you. Sometimes it feels that all it brings is unhappiness and discontent. Sometimes we don't even want to think about the fact that it might be better for us, or even that something good might come out of it, because we desperately want our first choice. I am trying to learn that if I sit and wallow in the fact that I am not living my first choice, (woe is me!!!), then I won't even get any blessing out of the second choice world, and neither will anyone else. I am a bit of an 'all or nothing' girl and so I often fail to realise that 'nothing' is not better than 'something' even if that something is not 'everything'. If a glass isn't full, it might as well be empty, forget this half full / half empty nonsense! I want to embrace the place I find myself in, so that I am able to use that to be a blessing to others, and maybe even find some happiness for myself. But embracing something when you can't see beforehand what benefits it might bring, is hard. Embracing something you have always wanted to avoid is hard. Embracing something when you know it is going to hurt, and hurt badly, is hard.

This sounds really depressing, and it's nearly Christmas so I don't want to end it on a sad note, so I will also say that I can't wait for Christmas. I love it. I love going carol singing with the youth on Christmas Eve. I love the raucous singing, the laughter, the friendship. I love seeing people I love as we go from house to house. I love Christmas day and being with my family. I love going to church and remembering who and what this time of year is actually all about. I love celebrating that on the day itself. I am going to love seeing Lee and Tracey and baby Oliver on Boxing Day, and will love having my Nan to stay for a few days. I will enjoy spending New Years Eve with my wonderful church friends, and bringing in the New Year with the people I love the most - including God!

Happy Christmas everyone.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


I have Christmas decorations in my flat! Now it officially feels like Christmas. My family came round this afternoon to help me, and I have to say, it looks lovely sitting here in my lounge looking at my Christmas tree. In true 'Kirsty's flat' style, the tree has red and silver decorations on it, with red lights. My balcony has lights on it - one of the few in my block of flats that has, so if you are driving past, look out for the bluey coloured lights. Thats my flat! I have been somethat reserved with the rest as I am a minimalist when it comes to decor, so there is not a massive amount of 'stuff', but just enough to feel Christmassy.

Now I know that there are a lot of people that really don't like Christmas. I completely understand the annoyance with the commercialisation of the season, but I love it. I love the 'happy' atmosphere that seems to appear at Christmas. I love the willingness of people to let go and have fun for a while, to share gifts and be excited. Most of all, this year, I am really beginning to sense the hope that this season brings. This was exemplified by hearing Rhydian singing Oh Holy Night on the X factor, becasue I really noticed the words:

O holy night! The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Saviors birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till He appeared and the soul felt it's worth

A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn

Fall on your knees!
Oh hear the angel voices
O night divine,
O night - when Christ was born
O night divine,
O night - when Christ was born

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand
So, led by light of a star sweetly gleaming
Here came the wise men from the Orient land

The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger
In all our trials born to be our friend

He knows our need,
to our weakness no stranger
Behold your King, before Him lowly bend
Behold your King, your King, before Him lowly bend

Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His Gospel is Peace
Chains shall He break for the slave Is our brother
And in his name all oppression shall cease

Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we.
Let all within us praise His holy Name

Christ is the Lord, then ever, ever praise we
His power and glory evermore proclaim
His power and glory evermore proclaim

I could probably write a blog post for each line of this song, but I just want to highligt one that caught my attention today. 'Till he apeared, and the soul felt its worth'. This line contains so much depth. And what's more its still true today. Souls are still finding their worth today, as they discover Jesus. They are finding their worth, not in themselves, but in the love of God - who chose to give up His glory for a time to let us know that we are worth something to Him. That He wants us to be with Him for eternity, and that He is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to allow us to be there. That is the worth of each soul that Jesus appears to today. That is the worth of my soul. And your soul. I don't want to be a cynical, grumpy person this Christmas. I want to sing those words and feel their meaning within my own heart and soul.

Thank you God for thinking we are worth something to you. Thank you for giving yourself up for us, for walking on this earth with us, and for showing us how to live. Thanks for loving us, and for your incredible gift of eternity with you.

Behold your King!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Performance or Worship - part 2.

I said there might be another. Apologises if I cover the same ground again. For the context see, Performance or Worship - Part 1. Again, where I say 'worship', please read sung worship. I know it is much more than that...I am just focussing on a specific here.

So today someone made a comment that made me think. She said 'Our worship should be fit for a King'. Now of course, this is absolutely true. We are worshipping a King so we should never be satisfied with worshipping that King in a mediocre fashion. However, I don't believe that anything we can offer will ever be fit for our King. He is too great, too holy, too incredible for us to ever be worthy of being in his presence, or even daring to think we can offer anything to him that is worthy. But, that does not mean we shouldn't offer Him the best that we have. God knows us, He knows that we are fallen and broken, and when humbly coming to Him and offering up ourselves, offering Him praise and honour and love, from an honest heart that is truly grateful for what He has done for us and truly in love with Him, I believe He gracefully accepts it.

However, sometimes when we are trying to engage in worship, things can go wrong. We can be in the middle of worshipping and the power point fails so nobody has the words. We can try to listen to a cd, and a broken lead means that the cd is distorted, we can prepare and prepare to try to create an atmosphere which enables people to tune into God, but 'things' can so easily spoil that. I have mixed feelings about when this happens. To be honest, there have been times where I have felt that when things go wrong like that, it has actually heightened my experience of worship - why - because it breaks the routine it is easy to fall into of singing without thinking, of tuning out when someone is praying or reading the Bible or giving a sermon - (not that I ever would Richard and Ann!) I think sometimes when everything goes as planned, it is easy to lose something of the authenticity of our worship.

To be honest, the last couple of weeks, things have gone wrong with the technology we use in worship, and there are times when this has frustrated me, where I have wanted to fully engage with God, and have been hindered from doing so by 'stuff'. But - there has been something about the last two weeks in our church that I have really loved. I can't quite put my finger on it, but there has been a bit of a buzz. Am I the only one? I wonder if sometimes sharing in the annoying little things that happen together, being able to laugh about them, and being able to get past them actually brings us closer together, and reminds us of our position before God. We aren't shining stars able to give God the performance of a lifetime, we are human beings who get stuff wrong, make mistakes, sing out of tune, and get our words muddled up. But that is how God accepts us and loves us. I completely believe we should always try to offer him our best, but we should also be humble enough to recognise that when stuff goes wrong, we can still recognise God for who he is and tell Him that.

If the devil has any part in the little frustrating things that have been happening in our church during worship, then I pray Him out, but I also pray that He will be humiliated by our willingness to worship God humbly and joyfully even when things are going wrong.

I would like to clarify that I don't believe that mediocre worship is something we should be trying to attain. We should always give God our best - but when our best efforts are thwarted by things out of our control, I think we should try to use them to remember who we are, and who God is, and why we are there in the first place.

I so desperately want our church to be a vibrant place, filled with the Spirit, evangelising and seeing people accepting Jesus as their Saviour. I want to see people finding their place in ministry at this church, discovering gifts and using them to build God's kingdom. I so want to see people so filled with the spirit that they are moved to worship God extravegantly. I want people in church to feel that they belong and that there is a community of people who love them. I want people to be constantly journeying into deeper relationship with God, finding out more about Him, and more about how to live by His word in this world, and through that becomming ever closer and ever more in love with Him. I want to see the children praising God, and saying their prayers, I want to see the youth questionning what it means to be a Christian in this world, and discovering that their faith can be real and active and can make a difference. And I want to see them discovering that God can offer them so much more than this world can. Mostly, I want to see the church praying, crying out to God to let all of the above things be seen in the Salvation Army at Romford. I want to see His people on their knees accepting that we can do nothing without the power of prayer and the fire of the Holy Spirit. I want to see us crying out for that Spirit to come in power in His Church.

Sometimes it seems like we are a far cry from being that kind of church, and yet I believe there is potential. I think there might be something in learning humility that can show us that whilst our worship will never be perfect, it can still be God honouring. I don't want these little annoyances to get in the way of us recognising and praising God for who He is. I just wish I could stop getting distracted by them. I wonder if this is about choice. Do you think we can choose to let them get in the way - or not to?

Monday, December 03, 2007

Selective Hearing?

Ok, its been a while, but I have got myself all confused again and need to blog the thoughts swirling around my mind! Mainly because I really can't get myself to sleep. Most people who read this will know that I have a big 'thing' about prayer at the moment. In any conversation about God or Church etc, I always seem to end up talking (or rather whining!) about the need for prayer. Sometimes I feel a bit like a fraud when I do this. I always think that people with a passion for prayer must be such good pray-ers, but I am not. I struggle to make time for personal prayer, I get distracted, I lose focus on God, I talk loads and forget to listen (or rather don't really know how to listen!) and so on.

Its this whole listening thing that is bothering me today. When we make a request of God, we are told we should be prepared for Him to answer. Apparently He always does answer, but not necessarily by granting the original request. The problem is how do you interpret the answer? There have been a number of times that I have requested something from God, when the opposite thing has happened. On many of these occasions, I have chosen to interpret this as meaning I have to be more persistent. On other occasions I have decided that maybe I was asking for the wrong thing. The question is, how do we know which it is?

Also, another issue is what about when you get inconsistent answers? Say you asked for confirmation about something you had decided to do. Then say that during that day 2 things happen which could both be considered to be answers to that prayer. One of which is a confirmation, one of which is the opposite. How do you decide which one to listen to?

I guess I am worried that I might have been guilty of selective listening. Choosing to listen and act upon only those answers that fit with the things I think or feel. But now, when faced with a need for an interpretation of a situation, I don't know what to do. Do I stop praying for it and rather try to change my own thinking and feelings about it? Do I keep being persistent? If I am persistent, does that mean that I am going to waste my life chasing an answer I am never going to get? Does it mean I am doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result (which according to Albert Einstein would make me insane!)

I guess from re-reading the paragraph I have written the most sensible thing is to try to change my thinking and feelings - but how on earth do you do that? Plus, what about when you get those inconsistencies. One situation encourages you to keep praying and another suggests you are praying for the wrong thing. What do you do then?

I guess Romford Salvation Army has been struggling for a while now to try to start 'doing something' relating to evangelism. We keep being reminded that we already are doing things as a corps - a lot of which us weekday workers don't see happening, and yet there still seems to be this undercurrent of discontent, of a need for more, for something different. I do believe this discontent comes from God, and that we are beginning to address it in the right way, and as I keep saying I think we need to seriously commit this to God in prayer continuously, asking for Him to lead. My problem is, until I can figure out how to interpret the voice of God, what is the point in praying about it and asking for guidance. I don't want to ask for guidance that I or the corps then ignores because we had 'selective hearing', I want to be persistent, but don't know when I am doing so wrongly, and I certainly don't want to do that. I guess what I am saying is HELP!

Maybe I need to pray for discernment?

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Day 5

Day 5 consisted of a bit more Christmas shopping, which means I am now nearly finished I now have 4 small gifts left to get (and maybe a couple of extras). That is a good feeling. I even got wrapping paper and ribbon! How organised am I?!?!

In the afternoon I went through my finances trying to work out why I have been struggling for the last two months. After all my essentials and a small budget for clothes and extras like eating out and coffee shops etc, I should have £40 left each month. I then realised I hadn't accounted for holidays or presents in that, and things like roots end up being very expensive. So the fact that I have been running out of money is probably quite simply because I can't afford my lifestyle! How rubbish is that?!?!

I think I am going to have to start eating out and going to coffee shops and buying clothes less! I might need to try to work out a budget soon. I might also need to ask for a pay rise!!! :-) (one can but hope!)

All this actually made me think. Its easy to moan about the materialism we find in the world. Its easy to get frustrated with how commercialised Christmas has become, and yet I find myself in the thick of it all. The Bible says you cannot serve two masters, and yet because we need it for everything, money is such a massive part of life and its really hard to not get caught up in worrying about it or wanting more of it. How do we learn to not end up serving money? I try to live sacrificially and generously, and so far I have always had enough and it has never got to the point where it has become a real problem. Is that because I have chosen not to worry about it, or is my lack of worry really lazy and irresponsible?

Hmm. Big questions!

Lastly, I drove down to Southampton to visit my brother and he cooked very delicious lasagne for me! Yum. And I had a Q burger! (See maybe this is why I run out of money!) But it was yummy!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Day 4

Had another crazy day with Mum and her sisters. Found some bargains in Primark, and therefore spent money I don't have.

In the afternoon Uncle Mel came down with the triplets. Until today, I never realised that a two year old was capable of putting a DVD on. Literally, every little step required - they did with no help. Even finding the right AV channel! Scary!

I seemed to make a friend today too. My little cosuin Ryan decided I would be fun to play with (?!?! - he has a lot to learn!) It actually freaked me out a bit! Here is a child asking me for my attention! What do I do?!?! I got through it in one piece - just!

Watched the film Deja Vu tonight with Mum and Dad. Oh my word, that was one frustrating film. I am now trying to stop myself writing a letter to the writers demading an expanation as to why they left so many loose ends, unanswered questions, and obvious discrepencies and inaccuracies in a film. Other than that it was quite good! (I am kidding by the way - I wouldn't really write a letter!)

I have got about a third of my Christmas (and birthday - grr Dad and Tracey!) shopping done now, and I have ideas for most of the others. Hopefully tomorrow I should get a lot of the rest of it done.

I can't believe that tomorrow is the last day of my holiday. I didn't imagine I would be saying this but I could have managed a few more!!!!

Day 3

I got up at 9:00 am (an hour after I planned to!) and drove to Southend to spend the day with my mum and my aunties and two of my cosuins. Every year before Christmas my mum and her sisters (there are 5 sisters) get together for a few days to do all their Christmas shopping, and a lot of their wrapping up and so on. My Uncle Mel usually meets them for a day too. Its a brilliant idea, and they always have a great time. They don't all get to be with each other that often as everyone lives so far apart, so they make the most of it. Sometimes, if any of us are free, some of the cousins join in too.

If anyone has ever been in the proximity of these sisters when there are at least two present, you will understand the mayhem that ensues when they are all together for the first time in a year. They are mad as hatters, and yet so much fun to be with.

Its surprising how much fun a 25 year old can have when spending the day with a mum and 4 crazy aunties, wandering around shops such as QD, Wilkinsons and Bon Marche! What scared me even more was that I actually liked some of the stuff I saw in Bon Marche!!!!! Help? Am I getting old? Maybe I was spending too much time with my aunties!

This evening I spent with three friends who I love to pieces, and its been ages since the four of us spent time together so that was truly wonderful.

This holiday is turning out to be actually fun! Who ever would have thought?!?!?!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Day 2

At 9:30am I went to the hairdressers. I was uneasy as I was trying a new hairdresser for the first time in 6 years. I emerged three and a half hours later with a haircut exactly how I had asked for it. I was going to add a picture of the end result, but I have no camera (and besides cameras are one of the biggest evils in the world after carrots and spiders), so if you want to see it you will have to make sure I get to see you sometime soon!!!!

Not sure yet whether I really like it. It wasn't helped today by the stupid rain. (Who invented rain? What do we need it for anyway?!!!) and until I have attempted to do it myself I am still unsure of how it is going to actually look. However - anything is better than the, 'I haven't had it cut in six and a half months and I have tons of split ends and it is so long I will always end up putting it in a ponytail rather than making an effort with it' look! So it will do!

I had some friends come round in the afternoon for a chat, and then spent the evening with a bunch of people from my church talking about Hope 08, and ideas for mission in Romford, with a particular (but not sole) view towards what we will start to put into place when we move into our new building, and how can we work together with the other churches in the area in meeting the spiritual needs in Romford. I also got my two pennies worth in about prayer!

A bitty, but very productive day.

Day 1

Ok, its the end of day 1 of the official holiday, and so far it has been FABULOUS! Dublin is great. I wish I could live there. Those beautifl Southern Irish accents get me every time!!! Dom, Twig and I had great fun, and I had a bit of a giggling fit on the plane, (AT Dom), which was made even worse by my embarrasment when some man was watching me laughing so hard that I was crying - and lauging at me!

I am absolutely shattered, but looking forward to day 2.

(Incidently, I also had a rather wonderful weekend visiting Sarah in Wetherby, and although it is not part of my official holiday week - it was certainly worth mentioning.)

Friday, November 23, 2007


1 more day to go till the dreaded, (and yet so desperately needed) holiday. What shall I do?...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I want to be googled!

I am meant to be praying. Instead, I am trying to find my blog on google. Its Liz and Glyn's fault! I was reading through blogs and Glyn has a Mitchie award on the side of his blog for his post on Andi Peter's. (Its been there for ages, but I re-noticed it today!) This concept made me laugh, so I decided to re-read through that post - (anyone would think I had a lot of time on my hands. Like I say, I am meant to be praying - Facebook fasting doesn't appear to be having its desired effect!!!). Anyway, I couldn't find it on his blog so I tried googling it, and found it straight away. This really impressed me and reminded me of Liz's blog, where she said she accidently found her blog on google. It made me want to find my blog on google. I have been trying for ages - but to no avail! I decided to try some other bloggers.

I got upset at this point that mine was the only one I had tried that I hadn't been able to find, so I stopped to write this and vent my frustrations!

What is the secret? More adventurous titles? More blog readers?

Ok, competition time - if anyone can find my blog on google, they will get a prize! (without searching for the actual blog address of course - that would be cheating.)

Actually going to pray now! Not about googling my blog! (More likely about not feeling the need to google my blog!!!!!!!)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

My humble prayer

Today I have sat here at my computer for ages, knowing that I had something to blog, but not being able to get it out. I don't struggle with writing down my thoughts very often, but today, I really did. Perhaps it is because I have become very aware of a problem in my life recently, and I was trying to define it, and describe it and work it out so that I could do something about it, without doing the obvious thing and taking it to God.

I ended up re-reading the prayer of freedom I blogged about ages ago, and trying to pray it. As soon as I opened up to God - the words just flowed - in the form of a prayer rather than a blog. Definitely the best way round!. Now, having already prayed this prayer and having meant it from the bottom of my heart, I wanted to share it with all who are interested. Perhaps you can keep me accountable to it. I am learning lessons about the true meaning of humility, and right now, I desire it with all my heart. I pray that the desire will remain strong.

Lord, at work where there is potential to receive admiration
Help me to see only you

Lord, when I'm tempted to try to earn love from my friends
Help me to see only you

Lord when I find myself seeking attention
Help me to see only you

Lord when my eyes stray and start seeking success and achievement
Help me to see only you

Lord when I am desperate for someone to tell me I'm doing ok
Hankering after feedback
Seeking approval
Help me to see only You

Lord I am often tempted to use the worlds standards to measure myself. When those temptations come my way, please remind me that I have no need to measure myself. That all I need to do is see you, rest in you and wait upon you, and that as I do so, your Spirit will gently mould me into the person you created me to be.

Lord I am often frustrated that I don't understand what is going on in the world; that I am not sure what you are doing - what you are waiting for. Lord my frustrations stem from a desire to be let in on your 'secret plans' for this world. What are you up to? Where are you going to take us; where are we headed; what are the aims and objectives I am meant to be working towards, and how will I know if I am achieving them? Lord when those frustrations start overwhelming me as they often do - please humble me, and remind me of my position at the foot of your cross. Please remind me that it is my pride talking. My pride telling me that I can be part of achieving something big for you; my pride telling me I should be part of some great big adventure; my pride that wants to be rushing on ahead and getting to the action before you have even declared a battle. Please Lord help me to rest in your control; to believe that you are, and will be involved in this world; to trust in your timings and to wait for your call. Take away my blindness; my 'I'ness; and help me to see only you.

Lord, someone once told me I look at the world through God tinted spectacles. Lord make that a reality - help me to live like that. Truly seeing everything according to your perspective, looking up and seeing you in any and every situation. Help me to see only you Lord. Only you.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Sex Shop News!

For those of you who live in Romford, (and those who are interested that don't!) I thought you might be interested to know that I received the Autumn edition of the Romford Town Newsletter today. (Does anyone else get that? Are you jealous?) Anyway - I was pleased to read in it the following statement:

"A number of residents have approached Cllr. Wendy Brice-Thompson to voice their concerns over the apparent opening of a sex shop of this site. (Former Littlewoods store in Romford Liberty Centre).

As we understand it, the company who own the leasehold for the former Littlewoods store, GHP Group Ltd, do not have a lisence for this type of use, nor have they applied for one. The matter is currenty the subject of on-going court proceedings between Cosgrave who own the Liberty and GHP. Both properties are privately owned and at this stage the council has no involvement. In the meantime, we will be investigating the advertising boards which have appeared on pillars in Swan Walk, which may be subject to advertising consent.

The council and its partners have worked very hard to create a quality shopping environment in Romford and will continue to do so."

I am about to write to the Councellor to ask if there is any way of getting updates on this issue regularly. It seems a bit crazy that there is such heavy advertising for it when they have not even applied for a license. It seems that residents have a certain amount of power over what happens in Romford - particularly when the council are involved. I recently had a letter explaining that they want to open an ALDI and that a liqueor license has been requested. We were able to attend some meeting and make any comments we had about that so I certainly hope the same would be true of opening a sex shop in Romford. If so, I intend to use the opportunity to make as much fuss about it as I can!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Is someone trying to tell me something?

I went away this week with my team at work on a 'communications workshop' away day. Well it was actually a day and a half. I wasn't really sure what to expect, I have so much work to do at the moment, and it was in Chesham - right over the other side of London. So all in all, I wasn't really looking forward to it. However, it well exceeded my expectations. It was so nice to be able to socialise with some of my work colleagues outside of a work context. I wish we did it more. We had a lot of fun, and I lauged a lot.

One of the things that really stunned me was how similar the 'communications workshop' stuff was to a course I took with my church a while ago called Lab 1. Lab 1 was specifically about learning techniques for listening and understanding people, particularly from a Christian context. Since doing the course I have very rarely used any of the techniques I learned, in spite of the fact that I believe that they are very powerful.

I can't think of any way of describing the next bit without being really personal so here goes. For a long time, (a long long long time) I have been very disatisfied with who I am. I have never had the best self esteem, but recently this has escalated to a point that I need to do something about it. Instead of getting overwhelmed by all my weaknesses to the point where it disables me from doing anything about it, I have decided that, at 25 years of age, I am not expected to be perfect. So I will present myself to God, as I am, and ask Him to show me areas of my life that I need to work on, bit by bit. One of the things about my personality that really gets me is the amount I struggle with connecting with people. Knowing how to converse with people, how to have, and show compassion to the hurting. I want people to feel like they can talk to me about stuff and that I will really listen. I want to know what to say to them, and how to make them feel like they have a friend. (Listen to me - "I want, I want , I want!!")

Yesterday I was listening to these people telling us about skills in listening and I was thinking, "I have heard this before, I know this stuff!" so why am I still struggling so much with this issue? Additionally, I mentioned to my boss that I have been on a listening and communication skills course before with my church, and he gave me a look and started to say, "Have you?...then why..." He didn't need to finish! The point had been made. I realised then that I had never put into practice what I had learned, and I had never even considered the possibility of using those skills at work. I was taught within a Christian context, so I only ever thought about using them in the same context...but they are very transferable skills. I should use them. Who knows...myabe if I did I might have had an awful lot more conversations about my faith and deep conversations with my colleagues about their lives - not just the bits that I see every day at work, but the really personal stuff that I would share if I was a real friend.

I really think God had a lot to do with the material we were taught these last two days. I suddenly feel a sense of hope and possibility about my working relationships. I am now going to re-read all my lab 1 stuff, and start trying to use it at work. I will pray that God will honour my efforts and change me to be usable for His kingdom...even at work.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


I have noticed that I find myself constantly challenged in my Christian faith. Whether it is through a sermon, through a song, a conversation, reading scripture, through the inspiration of other people living out their Christian lives, (I could go on). The point is, I feel challenged most of the time. Today's challenge came through a sermon. The theme of the meeting was 'Be strong'. We explored what it means to be strong, and the point was that when we are purposeful about living in community and enjoying the fellowship of the believers, about worshipping, about our ministry and our mission and about really becoming disciples we will discover how strong we actually are.

The point that really hit me was that none of this can happen unless we are purposefully and continuously putting God at the centre of all we do and all we try to be. I have heard of the 'ichurch' concept before, but the description of it that we heard today really challenged me. I found an atricle online that describes this type of church:

“Have we become so co-opted by our consumer oriented age, that we treat our church like a place we shop? Have we come to a place where we want church to be like our iPods—a place of personalized choices. Do we come and consume until we find something better down the street to meet our needs?
Sometimes I feel like our church is just one more brand out there. And I wonder if we have moved from a Christianity that was about relinquishing our desires, submitting to a community, learning to accept the blemishes and love those God has called us to love—to a Christianity that is all about meeting my needs, providing choices, and leaving if change does not happen on my timeline."

I touched on this concept in a previous blog of mine: consumerism. If you have time, it might be worth a flick through as it adds to my thoughts today! I think there is little doubt that we have let church become altogether 'me' focussed. Are we so concerned about making sure that it is a place where we can go and find enjoyment, or friendship, or see things being done the way we want them to that we forget who we are there for in the first place? Are we so desperate to try to make church fit our own needs that when it fails to do that quickly enough we are prepared to walk out on it?

It sounds harsh, but the truth is that the Bible doesn't suggest that Christianity is all about getting what we want from it. Rather, it talks about denying ourselves, taking up our cross, that the man who loses his life for the sake of Christ and the gospel will gain it for eternity. In the words of Paul; "But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ...I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ." I don't think that Paul would have chosen imprisonment, or Stephen would have chosen to be stoned to death, but they accepted these things humbly for the sake of Christ and the building of His Kingdom.

Now I am not for a minute suggesting that we should just endure all the things we don't like about church, in fact I think we should be seeking what God wants for His church, (which may I just say is absolutely 100% dependent on prayer), but I do think we need to be careful about making sure we are just not trying to make ourselves feel better about being here.

Why was I challenged? because I realised how guilty I am of that. Sometimes I get frustrated by the slowness of change, by the seeming apathy in the Church about saving souls for the Kingdom of God, and the apathy about making a positive impact on our communities. And even if the problem isn't apathy, it still doesn't seem to be leading to much action...yet! A few times I have felt so frustrated that I have even wondered whether God has finished with the Salvation Army. I have wondered whether it is worth me putting any effort into because I just can't be bothered with trying to work for the Kingdom in a movement which is so resistant to the things that I think need to change.

That makes me just as bad as the people who resist the change because they don't think they will like it, or it is outside their comfort zones. Perhaps I have been trying to create an 'ichurch' and that is why my frustrations eat me up inside. Perhaps, however good my intentions, I need to stop thinking I know it all, and give it back to God, and let Him change us in His own time, in His own way. Perhaps I need to stop thinking about me and where I might fit into it all, and start focussing on what 'it' is all about...simply, God. How dare I think I have the right to up and leave or rather in my case, not give my life to it, when it is not suiting me or fitting in with my needs and my desires. Its utterly selfish and I need to repent of it.

But then the problem is, 'where does my responsibility to voice my opinion start, and when does it become 'ichurch'?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Guilt - is it ever right?

I was having a conversation with someone the other day, and I happened to mention that I felt guilty about something I had done, (or rather hadn't done to be precise!). Immesdiately, the person I was talking to grabbed my hand and said, 'no'. She went on to explain that she didn't beileve that God ever wanted us to feel guilty. I have never really thought much about this before. To be honest, guilt forms a massive part of my every day life so I am used to feeling it, but suddenly, I was faced with a challenge about where those feelings were coming from.

My feelings of gult mainly stem from my frustration at myself for not being the person I want to be, for feeling passionately that things need to be done but never doing anything about it except getting on my soapbox. For this reason, I always considered that this sense of guilt was acceptable, because God wants me to do those things, and be that person.

However, I am now uncertain. I think there is a distinction between a sense of guilt, and a sense of responsibility, but that these often get mixed up. If that is true, then perhaps it is responsibility I should be feeling and not guilt. The person concerned went on to describe how Jesus always convicted people, but never condemned. That Jesus shows us our weaknesses and our sins but in a loving way that encourages rather than tears down. All this seems fair and reasonable. (For God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:17)

And yet I look at some Biblical examples: Annanias and Saphira who died instantly because they had lied about how much they were giving; God sometimes called people's worship and sacrificial offerings detestable to him because of the state of their hearts; and most significantly, "To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked... Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent... To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne... Revelation 3:14-21 (selection)

I worry sometimes that we focus so much on the 'nicey nicey' stuff of God that we forget that He is also a judge. A judge who has every right to 'spit us out of his mouth' because we are lukewarm, and tells the church in Laodicea that He actually will. If we sin, but don't feel guilt, will we ever fully understand grace? Surely guilt is a natural response to sin?

BUT the person I was speaking to is one of the wisest people I know! So I am it ever right to feel guilty as a Christian?

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Vision and Revival

Ok, so, this weekend I attended the main event, THE MAIN EVENT! (A kind of Salvation Army conference type thing!) I have been truly inspired. So much so that I am going to have to write numerous blogs to cover all of the topics that stuck out to me. I think I will start with tonight.

Comissioner Linda Bond is a truly inspirational woman. A woman with a heart after God's own heart and an incredible capacity for believing in the promises and purposes of God. Tonight, she opened our eyes to the purposes, the mission and the calling of The Salvation Army, reminding us of why we exist and who we exist for. I am being completely honest when I say that she spoke my heart in her preaching.

Most who read this will know that I have been struggling so much lately with the unshakable feeling that we are just 'plodding along' as an Army (and generally as a Christian body of people in the west), that for whatever reason, we seem to be making limited impact on a desperate world. More on this in another post, but tonight Linda spoke about the longing we have for 'another pentecost'. The longing William Booth had that I am sure we share today. The desire to become just like the Acts 2 church - dedicated and purposeful, and seeing the daily addition to their number of those who were being saved. That is my passion, my desire, my longing. It was almost a relief for me, like a breath of fresh air, to hear someone preaching prophetically and so powerfully about the very things that trouble my heart and mind. To hear someone else putting those thoughts and, yes, even emotions into words. And not just words, but words of hope, that suggest a future for the Salvation Army. Words that suggest that revival is possible, no not just possible, but probable. To hear someone so faithfully hoping and belieiving in that possiblity is such an encouragement.

The 2020 vision statement of the UK territory of the Salvation Army is:

We will be a Spirit-filled, radical, growing movement with a burning desire to lead people into a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, to actively serve the community and to fight for social justice.

That is the vision of the Salvation Army. Is it the vision of Salvationists? The vision is incredible, mind blowing, and exciting. I want to be part of that movement. I want to be one of those people seeing that vision turn into reality. I want to see people being led into a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ on a regular basis. I want to see, and be a part of, the Salvation Army getting stuck in with its community, serving and reaching out and showing them 'God in Flesh', (more on that later!). I want to fight for social justice and see the lives of the poor and broken-hearted transformed by the saving love of Jesus Christ. But, I need to believe that God can do this, and most importantly, will do this. Commissioner Linda Bond was so passionate in her belief that the Salvation Army will see revival. If God is to ever turn any of my passion or longings or hopes into reaility, I have to believe in His desire to do that too. I have to believe that God will revive His people, revive His Church, and with His spirit working through us, to save the souls of the lost and wandering. personal vision statement can only be...

I will be a Spirit-filled, radical, growing Christian with a burning desire to lead people into a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, to actively serve the community and to fight for social justice.

And my prayer can only be:

Father God, please annoint the Salvation Army to live out this vision. Please pour out your Holy Spirit on us as a Salvation Army and fill us with the passion and determination of Paul and other apostles from the early church. Father God, please send revival to the Salvation Army. And Father God, please annoint me, as a member of this movement, to be part of that vision becoming a reality. Please pour out your Holy Spirit on me and fill me with the passion and determination of Paul and other apostles from the early church. Father God, please send revival to me.

After all...I am a Salvationist am I not?

Monday, October 01, 2007

Blog List


Most improved = Jude (went from last to 7th!) Congraulations Jude.

In case you are wondering, I have slightly altered my method. When I get two or more people who have blogged the same number of times, I now base it on the most recently updated. Its more scientific that way!

Friday, September 28, 2007

How amazing is the Bible?!

I just love the Bible. I love it. I take it for granted so often, but it is an incredible privalage that we have such easy access to the Word of God. A few things sparked these thoughts. I had a conversation with someone at work today who was telling me that their Dad used to smuggle Bible's into communist countries, and how high the demand for a Bible was out there simply because it was such a rare commodity. And yet here I am, able to be very choosy about which version I would like and the colour of the cover, (clearly pink is the way foward!)

I had a pretty rough day today. Nothing major but just came home feeling pretty pants and really moody. I saw my poem book lying on my bedside table and decided that writing a poem might help, (it usually does), so I opened the book to write. But the book happened to fall open on a Psalm that I had paraphrased according to my situation at the time. Reading it through I realised how much a lot of that stuff still stood. I remember the time when I wrote it, I had texted someone about it who had responded with a reference to another Psalm, Psalm 40. So today I decided to read that one too. And it said everything. It described my heart - put my feelings into words which I then prayed out.

Having had that really special moment, I felt that I would like to blog about it, but before I did I checked other people's blogs, and came accross Ann's blog which talks about word's and how powerful they can be. I totally agree, I certainly experienced that today. And then I read Dawn's blog which is simply Bible verses! So today's blogs seem to have a very definite theme!

The point of this blog? Just to say how much I love the Bible, and how incredible the Psalms are!

Monday, September 24, 2007


So Romford Salvation Army Corps is praying - round the clock from 7pm Sunday night to about 9-10pm Tuesday night. I love prayer rooms. I don't know what it is about them but there is definitely something very tangibly special about them. You don't need a prayer room to pray, and I also don't believe that God is necessarily 'closer to you' in a prayer room, but there is definitely something incredible about them. Maybe it is the simple fact of purposefully going somewhere particular to pray - to spend time with God. Whatever it is, its special. I am reminded of the words that were used to open the prayer room at Romford for 24-7 about five years ago, and they are still so true today:

"As I walked through the door, I sensed His presence,
And I knew this was the place where love abounds,
For this is a temple, The God we love abides here.
We are standing in His presence on Holy ground."

I hope everyone who shares in prayer in that room this week expereinces that powerful presence.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


I have been challenged a few times during the last week. Challenge 1. Write a meaningful blog in no more than 9 lines – here goes! Challenge 2. Stop turning every simple statement into some sort of philosophy for life. The second one blew me away a bit. I hadn’t realised how much I do that unnecessarily. This morning I came to the realisation that in all my frustration and confusion about the meaning of life etc, God is in control. If God wants me here, for whatever reason, then I should get on with the business of living. If we are in a season of maintenance rather than mission in the West, then that is the context I am asked to live in, so I should do just that. I may want to be part of some great big mission, but if God has other ideas, then so be it.God is in control, and rightly so. Erm, it may be small writing, but I do believe this is 9 lines long! Hoorah!

Friday, September 14, 2007


A little while ago I blogged about being in a very ecclesiastical mood, in the sense that I could thoroughly identify with the thoughts of Solomon in his frustrations at the meaningless of life. It was the one where I used the words of a Martina McBride song to describe my frustration at the seeming purposelessness of life. I seem to be back there. In an attempt to not repeat myself and go round in circles, I -read the blogpost and all the comments I received.

It was interesting how reading that blog, I found myself sitting up in my seat hanging onto my every word – why?, because I can echo those exact same questions today. I don’t appear to have learnt anything since then. Then I re-read the comments and noticed how helpful and insightful they were. So thanks for sending them. I realised though that I really wanted to expand on the thoughts that they produced in my mind, so if you will forgive me for reopening the discussion, I would appreciate any further help you could give.

You can re-read the whole blogpost here, but I wanted to repeat just the main paragraph that I echo today:

I told someone last week that I was in a very Ecclesiastical mood, in the sense that I am with Solomon in his frustration at the meaninglessness of life. We could build, dream, pray, believe, love and sing, and enjoy doing those things, but what does it actually achieve? Do we feel better? Maybe, yes. Although not always because the crush of disappointment can hurt like crazy, but maybe for a while, the positivity and hope represented by these lyrics can make us feel better. Someone once said to me, 'I don't know why we are here on this earth, but we are here, so we might as well enjoy it.' Is that it? Is our whole purpose in life just to make ourselves feel better about being here? To try to find some smidgen of enjoyment in an otherwise rubbish life? Is there something more? Does hoping, building, praying, believing, loving or singing change anything? Do we do these things to mask the rubishness of life, or are they worthwhile in themselves. Are they things we should do because they change the world or because they make us feel better?

I would like to add to this. In one of my comments I said, “I think my issues must stem from the fact that I am a very task-oriented person, and to exist just because we do, rather than to achieve some task, sits very very very uncomfortably with me. I don't know why. Perhaps its too much self-importance.” This is most definitely my problem.

I have recently started reading the book ‘Meltdown’ by Marcus Honeysett, and even the introduction sent my mind spiralling away on a course of its own. The book is about postmodernism and how to live in and react to a culture where anything goes. The introduction just described the basics of post-modern thinking, and I have to say it made me very sad, and very frustrated, and made me feel very small. What can I do? What can I offer to a world that accepts everything but believes nothing? To be honest it made me feel a bit worthless. One part of me so wants to do ‘something’ for God – to try to do my part in building His Kingdom but I can’t help but feel the pointlessness of it. It hit me that my feelings of not being able to make a difference were actually based on truth. Of course I can’t change the world – only God can – by myself I can do nothing. And I believe that, agree with that and live by that.

However, I can’t help but feel that God might be just letting this one ‘play out’ for a while. You know how in the Old Testament, God often let the Israelites do their own thing for a while until He either sent a prophet to tell them to change, or got angry with them, or brought them back to Himself. I can’t help but feel that Western society might be in that place right now – being allowed to do our own thing until eventually God is going to do something.

Do you think that is true? Is that what God is doing? If it is He has every right, and it does fit in with the way in which He has worked in the past. I certainly have been feeling a lot over the last year or so that the Church (not our specific one, but the Church in the West as a whole) seems to be just trying to hold on. Trying to maintain itself – trying to keep the Christian faith alive until God steps in again. (Not the church’s fault – just the way it is for the time being).

On one hand it kind of makes me excited about looking to the future to when He might intervene and how and when He might do that, but on the other, it makes me feel a little frustrated that I ended up living in these times. I don’t want any part of trying to just ‘hold on’. I don’t want to be straining and striving to just keep it going. I want to be part of something bigger – to be seeing the outworking of that, to be part of the ‘thing’ that God is going to do. I guess those feelings come from my own pride, but I can’t help it, its how I feel. And yet I know that if this is where we are – if this is God’s plan for the here and now, then I have to step up and be ready to face that challenge, however disheartening it can be.

Becca’s comment from the blog I wrote said, “Jurgen Moltman… said it isn't about looking at divine history or purpose- it's about looking at your life. The world can't end, can't reach its ultimate destiny until you have been here. Not because you are destined to do anything special, not because you personally are gonna save the world, but because God wanted you and it cant fulfill its destiny without you. The why has already been answered- you do it because you are alive, and you want to be happy. Why do you feel bad about being here in the first place? You shouldn't. God did the why and the how and the where just so you could exist. Sometimes pointless stuff is just about revelling in God.”

I am sorry but I can’t live with the knowledge that I exist ‘just because’ and for no other reason. Maybe I am trying to make myself feel more significant than I am, but if that is the case, I don’t want any part of this world. I know I am not going to personally save the world, but with God using the church surely we can? – isn’t that the whole point? If its not what is it? Are we just here as some part of fun game?

Richard’s comment on the blog said:

Some Purpose Driven answers...

Build it anyway - why?
Because building it will enable me to serve others with it (Ministry)
But will it actually make a difference to the Kingdom of God?

Dream it anyway - why?
Because dreaming it will enable me to grow more like Jesus (Discipleship)
Or crush me with disappointment when nothing seems to come of it!

Pray it anyway - why?
Because praying it conforms me to His will and purpose (Discipleship)
Even if that purpose is one of just trying to keep existing rather than making a difference – how hard is that?

Believe it anyway - why?
Because believing it will help me share it with others (Mission)
Not that they will be changed by what I say anyway – they will be fine with the fact that I believe it – anything goes, but they wont see that it is the ONE TRUTH that they need to believe. (I know this sounds soooooo negative – forgive me – I am frustrated).

Love them anyway - why?
Because loving them helps me build authentic Christian community with them (Fellowship).
Yep fair point.

Sing it anyway - why?
Because singing it tells God just how worthy He is (Worship)
Also a fair point.

Maybe I just need to get to a place where I can accept that during my lifetime, I will not necessarily be part of any major advances in God’s Kingdom. Maybe I need to change my ideas about the point in me being here and existing. Maybe I just need to live life and enjoy it and not bother trying to figure out if there is something more. But if that’s the case, surely my life goes like this:

Gather possessions…
Die and take none of it with me...
Go to be with God.

The last bit is the only non-pointless bit right?!

Told you I was in an Ecclesiastical mood!

Sorry for the length and negativity of this post. I am really trying to get past this. I am trying to listen to what people say and not only respond negatively to it, but to take positive action from it, and I promise I will try again, but right now I just needed to splurge my thoughts because my mind is going to explode otherwise.

Thanks for reading and for all the helpful thoughts you often provide for me. I do appreciate it.

(By the way - do you like how transparent this blog was?!?!?!?!)

Monday, September 03, 2007


I don’t know where it started but this word has been rolling around in my mind for a long while now. Cedric has kind of blogged about it, Liz has blogged about it, now its my turn!

Being transparent seems to always be considered a good thing. If a business is transparent in its dealings with its customers, that is good. If a charity is transparent about where Mr Joe Public’s money actually goes, then that is good. If a company is transparent about its morals – where they get their goods, how much the initial producers are paid, and so on, this is good, (highly unlikely, but good). It is this that makes me a little bit frustrated. I hate it when things are hidden from me – when I want information and I can’t get it – when I want to be able to make the best decisions about what brands to buy, but finding out where a store gets its products is seemingly impossible. There have been times where I have just longed for the whole world to become completely transparent – where nobody hid anything from anyone.

Then I looked at myself and realised how un-transparent I can be. I don’t like to share every detail of my life with everyone. I like to share lots of it with lots of people, but the really personal stuff, I like to keep within a small group of very trustworthy friends and family. Is that wrong? Surely not. Last Sunday I went to a different church – a small church, and met some people for the first time. I was completely blown away by how much of their lives these people shared with me. I don’t know them from Adam and yet they shared so personally. I found it really fresh and honest and felt privileged that these people wanted to do that. I don’t think I would have shared that openly – why the difference?

But then again, is it not possible that if you shared that intimately with everyone all the time it would begin to get a bit boring and annoying for people? For someone who thinks and analyses the amount I do, it would certainly begin to grate on people if I was consistently sharing everything that was on my mind – and it would probably get them as jumbled as my mind feels most of the time!

My thoughts on this subject were further developed when I started watching, “Big Brother On the Couch”. To be honest I found myself wanting to shout at the T.V. most of the time. The idea, (for those sane people who don’t watch big brother), is that Davina talks to a bunch of psychologists, who perform loads of ‘experiments’ on the housemates and then analyse their behaviour to say what that shows about them. I hate it. I hate it because of a few things:

  • They are extremely inconsistent in their judgements
  • They come to conclusions I don’t always agree with
  • They make a really big deal out of very small things which probably don’t mean anything
  • They think they’re soooo clever
  • They frighten me

Ok so I may analyse myself, but I don’t like being analysed, and the thought that they are teaching people how to do that is horrible. Especially because my body language tends to have a habit of giving me away.

On one hand I can see the need for a transparent society, a transparent church, and transparent friendships, but on the other hand – will we live to regret it?

Secondly, it made me think about the amount of things about himself God has not yet revealed to us. God is not transparent, He can be extremely complicated. There is so much we don’t know, so much we don’t understand. Even when He ‘speaks’ to us, it can be in very un-transparent ways that make you question whether it’s really God at all.

So is transparency really as good as we think? Surely sometimes people not knowing everything is better?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Blog list updated - I had to do it early as I am not going to have internet access now till 5th September. I had a problem - there was a tie for first place! I chose to put Sarah top because she went to Wetherby. Don't know why that makes her go top but it does! There were an awful lot of zero's this time, but congratulations to Claire who made the biggest improvement!

Friday, August 24, 2007


...It had to be done!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Things that I find Amazing – Part 1: The Effect of Heat. (See 1st post below!)

Ok, so I am sure there are some very scientific reasons for this, and I am sure I will probably sound a little bit dense when I say this, but I do find it amazing so here goes:

I went to visit a friend of mine at the weekend, and this friend happens to be an all round brilliant hostess. She cooked a roast dinner for us on Sunday, which was delicious – but feeling bad leaving her in the kitchen on her own for that long I decided to see if I could help out. I was given the task of stirring the gravy – (a very important job I’ll have you know – who likes lumpy gravy?!). For a long time I was just stirring away, until gradually I began to notice the gravy getting thicker. Now I know that this is because of the effect of heat on the flour, but I just suddenly realised how amazing that was. How brilliant that heat can change the properties of something!

But it doesn’t only happen with gravy! Oh no! Heat makes cakes rise, and turn from a thick liquid type substance into beautifully fluffy sponge, it turns a bunch of fatty but delicious ingredients into caramel, and so much more!

I am all for science teaching us the reasons how this happens, but what science can’t tell me is why! It can tell me something about how molecules move around, or join or whatever it is they do, but it doesn’t tell us who told heat to do that to things, it doesn’t tell us why heat decided to move those molecules – just that it did. Why did heat end up with the ability to do this? What made flour have these properties? I know it’s a very little thing, but I find it a little bit mind blowing! It speaks to me so clearly of a designer. Someone who thought all that out and knew that heat would be useful for cooking and baking and making really nice things. How did he think in such minute detail? Isn’t it incredible?!

Things I find amazing

If you look to the right, you will hopefully see a new link list called, 'Things I find Amazing.' I often have these occurances in life where I notice something quite usual - something we use every day and take for granted, and yet when you really take time to think about it, it is incredible. I love finding these things. It is something my friend Mel and I used to think about a lot when we were at Uni. Others thought (probably quite rightly), that we were mad, but I can't seem to stop doing it. When i thought of one the other day, it made me feel so peaceful - so looked after, that I thought I ought to record these things somewhere. So i have chosen to start a new blog with these little thoughts on it. I am going to copy them to my main blog as well to start with so no need to read it twice, but I wanted to start it as a seperate blog for two reasons:
  1. So that I had a record of them that I didn't have to search through for ages to find
  2. In case anybody else ever did this, and fancied writing to the blog too. If you do, let me know and I will add you as a co-author.

Anyway - thought I would explain myself a little. The first part will follow shortly...

Friday, August 17, 2007


I couln't let the opportunity pass to share this photo with you. Call me a proud aunty if you will but HOW CUTE IS MY NEPHEW?!?!?!!!

Monday, August 06, 2007


The other day during a conversation, I listened to someone practically scream, 'who am I?' I realsied that this was a question which has come up in numerous blogs and poems etc over the last year or so; and yet I have to admit, that in spite of all that discussion, I am still no closer to discovering who I really am.

I am a very very analytical person, particularly when it comes to myself - my attitudes, my feelings, my thoughts, my motivations, my decisions - I could go on! And yet I don't really know myself. For me, the poem below sums it up:

I don’t know what I’m good at, Or even what I’m not.
I don’t know what my gifts are, or which ‘gifts’ aren’t so hot.
I don’t know when I feel indifferent, or where passions lie.
I don’t know what I’m meant to do, or when I should decline.

I don’t know when I’m deceiving myself, I don’t know when I’m right.
I don’t know how to believe myself, or how to stop the fight.
I don’t know what my heart says, or what I truly feel.
I don’t know who I am inside, I don’t know what is real.

So my question - can we ever truly know ourselves? Can we ever be sure that what we say we feel or think is real? Is it possible to decieve yourself? Is it possible that you could have become so analytical that you don't even know what's real and what's not anymore?

Is it sometimes right to just go ahead and do something even if you are not sure its 'right', just because you are so tired of analysing it, and so confused by it all that you can't even distinguish anymore what is true and what is not?

Sometimes I think that other people know or understand me better than I do myself. Is that possible?

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Blog List...

Yes it has been updated!

Welcome back to Richard Wright who has succeeded in not only being back on the list but being somewhere near the top thanks to his recent blogging surge.

New additions are Cedric Hills and Jon Fuller, both of whom have great blogs. I recommend you check them out.

Having returned from her trip, Amy's blog has now ceased to function as has Keith Hall's so we say goodbye to them.

Matt White remains near the top despite the fact that many of his blogs are actually stolen from youtube.

That's all folks - make sure you check out the new additions!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Fullness of Life?

Following on from a conversation I was having the other day, I have decided to blog about the following passage of scripture:

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10b

I realise that taking part of a verse like this completely takes it out of its context, so I should probably just add that Jesus says this to the Pharisees when He is talking about Himself as a gate for the sheep – the idea being that people will follow Him because they recognise His voice.

My questions relate very specifically to this idea of having life to the full. In-particular, what does is mean to have life to the full? The Bible is very clear about the need for followers of Jesus to be unworldly. There are many passages I could quote here – let me name a few:

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:1-2

“Do not be overawed when a man grows rich,
when the splendor of his house increases;
for he will take nothing with him when he dies, his splendor will not descend with him.
Though while he lived he counted himself blessed— and men praise you when you prosper” Psalm 49:16-18

"Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." And he, (Jesus) told them this parable: "The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, 'What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.' Then he said, 'This is what I'll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I'll say to myself, "You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry." 'But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?' Luke 12:14-20

So I guess from these examples we can assume that ‘life in all its fullness’ does not necessarily mean a life filled with worldly possessions.

So what does it mean? That we can have life in all its fullness without having ‘stuff’. That God is enough in Himself to completely satisfy us and to give us a rich full life? So why do we crave stuff? Why can you be living your life for God – truly loving Him and yet feel that there is more, that you are missing something – or even more difficult to understand – that you are simply bored with your life?

I guess the only answer I can see to it is that these people aren’t being completely satisfied by God – most likely because they aren’t giving Him enough of themselves in the first place. Is that right? If so, how can this problem be solved? “Give God more of yourself” is not enough of an answer without there being some practical way of working that out in each person’s individual life. If someone is bored, how do they become not bored?

It makes me wonder whether the problem is really spiritual. For someone who is bored – can the answer to that be found in the world? If so how do you find it, and how does that then relate to the Bible passages earlier that say that ‘stuff’ is meaningless?

Additionally, I went to the commissioning of some new Salvation Army Officers at the weekend, and one persona testimony really made me think. She said that before she accepted Officership in the Salvation Army to be God’s call on her life and followed that call, there was something missing in her life. Now that she has followed her calling and found her vocation, she feels fulfilled. I am really pleased for her – don’t get me wrong, but I just wondered how long that would last? It’s easy to say when it’s all new and exciting, but is it really the thing that will satisfy her and allow her to feel that fulfilment for the rest of her life? For those that haven’t found that fulfilment then, is it all about searching for the thing that is going to fulfil you? Isn’t that what we say people are doing when they are searching for meaning in the bottom of a bottle, or in drugs etc. Don’t we say to them that they can find their fulfilment in God?

We talk about God being like the missing piece of a jigsaw – (the jigsaw representing life) but what about when someone has God and yet still feels like there is a missing piece? Does it go on and on until we are finally with Jesus forever – face to face, able to be in His complete presence?

I guess the questions boil down to one main point (as per usual!) if Jesus came to give life, and life in all its fullness, how does it then follow that some people who have given their lives to Him, given up stuff for Him, work hard for Him, and have a relationship with Him can still find themselves with lives that feel anything but full? What does He mean when He says, I came to give life, and life to the full?

I would like to finish with a disclaimer! I am not bored of life - anything but! In fact life is so full sometimes that my head thinks it might explode! Its more just that after a conversation, I realised that I really didn't fully understand this, so hoped that others might be able to help!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Child of the 80's - yup - well and truly!

Ok - unusual blog for me! But I saw this on facebook and I got soooooo excited! Sorry for all those non-80's people! But this is soo cool!

Description: You know you were a kid in the 80s if any of these are familiar.....

Um Bongo, Um Bongo, They drink it in the Congo Yup

Friendship bracelets were ties that couldn't be broken. Yup

You know all the words to "Ice Ice Baby". Nope – but remember the song!

You wanted to be on "Jim'll Fix It". Yup – Lee wrote in like every week!

You can remember what Michael Jackson looked like before he had plastic surgery. Yup

You had one of those T-shirts that changed colour with heat (Global Hypercolour). Nope

You know the profound meaning of "Wax on, Wax off". Huh?!

You were upset when She-ra, Princess of Power and He-Man got cancelled. Yup but He-Man was the best!

You remember Madonna in her cone stage outfit. Yup

You knew "The Artist" when he was humbly called "Prince." Yup

You wore fluorescent-neon clothing... (if you can call it clothing!) Yup! And shell suits!

You remember when Amiga was a state of the art video game system. Yes yes yes – Oh how I miss it!

You remember M.C. Hammer. Sort of

You can still sing the rap to "Fresh Prince of Bel Air".... Yes – I really can!

You can remember when it was Jazzy Jeff and The fresh Prince and NOT just plain Will Smith! No!

You own any cassettes. Yup!

You carried your lunch to school in a Gremlins, ALF or ET lunchbox. Yup, I think I might have had Alf – I also had my little pony.

You have ever pondered on why Smurfette was the ONLY female smurf. Didn’t really watch the smurfs

My Little Pony, Gummy Bears and Transformers are familiar to you. Yes, yes! Transformers, robots in disguise! And Lee used to sing My little pony, skinny and bony at me!

You had a Swatch Watch. Don’t think I ever actually had one? Did I?

You believed that "By the power of Greyskull, you HAD the power!" Yes yes! The power of greyskull!

Big wheels and BMX's were the way to go. Yup

You sang to Kylie and Jason! Yes!

You owned Polly Pocket or Micro Machines. Polly pocket – yes! Why were they so cool?!

Partying "like it's 1999" seemed SO far away. Ha ha! Yes it really did!

You knew that Transformers were "more than meets the eye". Yeah!

You were led to believe that in the year 2000 we'd all be living in space. Ha ha! Not sure I ever believed it!

Girls - You wore biker shorts underneath a short skirt and felt stylish. Yes – so that I could do handstands in the playground!

You recorded songs off the radio. Yes yes!

You wore those wide, colourful shoelaces. Oh yeah!

You never questioned why the A-Team were always imprisoned in places that had sufficient tools to build an armoured tank. Absolutely not – the A-Team were simply incredible – you didn’t question them!

Dungeons & Dragons was your favourite understand why they couldn't leave the unicorn. Wasn’t my favourite, but I remember it.

You did the top toggle of your coat up around your neck without having your arms in the sleeves, and you knew you looked like a superhero. Yeah! And those toggles were well cool!

Your new winter coat was best used to demonstrate that your wings were like a shield of steel. What?!

You remember watching a house inhabited by a jester, a pantomime horse and a woman who sneezed, and thinking that this was perfectly normal. Nope! What was that?

You tried to convince your Dad to fit a strip of red lights on the front of a Capri so it looked like KITT. No – huh?! - Oh night rider! I loved night-rider!

You had more than 10 sweets in a 10p mix-up. Yes – so true!

You hid behind the sofa whenever you heard the word "Exterminate!". Yeah! Exterminate, exterminate.

Boys - You wore pale grey shoes with white towelling socks. Ha ha!

You held a chicken in the air or stuck a deckchair up your nose. What?!

Your best mate had a Soda Stream at home and you were jealous. Not my best mate – but my Nan had one and we seriously loved it! Those were the days when soda streams had glass bottles – none of this plastic rubbish!

Any elderly Scottish lady sounds like Supergran. yeah yeah yeah!

You remember playing British Bulldog, Yep!

When 'Computer' Tennis, Pac-Man and Donkey-Kong ruled yeah!

You remember hearing the tune then running out to buy an ice cream cone on a warm summer night - 99's, screwballs or a cider lolly. Yeah! (Not a cider lolly, but the other two definitely!)

Water balloons were the ultimate weapon. Yeah!

Important decisions were made by going "eeny-meeny-miney-mo." Yes yes yes!

Incidently, I can't believe they haven't mentioned great things such as 'Thundercats - HO!' and Bananaman and Knightmare, The care bears and all the other great shows!

Monday, July 16, 2007


I decided recently to start trying to read through the Old Testament. Having tried this on numerous occasions before and only making it as far as the first couple of chapters in Leviticus, I decided that this time I would start at Joshua. I will come back to the fist five books if I make it to the end of the Old Testament! Anyway – I am in Judges right now and have recently been reading about Gideon. I find his story a very interesting one. Gideon is often used as an example of one of the ‘unlikely’ people that ended up being used by God to have a massive influence on Jewish history. There are a couple of things about his story that I haven’t been able to get out of my mind so I thought I would blog them!

First the Bible bits!

With the tip of the staff that was in his hand, the angel of the LORD touched the meat and the unleavened bread. Fire flared from the rock, consuming the meat and the bread. And the angel of the LORD disappeared. When Gideon realized that it was the angel of the LORD, he exclaimed, "Ah, Sovereign LORD! I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face!" Judges 6:21-22

Gideon said to God, "If you will save Israel by my hand as you have promised- look, I will place a wool fleece on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is dry, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you said." And that is what happened. Gideon rose early the next day; he squeezed the fleece and wrung out the dew—a bowlful of water. Then Gideon said to God, "Do not be angry with me. Let me make just one more request. Allow me one more test with the fleece. This time make the fleece dry and the ground covered with dew." That night God did so. Only the fleece was dry; all the ground was covered with dew. Judges 6:36-40

My first pondering: Gideon saw the angel, spoke to the angel, watched the angel perform a miracle and finally believed he was an angel. Then proceeded to test God again TWICE just to make sure! I know this is a question which is commonly asked but it does make you wonder – is it ok to test God? When Jesus was being tempted he quoted from Deuteronomy 6:16 saying do not put the Lord your God to the test. Yet here is Gideon testing God and God responding to him. I think my opinion on this is that we should try to trust God always, and the ideal is that we would never need to put Him to the test in this way – but He understands that we are human and have fears and so He may well respond when we test Him.

If Gideon had woke up in the morning to find the test failed how would he have known whether that was because God refuses to be tested, or because God actually wasn’t going to help him? Making it more relevant, if we tested God about something we may think He is saying to us, (rightly or wrongly) and God responded – we would know it was God speaking. BUT if he didn’t respond, we may still be unsure right? Does it mean for definite that God wasn’t speaking, or just that He doesn’t want to have to prove Himself like that?

Clearly the best option is to not test God in the first place, but then how can you KNOW that it is God speaking, and not just some random thing going on in your mind? I have thought about all these things before, but reading about Gideon just rose these ponderings in my mind again.

Early in the morning, Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) and all his men camped at the spring of Harod. The camp of Midian was north of them in the valley near the hill of Moreh. The LORD said to Gideon, "You have too many men for me to deliver Midian into their hands. In order that Israel may not boast against me that her own strength has saved her, announce now to the people, 'Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.' " So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained.

But the LORD said to Gideon, "There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will sift them for you there. If I say, 'This one shall go with you,' he shall go; but if I say, 'This one shall not go with you,' he shall not go."

So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the LORD told him, "Separate those who lap the water with their tongues like a dog from those who kneel down to drink." Three hundred men lapped with their hands to their mouths. All the rest got down on their knees to drink. The LORD said to Gideon, "With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the other men go, each to his own place." So Gideon sent the rest of the Israelites to their tents but kept the three hundred, who took over the provisions and trumpets of the others. Judges 7:1-8

Second pondering: “The Lord said to Gideon”. Ok, so I could have picked on a number of people in the Old Testament for this one, but since we are with Gideon lets stay there! What on earth does ‘The Lord said to Gideon’ mean? How did the Lord say stuff to Gideon? We know before God spoke to Him through an angel – a visible presence – but what about now. We aren’t told of any angel this time! Ok so clearly we can’t know the answer to that one, but that is so frustrating! If it was just some voice in Gideon’s mind or some feeling inside him, I can’t imagine that he would have been quite so willing to believe it as he seemingly was. If Gideon was lacking in trust before, he is certainly proving himself now! Surely he couldn’t possibly go from seeing and speaking with an angel, then testing God twice, to suddenly being prepared to act on a voice in his head?!

I know it shouldn’t really matter – we don’t need to know the answers to these things, but if God gives us specific instructions these days through our minds or through feelings then how can we learn to believe them to be actually from God? I know God often uses the Bible, a verse here or there which seems to clarify what He is saying, or other people who will do the same, but its just so easy to identify those things as coincidences rather than the voice of God. Isn’t it? How can one be sure?

I can picture the response to this right now - its about faith Kirsty! I know that, and I agree. But what if you put your faith in hearing a message from God and then it turns out you were wrong?!

There is sooooo much more that Gideon’s story has to ponder on, but for now I will leave it at that! I have to get through the rest of Judges at some point!