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?