Monday, December 24, 2007

Jeff Wayne's - The War of the Worlds Live

On Thursday night, heavy cough, cold and all, I went to see Jeff Wayne's 'The War of the Worlds' at the Brighton Centre. I have been a fan of this piece of music since I was given a copy by my uncle shortly after it was released back in the seventies. It made a great impression on this young boy I can tell you. The ticket was a present to my Uncle who accompanied me and drove since I was feeling rough.

The show was very impressive with a screen across the whole back of the stage. A 10ft high projection of a digitally animated head of Richard Burton. Justin Hayward and Chris Thompson singing who were on the original. A large string section and numerous musicians, again some of the originals, bringing a big sound and the man himself, Jeff Wayne conducting the whole affair. Two hours of great entertainment with a mixture of live acting/singing, CGI animation and original artwork telling the story with the music.

As much as the music is very much of the seventies it still has somehow not dated either. The audience was both young and old. I guess parents bringing their children, Men bringing their partners, a whole mixture and totally sold out over three nights in Brighton. I recommend seeing it if they do it again next year.

Anyway here is a taster from YouTube:

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Teddy Bears, Muhammad and common sense out the window!

So Gillian Gibbons has been charged in Sudan for 'insulting religion, inciting hatred and showing contempt for religious beliefs' according to the BBC Website. Her crime, allowing her school children to call a class teddy bear Muhammad. I am sorry to cast judgment and all that but this is the most pathetic thing I have heard in a long time. Believe me I get the whole, not making images of 'the Prophet Muhammad' viewpoint since as a Christian I believe images should not really be made of Jesus Christ lest we fall into revering/idolising an image as opposed to worshiping Christ Himself. No image will ever be accurate of Christ's incarnated body since we don't know what He looked like and the bible is quite clear on creating images and idols etc...

However, to arrest and charge a woman with the above charges on account of calling a teddy bear after a name some school children voted for on account of some of them actually being called Muhammad is just a religion 100% losing sight of its heart. Christians have been as guilty of this as any Islamic fundamental here. I can't speak for Islam that much since I only have a basic grasp of its beliefs but for Christians when works and the trappings of religion become more important than God Himself then you lose sight of the most important aspect. Surely at its heart, Islam is about service, sacrifice of self for others and worship of Allah, not persecuting an innocent woman on grounds of a teddy bears name.

If I heard similar from Christians I would be astonished and ashamed of them. When telling others what they should and shouldn't do, see or say becomes more important than loving God first and foremost, personal holiness then sacrificially loving others, serving others and by doing so bringing them to the foot of the cross to the reality of sin and the need for repentance, then we have totally lost the point of our faith.

Sudanese Government, please see common sense and release this woman and stop this insanity!

One of those weeks......Part II

Well just as I though things were settling down to normality after having the central heating fixed on Monday this morning it all went blah again. I opened the airing cupboard to find everything soaked and water dripping from the ceiling. Fortunately being lazy I had not put the step ladders back in the garage and got straight up on the loft to find the valve on the new pump leaking quite a lot. How long this had been going on I don't know but quite a while it seems.

Anyway the plumber is here now to replace the leaking valve. Just got to wash all the clothes that were soaked and find a place to hang them all to dry. Will have to wait until it has all dried out before I see if any permanent damage to the plasterboard ceiling has been caused. The joy of owning a house!

Lord please may that be the last thing for a while?

(27 Days to Christmas!!!)

Friday, November 23, 2007

One of those Weeks!

Do you ever get one of those weeks where you think everything is against you? Well I am having one of those weeks. Firstly on Monday evening I reversed into a parked car, dented its door and front wing and also smashed up my rear bumber. It was dark, late and miserable weather and I wasn't paying attention enough. I only have myself to blame for this. My reaction in the car on the way home was less than Christian I must admit. Some words passed my lips that should not have and I got really rather angry with myself. Insurance is sorting all this out for us. Ironically it was a couple of hours after I had ordered my new company car. Not sure if there is anything too that!

Secondly, today my central heating has stopped working on a day it is rather cold and I am working from home. Another thing to sort out and pay out on.

I know neither of these things is hign on the life threatening, very important scale but it is very easy to let yourself start feeling very miserable when little-ish things stack up. It just reminds me of two things. One, that God does not promise a stress free easy life, that is not what being a Christian is. Secondly that He is my source of hope and life and joy, not what happens around me. Nothing that happens to me in this life changes who He is and who I am in relation to Christ. Nothing can separate me from the Love of God that is in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:39).

Sorry for the slightly depressing post and lack of posting recently. I have found myself so busy recently at home and with the extra duties of stand in Cell Group Leader at church that my mind has not be inspired to write much. I hope that changes soon and that life calms down.

PS: 32 days till Christmas!!!!!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Stardust Film Review

Stardust is a film based on a book by Neil Gaiman. I cannot comment on how closely the film sticks to the book as I have not read it. So this is an unbiased, seeing the film cold review!

A brief synopsis of the film is (taken from the BBC Website Review):

In the village of Wall, next door to fairyland, shop-boy Tristan woos the village beauty by promising to fetch her a star they see fall. On his quest to retrieve said star, which turns out to be a lovely, if angry young woman - the two encounter murderous princes, wicked witches, and lightning-poacher sky-pirates. Plus, of course, the essential fairytale ingredients of true destiny and hearts' desire

I have to say I really enjoyed the film. It is beautifully filmed, well written and acted with pretty flawless special effects. The lead of the film, Charlie Cox, is very good and ably supported by a host of Mostly British acting talent. The two American supporting actors deserve praise. Michelle Pfeiffer is brilliant as the witch Lamia, lapping up the evil sorceress role. Robert De Niro is, as one would expect, excellent as the Tough Pirate captain with a large Camp secret. The king of hard men dancing about in a dress is an eye opener. Claire Danes plays the fallen star Yvaine. She is slightly irritating for a large amount of the film, but I think she is meant to be. She is a star learning about Love for herself and she warms towards the end as she falls for Tristan. Lastly, of the main supporting actors, Ricky Gervais doing what Ricky Gervais does!

The main story is of a young man, of noble birth who, at the start doesn't know his lineage and is directionless and without purpose and looking in the wrong place for love. Throughout the story he finds his courage, a reason and something to fight for. He is taken in and mentored by the Pirate Captain, if only very briefly. Eventually he realises who his true love is and finally his destiny and lineage as He inherits the Kingdom.

A good description of the human condition. We are sons of Adam yet if we turn to God are inheritors of the kingdom of Heaven as co-heirs with Christ. We are made in the image of God, albeit a broken image. What greater nobility is there than that. Our journey is to go from looking for satisfaction in this world to finding it in the only true source of life and love, Jesus Christ. To laying our lives down for a noble cause worth fighting for and finally yo inherit that which is promised to us by God.

Sounds like a fairytale but it is the greatest truth you can ever discover!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Rush Live at Wembley - October 10th 2007

I went to see Rush at Wembley Arena last week on the 10th of October.

The fans are looking older and less and less Rock as the years go on. I am sure they are garnering new fans around the world but the UK fans don't seem to be any younger. Having not been to Wembley for a few years I hadn't seen the refurbishments before. The new atrium on what was the back of the arena and the stage now at the opposite end. I have to say it made a difference and makes the arena reasonably pleasant to go to.

Sadly the sound hasn't been improved and the acoustics inside were as bad as ever. Having last seen them 3 years ago for the 30th Anniversary Tour and suffering Tinnitus ever since I was prepared with my ear plugs this time around! Now they weren't nearly as loud as that last show but after 3 songs I decided I had to use the plugs. It actually made an improvement to the sound. Ok, so I lost the top end frequencies but I could hear the bass and drums better.

They started around 7:45 and played for around an hour and ten before having a 25 minute break on the grounds that they are getting old! The second set was much longer and all the way through until nearly 11:00pm. I was a little disappointed with some of the song choices. They played about 5 new songs in a row at one point which I felt should have been spread around a bit more. Yes they played some great classics but the trouble with having 30+ years of history is what to play live. I know you will never please everyone and that is fine. I did feel there were too many of the new instrumentals which aren't a patch on the old ones. They did finish with YYZ which is always great to hear live. No La Villa sadly which surely is the greatest instrumental they have.

Obviously being a drummer, I was anticipating Neil Peart's drum solo. Every tour he changes what he plays without losing some fundamental patterns that are always there. This one I thought was a little, how can I say it...... dull! It just didn't do it for me sadly. Technically brilliant and all that but it just didn't seem to flow well and seemed bitty. Whilst on the subject of Neil Peart's drumming I was a little sad that the only time he used the rear V-Drum kit was during the solo. Being a V-Drum player myself I missed seeing him use them during some of the songs. I think there are v-drum triggers more integrated around the main kit so as to remove the necessity to rotate the kit.

Other highlights were the South Park intro to Tom Sawyer. I am not sure if this was from an actual show or made especially for them but it was very funny. Instead of tumble dryers this time around behind Geddy Lee was a rack of Roast Chicken machines. Weird huh, they even had a chef come on a couple of times and check them!

Overall though it was enjoyable and is always a treat to see the 3 of them play. Geddy and Alex always seem to be having fun on stage and enjoy being there, unlike Mr Peart, but that is another story. I first saw them in 1988 for the 'Hold Your Fire' tour. This was my 4th time seeing them at Wembley. Who knows one day I may see them at a venue that has decent sound.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Take That - Rule the World Video

Well I never thought I would post I video by Take That but hey a good tune is a good tune. Here is the video to 'Rule The World' written for the new film Stardust.

I review of the Rush concert I went to a week ago will follow soon! (Rush and Take That in the same post, another first!)

Friday, September 28, 2007

This Man!

Just saw this video on YouTube. I knew the song very well but put with scenes from The Passion of the Christ it is all the more powerful. (Copyright infringments aside :-)! ) Song by Jeremy Camp!

Warning: Very Graphic scenes if you haven't already seen the film!

This song is one of my favorite songs by Jeremy Camp, simple and honest words!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Blogging Lite!!

Yes I know I have been woeful in the amount of posting recently. This is partly due to being busy at work, being tired and not wanting to sit in front of a computer.

Also I have just bought a new Roland TD12 drum kit so am spending much time working out how to get the sound I want out of that.

I also have this week and next week off work so am spending time with my wife and doing jobs. So don't expect too much writing in the coming weeks, but I will return, fear not!

Transformers (Robots in disguise) the Film!

Well yesterday I finally saw Transformers at the cinema. All I can say to start is wow and I really enjoyed it. I was never a great fan of the cartoon version as I think it was a little after my time as a child, however I always liked the idea. I was vaguely aware of Optimus Prime and Megatron and co. but don't have a great attachment to the original comic or cartoon versions. This I feel was good as I didn't bring any baggage to watching it.

I only noticed one bit of ropey CGI which was a point when Bumblebee turns back into the car and drives off. Apart from that I was very impressed with the special effects. The plot was thin but who cares. Bib powerful life giving cube, lost on earth, Autobots and Decepticons are after it for different reasons. Boy connected to it through grandfather etc...

I thought the humour was well pitched against the action. Particularly the Autobots trying to hide in the back garden while Sam's parents are giving him a hard time about parental type stuff. Great big robots trying to bend into corners and around the house in an effort to not be noticed, brilliant. There was plenty of eye candy for the boys and girls in the audience and I am talking about the older ones here. Ladies, apparently the main soldier bloke is particularly gorgeous! Yes my wife came and watched it with me and did enjoy it and not just because of him! I thought the analyst girl plot strand was wasted and I hope she wasn't just there for the men in the audience. Of course if big hunking robots slugging it out is your thing then there is plenty of that too, oh yeah.

Anyway, getting carried away here so go see the film if you want to more or less switch brain off and be very entertained for a couple of hours.

Friday, August 03, 2007

What Parents are doing to their Children!

The other day I witnessed a rather upsetting display of a mothers behaviour towards her son. I was on a train returning from London reading a book called 'Wild at Heart' by John Eldredge. I will come on to why I mention the book I was reading as it has relevance to why I found this scene so upsetting.

Anyway, the train stopped at the station before mine. This station has a short platform and you must be in the front 4 coaches in order to get off onto the platform. This message is repeated several times over the journey by the recorded messages and the conductor. I was in that 4th carriage towards the back. Just as the train was about to depart these two women followed by about 6 kids came rushing through the electric doors from the carriage behind mine in a desperate attempt to get off. However by the time they reached the doors to get off the conductor had closed and locked them and the train moved off.

What followed can only be described as verbal abuse from an adult to a child. One of the women just verbally laid into this young boy of about 10. "It's all your fault...", "You stupid boy...", "You've done it again...", "it's always you..." and so on, you get the picture! Now I don't know what the boy had done to delay the group getting through to my carriage to get off. What I do know is it was the two adults responsibility to be in the correct bit of the train in the first place, not the children. No matter what that boy had done to somehow delay them, once they realised they could not get off in their carriage, is irrelevant. They should have been in the correct bit of the train in the first place. This carried on outside the station. I was waiting to be picked up and they were there as well. In the end the boy walked off saying he was going to walk home whilst all the time being shouted at.

My heart wrenched when I hear this verbal tirade aimed squarely at this poor boy. The things he was being told about himself from this mother was heart breaking. The arrows that would have been piercing that boys heart would have run deep right to the core of his being. Now what will he grow up thinking about himself? What self image will he form as he grows up? I suspect this is not the first time he has received such abuse nor, I fear, the last. What lessons will he learn from that and other occurrences? He could end up never having any confidence in himself to achieve anything, always telling himself he was useless and no good. He could go the other way and end up driven to succeed beyond anything else. He will most likely end up a very angry young man leading to possibly destructive behaviour and labeled accordingly which will just reinforce his view of himself.

I was so desperate to stand up and give that mum a right earful. But for many reasons I did nothing except weep inside for him.

I mentioned the book I was reading as it speaks of this very kind of thing. About how the damage done to boys leads to Men who are bound up and unable to be truly free and alive. Unable to be 'real' Men to their partners, friends etc... By real men it doesn't mean society's view of real men as physically strong and butch macho types.

The back of the book said this, to quote:

'In Wild at Heart, John Eldredge invites men to recover their masculine heart, defined in the image of a passionate God. And he invites women to discover the secret of a man's soul and to delight in the strength and wildness men were created to offer'

It tackles the things that can cause men to stop living out their true God given identity and character. A large amount of which is caused by ones parents.

The inside cover has the following:

Discovering the Secret of a Man's Soul

A Battle to fight. An Adventure to live. A Beauty to rescue. This is what a man longs for. This is what makes him come alive. Look at the films men love. For that matter, look at the dreams of little boys, the games they play. There is something fierce, passionate, and wild in the heart of every man. That is how he bears the image of God. And the reason that most men "live lives of quiet desperation" (Thoreau) is because men have been told that the reason God put them on earth is to be a good boy. To be nice.

God designed men to be dangerous. Simply look at the dreams and desires written in the heart of every boy: To be a hero, to be a warrior, to live a life of adventure and risk. Sadly, most men abandon those dreams and desires--aided by a Christianity that feels like nothing more than pressure to be a nice guy. It is no wonder that many men avoid church, and those who go are often passive and bored to death.

Now, in all your boyhood dreams growing up, did you ever dream of becoming a nice guy? Ladies, was the Prince of your dreams dashing... or merely nice? "We've taken away the dreams of a man's heart and told him to play the man." As C.S. Lewis said, 'We castrate the gelding and bid him be fruitful."

Deep in his heart, every man longs for a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue. That is how he bears the image of God; that is what God made him to be.

Having literally just finished reading this book, for the second time, these themes were in my head. Which is why hearing that mother broke my heart. She clearly has no comprehension about the power and damage words can do. Especially to children who haven't yet fully formed their identity and self view. Parenting is a God given responsibility and not to be abused:

Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so they won't become discouraged. Colossians 2:21

From my own childhood I know the power of negative words spoken to me. It is only through my relationship with my Heavenly Father that I have understood who I am, what my real identity is and the lies that I had taken into my heart and soul. Of course I am still on the path towards being made whole by God. No one in this life ever reaches perfection. It is a journey that we must all take, many don't start and few get a long way. But the road must be trodden and battles must take place along it. I thank God so much for bringing me to Him and enabling me to 'get up and walk' as 'my sins are forgiven' (Matthew 9:2-8)

I just pray that boy and so many like him find the same. A God and Father who is perfect, Loving and who's words bring life not bondage and death of the soul.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I could become schizophrenic apparently and Leftyphobia!

According to the BBC website and this article I am at greater risk of becoming schizophrenic because I am left handed. I preferred the finding that said Lefty's think quicker personally or are better in fights (though since I don't fight I hope to never find out).

Just cause I use my brain differently to you righty types this means there must be a problem in there somewhere. The world is a leftyphobic place I tell you. Since everyone else complains that they are discriminated against I think I will start. All desks should have 2 computer mice so I don't have to move them when I have to sit at desks of righty's. There should always be left handed scissors available, left handed golf clubs (though I don't play golf), left handed versions of everything that has a right handed version always available and not costing more!

I bought I new single bass drum pedal for my Drums the other week. I was looking at double-bass drum pedals and asked about left handed versions. Of course the lefty versions were more expensive! Now I understand the 'oh well the manufacturing costs are more'. However this is entirely unfair, its leftyphobic I tell you. Human rights, discrimination, fairness, equality...........I am a human being!

Now now Andrew, I think you are getting carried away here he says with tongue firmly in cheek!!!!!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Lack of Blogging Recently

I know there has been a distinct lack of postings this month. I have been so busy at work and getting home quite late on some nights that to look at a computer is the last thing I want to do.

I have not given up on my blog at all. Merely a temporary hiatus whilst I cope with a heavy workload.


I'll be back!!!!!!!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Goodbye Super Casino................hopefully!

Well Gordon Brown must actually be applauded this week. He has apparently, to all intents and purposes, scrapped the idea of the Super Casino to be built in Manchester. He suggested that maybe the money would be better spent on regeneration, duh do you think!

Well praise God for some sense. What person can consider placing a Casino in the heart of a run down area as a good idea. A Casino is where people go and waste their money duped into thinking they can win big. It can start an addictive cycle that destroys careers, families and lives. Gambling is dangerous on so many levels. Being highly addictive one of them. Place it in a poor area and you will have people blowing money they don't have on an unattainable dream. We are already a nation of gamblers with the National Lottery. Thank goodness Gordon Browns moral sense, and I believe he has one, has shone through here. Lets us hope more of his policies are shaped by his Christian faith that he claims to have.

I doubt I'll vote for him but on this I applaud him!!!!!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Men, Emotions and lots of Internet Searches!

I have been studying my Blog Stats and looking at what it is that brings search engines and people to my humble little corner of the Blogosphere. What I have noticed is the extraordinary number of searches along the lines of men expressing their emotions or not as the case may be. Now I know the title of my blog is what the search engines are primarily seeing and it was for this reason I gave my blog that title. But I have had to then ask why do I get so many hits on that subject. What is it about 'men and emotions' that has people wanting to research articles on the web. It is to this question I now write:

I put this to my wife, to which she replied "well men don't show their emotions!"

Blunt and to the point but probably quite true on the most part. I tackled this in detail on this post here. Also the God The Parent Essay has much to say on the subject of gender etc...

I can't really add a lot on top of what I wrote in those posts so I won't unless inspiration takes me at a later date. Filter my posts using the categories at the top to get all my articles related to emotions.

I thought I would add some books I have found very helpful on the subject of Men and Emotions in general.

Marillion - Thank You, Whoever you Are!

Just found this video on YouTube and thought I would post it as it is the best song off the new album which is very average for a Marillion Album.

Brilliant song I think, shame about the rest of the Album. Marbles is much better if you want a recent good album!

This is Easter, one of my favorite songs of all time:

This is Neverland off Marbles and is my fav off that album:

And Afraid of Sunlight, a classic piece of musical perfection:

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Catherine Tate, new Dr Who Companion...Noooooo!

The BBC posted today that Catherine Tate's character Donna from the Christmas episode will be the new companion for series 4 as Martha is off canoodling with the boys (or girls knowing RTD) on Torchwood for a few episodes in a feeble attempt to increase ratings.
Now whilst she was ok, and I stress just 'ok' in the one off episode I think she is quite wrong for the whole series run. Unless the character has a major personality change then she will become so irritating to watch and listen to that I fear Who may lose viewers in thousands.
What were they thinking of. Many people including myself think Sally Sparrow should have been the new companion. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Lydia Playfoot 'Purity Ring' Case in High Court and The State of Modern Britain

So Lydia Playfoot is finally getting the opportunity to have her case heard. This is very high profile and is headline news on the BBC (A Video here). Should she be allowed to wear a ring symbolising her commitment to chastity until marriage? Is the school discriminating against her when other faiths are allowed to wear expressions of their beliefs that involve jewelry?

This is difficult subject for me to comment on though I do feel passionately about Christians being discriminated against and applaud anyone who stand up and fights the madness that is Political Correctness. I go to the same church as Lydia and her family. Phil, her father, is Kings Church's main leader. The church is the first in the UK to run the Silver Ring Thing (SRT). Andy Robinson, the youth leader of my church heads up SRT in the UK. Therefore it is something I am very aware of and connected to.

I think this is really two issues:

  • Should Millais School ban or allow the wearing of jewelry by it pupils?
  • Is the ring that the SRT encourages the youth to wear a Christian religious symbol on a par with what is required by other religions.

The first point is I think what this case should be about and is the point worth fighting for. Personally I think the school should either completely ban any jewelry or item that does not conform to standard uniform policy. Or allow, within reason, the wearing of such items. The whole health and safety argument is nullified if exceptions are made. I cannot see how allowing some exceptions and not others is either fair or workable as this case highlights. The slope is simply too slippery to start down. I have every sympathy for those of other faiths that have a requirement for specific items to be worn. But sooner or later if you make exceptions everyone is going to pipe up and say their beliefs require them to wear a certain item. Where do you stop before alienating and discriminating against genuine beliefs and the loony fringe? As much as it flies in the face of the PC brigade I think there is no middle ground.

As for if the ring in question is a required item of the Christian faith then I have to say no, it is not. There are no symbolic items required by Christianity. The Bible does require a modest dress code for women. But there is no 'requirement' for a Christian to wear any symbolic items representing a part of the faith. The SRT ring is a small unobtrusive ring worn on the wedding finger to symbolise the persons commitment to chastity until marriage. It is a good talking point to use, it is not required though. It is a personal choice to wear it as a reminder of your vow of chastity before God as is a wedding ring a vow of commitment to your spouse before God.

I hope regardless of the outcome that Lydia continues to stand up and be counted for her belief and that it impacts her friends to think about their sexual activities and that there is an alternative that is 100% safe and is by far the best approach to dealing with this countries massive problem with STD's, underage sex and unwanted pregnancy leading to abortion.

I am sure God is saying well done good and faithful servant, whatever the outcome!

The State of Modern Britain

If you follow the BBC link and look at the 'Have your Say' views once again we should be proud of our lovely tolerant views in the UK..........Not! So many of the comments are just plain ignorant and the arguments put forward are weaker than a wet paper bag. This shows the state of modern Britain and the utter hypocritical intolerance embedded in our secular humanistic society. People making judgments when they simply do not know the facts, know the people involved or have any understanding of the issue at all. It makes me so sad reading these comments and thinking that things will only get worse I fear.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Teenage Sexual Health Crisis in the UK

The BBC web site ran this article recently about the crisis in Britain's Teenagers in regard to their sexual health. The following points are raised:
  • recent government campaigns had failed to recognise the link between drink, drugs and sexual health
  • the UK has the highest rates of teenage pregnancy and sexual infections in Europe
  • Increasing numbers of young teenagers are defining their lives by taking drugs, drinking alcohol and having under-age sex encouraged by today's celebrity culture.
  • Professor Mark Bellis, head of the centre for public health at Liverpool John Moores University and one of the authors of the report, called the link between alcohol, drugs and risky sexual behaviour a "fuel for a sexual health crisis".
  • "They see around them this culture of celebrities, in the newspapers, around sex and drugs, alcohol, all being brought together, and they're not being given alongside that the information and the education they need to handle issues like drugs and alcohol and sex as they're growing up."

One of the apparent answers to this was: It recommended condoms should be readily available to young people.

Now sorry if I have a rather simplistic view or understanding of the situation in Britain today. But the report and findings just state the blindingly obvious and also point the blame in entirely the wrong direction. Of course alcohol, drugs and sex is a very bad mixture indeed. I have no doubt that this is a reason for some of the very high rates of STD's and pregnancies in young people.

However why is no one asking why youth feel the need to get drunk, take drugs and participate in often illegal underage sex and without adequate protection? Surely the cause of our youths desperation and desire to escape in this way needs to be looked at. Why are our youth so casual about sex, drugs and alcohol. Why do they seem to have no respect for themselves or each other? Why do they have no moral framework within which to operate?

It is so easy to pint the finger at celebrity culture, the worship of celebrity, the media etc... They don't help certainly and have a lot to answer for in their morally bankrupt output. However I believe the cause has to be closer to home. What ever happened to parental responsibility? The modern parenting way seems to be to expect everyone else to teach their children about right and wrong, sexual health, boundaries etc... when the root responsibility is theirs. The modern approach to parenting that doesn't seem to be able to say no to kids has got to be at the heart of the issue. Children with no boundaries or moral code have no framework on which to build their understanding of the world around them and their relationship to it. They are the centre of their world. Add to that the pressures on teenagers from the media, peers and schooling and no wonder they feel the desperate need to escape into these things. The Moral Relativism that pervades modern culture also has a lot to answer for and the secularists who promote it need a kick up the backside and to open their eyes.

I find the situation so sad and so unnecessary. I am sure God sheds tears for the young people destroying their lives and potentially the life of an unborn child through abortion. Another article out today is about how Abortion rates are increasing again. 193,700 children were killed in the name of freedom of choice in 2006. That number is simply staggering and horrific. If you have sex and get pregnant take responsibility for your actions. If you are not prepared for the consequences then don't have sex. A child's life is not an inconvenience to be flushed away because a person is not ready etc... Tough!

Anyway the answer can only be found by surrendering your life to follow Christ and living within the framework laid out in scripture. True freedom and life can only be found there and not in celebrity, sex, drugs, or alcohol. Our teenagers need to know who they really are, created in the Image of God. They need to know how much they are valued and loved by the Lord God and He is where there identity lies. It is not found by escaping into all these other means. Sadly the well meaning agencies will only attempt to plaster over the cracks and not to clean out the wound. Only God through the church can do that!

I found this link on Christian Today that is about this issue and is a very insightful read.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

How many Church People does it take to change a light bulb?

This I found on Kevin Bussey's Blog and had to repeat as it tickled me:

  • Charismatics: Only one. Hands already in the air.
  • Roman Catholics: None. They use candles.
  • Pentecostals: Ten. One to change the light bulb, and nine to pray against the spirit of darkness.
  • Presbyterians: None. God has predestined when the lights will be on and off.
  • Episcopalians: Eight. One to call the electrician, and seven to say how much better they liked the old bulb.
  • Mormons: Five. One man to change the bulb, and four wives to tell him how to do it.
  • Unitarians: We chose not to make a statement either in favor of or against the light bulb. However, if you have found in your own journey that light bulbs work for you, that is fine. You are invited to write a poem or compose a modern dance about your personal relationship with your light bulb and present it next month at our annual light bulb Sunday service in which we will explore a number of light bulb traditions, including incandescent, fluorescent, three-way, long-life, and tinted, all of which are equally valid paths to luminescence.
  • Baptists: At least fifteen. One to change the light bulb, and two or three committees to approve the change. A follow up committee to make sure the light couldn’t be dimmed for dancing. Oh, and also a casserole.
  • Lutherans: None. Lutherans don’t believe in change.
  • Methodists: A whole congregation. One to change the light bulb, and the rest of the congregation to be sure that he doesn’t backslide off the ladder and have to change it again.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The BBC bias strikes Again. (Creation vs Evolution debate)

The Biased Broadcasting Corporation has been at it again. This time on its own Sunday morning 'Heaven and Earth Show'. This is a show that in the BBC's politically correct world view is there to represent multi faith Britain. However as usual with most of the BBC's religious output there is a bias against conservative/evangelical viewpoints. Even the BBC have begun to realise the bias within their own organisation, read this article. (including: former political editor Andrew Marr, who said the BBC has an "innate liberal bias")

This was demonstrated with the Heaven and Earth Show on the 10th June. On the panel of guest discussing the programs articles was Dr Evan Harris, MP who is the Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary of State for Health. He is also an honorary associate of the National Secular Society. There was also on the Panel Fareena Alam, editor of the Muslim magazine Q-News. Lastly Anne Atkins who was the Christian voice on the panel.

Now I have no problem with any of these people personally and they are entitled to their opinions of course. It is a free democratic country, apparently, where we are allowed to have many opposing opinions.

The article that led me to be writing this blog was about the new Creation Museum in Kentucky. I had already seen James Westhead's news report and they showed it in full on this program. Followed by discussion from the three persons I have named above. Included in the report was an interview with a 'British Scientist' who just said something along the lines of 'all you need is yabdabadoo' in relation to the belief about dinosaurs and humans living at the same time. Of course this is meant too, in one foul swoop, discredit everything because an expert sais so. As one would expect they universally derided and laughed at the whole idea. The Muslim lady denying that Islam teaches creation from Allah as literal. The 'Christian' voice of Anne Atkins making a sweeping statement effectively saying no right minded Christian in Britain believes this nonsense and that the creation story is not written as historical narrative. Finally the person you would fully expect to take full advantage to poke fun, Evan Harris, wasted no time in sweepingly saying no one who believes this can be sane, Evolution is proven fact and religious people don't rely on facts. All the usual nonsensical garbage that you would expect from a secularist.

Now as I have said they are all entitled to their own world view, but what really frustrated me was that there was no one to represent the creationist viewpoint. No one to counter the views from the panel and they could all be countered with perfectly reasoned argument. This is typical of the liberal media in Britain. It is highlighted as an issue for the BBC in the article on their own website I linked above. This was a good case of the anti-creationist propaganda and an unwillingness to debate the viewpoints. They just try to laugh, discredit with 'an expert' and hope it all goes away and that no sane person will take any notice of this non science.

In the following article entitled 'Science or the Bible' there is a very good definition of the problem which can be used to debate the issue.

Anyway that is enough ranting on this subject, until the next time that is!!

Friday, June 08, 2007

One of those weeks! (Vista woes)

This has been a very stressful week for me at work. The pressure to fix problems when all eyes are focussed on you is never fun. We have had a problem with the Firewall in Windows vista blocking a network connection program (VPN software). Yesterday I managed, after nearly 2 weeks of looking, to work out why. We have had Microsoft engineers working on this, all manner of others giving their tuppence worth and not generally helping. It turns out the problem we had and the solution I found may be a bug in the Vista Firewall (The second bug we have found in Vista so far). (Techy bit: Because we were restricting the destination IP addresses to a limited set of ranges it blocked the loopback address and thus this piece of software failed when the rule was in place). Now MS think this is not the intended behaviour so are now looking into this.

Whilst it was satisfying to find the solution when others had not I am so fed up with the flippin thing that I am past caring. Managers are impressed and singing my praises and all that but so what. Yes it will help my end of year review and all that but again, so what. I have spent two weeks with this stupid thing on my mind bugging me that I couldn't fix it. I am kicking myself because the solution I found I should have picked up a week ago as it is something I missed. I good case of not seeing the wood for the trees. This is the life of a perfectionist! You do a good job but kick yourself for not doing it sooner.

I am sure there is a spiritual lesson in there somewhere but I am too tired to see one right now. I am sure Nick will think of one!

(Should be banging his head but doesn't seem to be working, technology eh!!!)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Pirates of the Carribbean: At the Worlds End

Went to see the final Pirates of the Caribbean film on Saturday. After a slightly disappointing second film I was hoping this one would be an improvement. Well it was and it wasn't. There is an ambiguous statement if ever there was one. In some respects it is better than the middle film. The plot strands are tied up for the most part although not in a particularly happy way. Johnny Depp is brilliant as usual with the film coming alive when he enters it in a very surreal way. However due to the plot heaviness this film lacks pace and action and even the final climactic battle isn't that grandiose.

As you would expect from a film based on pirates each character has their own agenda and double crosses everyone else to achieve those aims. Will wants to save his father, Barbossa wants the Pearl, Captain Jack is motivated by Captain Jack. Several characters die in this film but I won't divulge who they are. The resolution of the Will Turner/Elizabeth Swan love saga is not your usual disney happy ending. Finding out who Tia Dalma is has potential and is then wasted in a damp squib of a resolution, or should I say crab! The cameo by Keith Richards as Jacks dad is funny but brief. The dialogue between Jack and Barbossa is very witty and amusing. With the ending being left very much open to more films but coming also full circle leaving Jack in the same position at the end as he was at the beginning of the first film, in a small boat. However I hope they leave it, at least for a while as you can have too much of a good thing.

As a warning to parents I would not take any child under about 7-8 to this film. The opening sequence is gruesome and morbid and the themes in the film are not suitable for younger children at all.

Any spiritual themes are a soon lost. The main one being if you die in a non conventional way at sea you can be brought back from the dead. Captain Jack is stuck in a living hell on board the Black Pearl with a crew of copies of himself, these scenes being some of the most amusing and surreal in the film. There is also a sort of purgatory on board the Flying Dutchman for those that fear death and you can be bonded in servitude for 100 years. All a bit weak really and never that explained. In reality Death stalks us all and we have a choice now in this life of facing death with a hope of eternity in heaven through Christ or certain judgment and eternity away from anything good in hell. Sorry to be blunt but that is reality!

Anyway, film could have been better but not that bad a way to kill a couple of hours.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Trusting God's Goodness in the face of the evidence!

“Is – is he a man? Asked Lucy
“Aslan a man!” said Mr Beaver sternly. “Certainly not. I tell you he is the King of the wood and the son of the great Emperor-beyond-the-Sea. Don’t you know who is the King of the Beasts? Aslan is a lion – the Lion, the great Lion.”
“Ooh!” said Susan, “I’d thought he was a man. Is he – quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”
“That you will, dearie, and no mistake,” said Mrs Beaver; “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”
“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.
“Safe?” said Mr Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe, But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe’, Chapter 8, C.S Lewis, © C. S. Lewis PTE Ltd 1950

Well I am finally getting round to writing on the subject of the goodness of God. The title of this post is the main point I want to make. The Fact that God is a good God and is good to His people even when the evidence in front of us screams out to the contrary.

The Evidence Against!

I have been challenged about my belief in this fact several times in my Christian walk. When everything that is going on in life around me seems to point to a vindictive, cruel and heartless God. Doubtless Richard Dawkins would agree with that point as he seems to make it readily when talking about how God acts in the Old Testament, but that is an aside.

I don't make that point about God lightly but it sometimes seems to be where the evidence points to, on the face of it. I am sure every one of us on this planet could point to a time where everything is going so wrong and life seems so totally unfair and unjust that to believe in a God who is 100% good, just and loving and has our best interests at heart seems not only impossible but laughable and stupid.

There is a lady who I know who's family just seems to be stalked by death. Her daughters boyfriend was killed in a car crash when they had a very tiny baby. Both her daughter and her son have lost teenage friends repeatedly over a short space of time. What do you say in situations like that. It seems cruel to suggest God is good in the face of evidence like that.

Yet the Bible suggest that if 'God is for us, who can be against us' (Romans 8:31). Also see these passages for other examples declaring the Goodness of God including:

34Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures for ever. 1 Chronicles 16:34

These passages declare that God is good, yet in times of deep distress and trouble do we really believe it?

What do you say to relatives when their father/husband is healthy one day and struck down with meningitis the next and reduced to a barely living shell with no medical hope of ever recovering?

The world is a cruel and nasty place. People can be evil, vindictive, violent and abusive. It can be so difficult to believe in anything good if you take even a brief perusal of the news headlines. Wars, shootings, bombings, rapes, murders, homelessness, starvation, disease, poverty, the list goes on.

Yet, Jesus declares:

11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. John 10:11

and Psalm 106 sais:

1 Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures for ever.

So enough of the stating of the miserably blindingly obvious to anyone who lives on this planet. So apart from the obvious evidence I have stated above what makes us distrust that God is good and how can we learn to believe those promises and statements in the Bible and build our lives upon them in surrender and trust to God? It all started in a garden!

Did God really say?

That title comes from Genesis 3:1 where the serpent asks a very clever question and has used the same strategy ever since. The passage from verse 1-4 is as follows:

1 Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the wild animals that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You can't eat from any tree in the garden'?"2 The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat the fruit from the trees in the garden. 3 But about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden, God said, 'You must not eat it or touch it, or you will die.' "4 "No! You will not die," the serpent said to the woman.

Look what the devil does! God had told Adam in Genesis 2:16-17 about the 'tree of knowledge' and that he must not eat from it or he would on that day die. Eve at this point appears to also assume she cannot touch it either, though that is not what God said to Adam. The Devil asks Eve a general question about what God has said in regard to eating from the trees in the garden. However the underlying deceit is very clever.

That first phrase immediately starts a thought process that would never, ever have occurred to Eve before that. The assumption that what God has said is up for our judgment? Before that was absolute trust in His goodness and therefore absolute obedience. Satan's first hook is in. This questioning then points Eve to start to focus, in verse 2-3, on what God has restricted from her, some unknown pleasure possibly, not on every other wonderful fruit tree in existence that she could eat from.

Satan then goes on to answer Eve with a lie and a half truth in verse 4-5.

4 "No! You will not die," the serpent said to the woman. 5 "In fact, God knows that when you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." 6 Then the woman saw that the tree was good for food and delightful to look at, and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate [it]; she also gave [some] to her husband, [who was] with her, and he ate [it]. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.

Verse 4 is the lie "No! You will not die," and verse 5 is a half truth. Both designed to point to God being a liar who is somehow holding out on them because He doesn't want them to be like Him, even further casting doubt over His character. That says He's is not to be trusted because He doesn't really have her best interest at heart, He’s not really good!

Satan indicates that he is just the good guy pointing out that God is deceitful and is holding the best back from them, he is the one to trust not God. Also that restriction and boundaries are somehow bad and that his advice is to ignore God and listen to him.

So that is Satan's strategy. Get us to question God's judgment, to undermine our confidence in Gods goodness, get us to take the place of God in our lives and believe that what God has restricted is much more exciting.

So she picks the fruit and eats and gives some to Adam and Sin enters the world through their disobedience. They disobeyed God's one simple command.They gained knowledge of good and evil but not at all in the way the Devil indicated. That knowledge was for the creator not the created and we can't handle it.

The Legacy of Eden!

So what legacy does that leave us with? I believe at the core of our sinful nature is a distrust of God's goodness. We have inherited that lie, that 'God is holding out on us'. The devil uses that more than any other method to tempt us to sin. One of my favorite passages in scripture highlights our state. Jeremiah 2:11-13

11 Has a nation ever changed its gods?(Yet they are not gods at all.) But my people have exchanged their Glory for worthless idols.

12 Be appalled at this, O heavens, and shudder with great horror, declares the LORD.

13 My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.

New International Version - UK (NIVUK) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

This passage clearly shows our sinful nature in action. We have forsaken God and decided to do our own thing to satisfy the thirst only God can meet. If we don't believe God can fully satisfy our needs, ie: that He is holding out on us, then we will go absolutely everywhere else to try and have them met. I have said before in my article on Knowing Gods Love, that this is at the root of every non pathological problem. Our core sin of displacing God and putting ourselves firmly on the throne drives all our problems and neurosis in life since we were never created to be there.
The moral breakdown we see all around in society is because '25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served something created instead of the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.' Romans 1:25When we worship anything other than The Lord God then it all goes horribly wrong, as that whole discourse in Romans 1 shows. It is what Adam and Eve did and is what we continue to do every day.

'Sin is any failure to conform to the moral law of God in act, attitude, or nature' (Sytematic Theology, (c)1994 Wayne Grudem, Inter-Varsity Press)

Our sinful nature delights to go against God's moral law. It is our legacy from Adam. We hate absolute boundaries, we hate life being out of our own control, we hate the idea that we are not in charge. Even as Christians we are still caught in this battle. We are no longer bound by sin and are set free but since we are being Sanctified, we are not there yet, therefore we still choose badly.

Why do we not believe it?

Because it is in our inherited nature to distrust that God is good! At the same time we are trying to regain what was lost in Eden, we are thirsty for a fully restored relationship with the Living God. The dissonance is obvious.

We can all declare that God is Good in our praise and worship times in church and in our prayers in groups but I believe in a good majority of cases if you looked deep in you heart it would be a different story. There is often that nagging doubt at the back of our minds that prevents us fully believing it, in case it isn’t true. Especially if you have been hurt by those you once trusted. The risk is too great to let go of that element of control, what if God lets me down, what if He isn’t to be trusted, what if He isn’t 100% good? However:

The heart is more deceitful than anything else and desperately sick—who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9

Since our core nature is to distrust God’s goodness then we look and become dependant on absolutely everything else except the one thing that can restore us and satisfy our thirst. Forever caught in the need for God’s pure living water and our natural inclination to ignore the offer of a drink. Most of the time we are not even aware that we are doing it. We so often don’t see this misplaced dependency and it can take a personal storm from God to reveal it sometimes.

We can think we are doing alright yet take a look under the surface and all sorts of things can be taking Gods place. Any addiction like alcohol, drugs, smoking, internet, sex etc... A relationship or relationships, work, church and so much more can all be the thing we are looking to in order to satisfy our thirst. We have an element of control in choosing those things even if it isn't felt choice. Where is life to be found is the question to ask yourself.

So what is God's Goodness?

So life can be pretty bad and not point to a good God. We inherently don't believe God is 100% good and for us and we look in the wrong places for the thing only god can provide. So what is this goodness that we don't trust in?

Goodness or to be Good is described in the dictionary as:

2 having the required qualities; of a high standard. 3 that which is morally right; virtuous.

The following are other aspects of the characteristic of God we call His goodness:

Love, Grace, Mercy and Long Suffering, Justice, Holiness, Righteousness

God's goodness is not something He chooses to be or do, He simply is good in His very nature. There is not an ounce of 'non-good' or bad in Him. Everything God does is morally perfect, right and unquestionably good. The difference is that we sometimes cannot see why God does things that seem to us contrary to His very nature. But we are making a judgment that we are not capable of making. We do not know the mind of God and can never do so since we are created not creator. The Bible states the characteristics of God and we simply must trust that they are so. If you don't view scripture as being the inerrant word of God then it will be all the harder to trust God.

Verses like James 1:17:

Every generous act and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights; with Him there is no variation or shadow cast by turning.

Psalm 86:15

But You, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abundant in faithful love and truth.

The reason I put that passage from The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe in was because it captures in a few words the message I would want to convey. That God is not to be messed with, He is the creator of everything and His power is beyond anything we can possibly grasp, He is not a tame God, not a God we can safely box into some category or idea. But He is undeniably good in all that He does. The facts are in scripture, that is the source of truth. Nothing that happens to us changes the facts. Yes the world can be an awful place to live sometimes. However we have a God who is so much bigger than any circumstance or hurt. He doesn't always deliver us out of painful situations but the whole character of God is for us (Romans 8:31) so we can stand confident in this fallen world with a God who 'IS' perfectly good.

All Bible quotes unless otherwise stated are from:

Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003 by Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville Tennessee. All rights reserved.

Half my life knowing God!

It suddenly dawned on me today that I have been a Christian for half of my life. Being 36 and having become a Christian at 18 doing the math means yes I have been a believer for 18 years. I found that quite shocking. Mainly because I still feel like a spiritual baby sometimes. Fine I have many opinions on things but I always feel immature compared against many other folks. Now I know comparing yourself against others is not a good thing to do and I do not do it that often. I am comfortable with who I am most of the time and generally where I am at.

However I still have this deep seated feeling of being young. I guess a lot of the time I still feel like a kid. I have childish impulses to do things that grown ups don't do. I remember when I was doing my counseling course at CWR, I was only 25 and felt very young. I felt why should any adult listen to me because of my age. However I still feel like that sometimes 11 years later when I am staring down 40 in the not too distant future. It is silly I know and I should get over it. One neurosis that I still have very strongly is the utter frustration and anger that I feel when I perceive someone isn't listening too me and taking my point seriously or worse still patronises me. Especially when I am not close to the Lord and looking to Him for my security and significance.

I am so glad that Christianity is not about being perfect or how good you are etc... God accepts us just as we are but loves us too much to leave us that way. I can't think of an apt bible verse at this point but I am sure there is one.

Anyway here's to another 18 years, God willing, discovering more about God through scripture and experience. Letting God mold me and shape me into the man He wants me to be.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

My Blog Is One Year Old!

Happy 1st Birthday to my Blog!!!

One year ago I started this ere blog thing on Blogger. Doesn't time fly?

Monday, May 21, 2007

A Weird State of Mind

I am still working on the long post on God's Goodness or something like that as each time I get to it the direction changes and that leads me to this post. The reason I haven't been able to finish that post is that lately my mind is all over the place. I cannot seem to focus on any one thing for long and my inspiration for deep spiritual insight has eluded me. I have lost my Mojo as Austin Powers would say though in reference to something very different.

I am emotionally all over the shop as well, very up and down. It is like I am not really me. At work I am bolshy and intolerant. At home tired and not as helpful as I should be and not doing the jobs I need to do. I just feel time is going by and I am not achieving anything that I want to. I am also feeling very paranoid as well which is never a good sign of my mental state. What do people think of me? Have I upset that person? Why did they blank me? and so on.... This is a sure sign that I have lost my spiritual direction and taken my eyes of the source of my security, being my Father in heaven.

I am busy at work, busy at home though not getting anything done. I think it may be not enough time to myself without constant distraction. But compared to my wife doing her PGCE I cannot complain really. She has been run into the ground by the course and compared to that I have got it easy.

Prayer and single mindedness to seek God are what is required here and some time to do so alone. When work calms down a bit I think a day off may be needed.

Gee, what a depressing post this is, sorry folks!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

God's sense of Humour

The title is not meant to be irreverent in any way as I definitely feel God has a sense of humour. The reason I say God has a sense of humour is because of what happened to me last weekend.

The churches in Horsham are running a week of community projects and events called 'Let's Go 2007'. Last weekend we held a fun weekend on a local housing estate. Now I had volunteered for this and had said to God I will be prepared to do whatever is required and serve without complaining. I got the details last Friday of the activities I had been asked to do and there was just the one. The five aside football tournament.

Now for anyone who knows me this is quite possibly the worst thing and most amusing thing I could be asked to do. I am the bloke who went shopping and cut the grass during the world cup matches. Anything other than watch them! I hate football!

So I dutifully turned up ready to serve doing whatever I was asked to do with the football tournament on Saturday. However when I got there it turned out they needed people to line judge etc... who understood football rules and specifically the off side rule. Not a clue, me! So I was able to go and help out with other rides and games which I enjoyed a great deal. Especially controlling a rodeo ride, wuhahaha, the power!

Anyway I found it funny and I am sure God chuckled about it. He was gracious enough to let me do something different even when I was prepared to do it. I think it was a heart test!

I gave in - My Internet Survey Results


Name: Andrew
Birthday: Yes I have one
Birthplace: Sutton, Surrey, UK
Current Location: Horsham, UK
Eye Color: Green
Hair Color: Blonde-ish
Height: 5'11''
Right Handed or Left Handed: Lefty
Your Heritage: English all the way!
The Shoes You Wore Today: brown trainers
Your Weakness: My cat's little miaow
Your Fears: Pain and dying before achieving my goals
Your Perfect Pizza: Chicken and spicy Beef
Goal You Would Like To Achieve This Year: Get to the end of it having learnt more!
Your Most Overused Phrase On an instant messenger: doh
Thoughts First Waking Up: already!
Your Best Physical Feature: Eyes and Bum apparently according to wifey!
Your Bedtime: Thats for me to know!
Your Most Missed Memory: Cornwall
Pepsi or Coke: Coke
MacDonalds or Burger King: Macs
Single or Group Dates: Single
Lipton Ice Tea or Nestea: Huh?
Chocolate or Vanilla: Vanilla
Cappuccino or Coffee: Coffee
Do you Smoke: Nope
Do you Swear: Try not to!
Do you Sing: Sometimes
Do you Shower Daily: Yup
Have you Been in Love: Certainly
Do you want to go to College: Done that!
Do you want to get Married: Already Am
Do you belive in yourself: Yup through Christ in me!
Do you get Motion Sickness: Yes
&..39;Do you think you are Attractive: Sometimes
Are you a Health Freak: No
Do you get along with your Parents: Usually
Do you like Thunderstorms: Most definitely
Do you play an Instrument: Drums
In the past month have you Drank Alcohol: No
In the past month have you Smoked: No
In the past month have you been on Drugs: No
In the past month have you gone on a Date: With my wife!
In the past month have you gone to a Mall: Yes
In the past month have you eaten a box of Oreos: Whatever they are, No!
In the past month have you eaten Sushi: Absolutely Never ever!
In the past month have you been on Stage: Yes
In the past month have you been Dumped: No
In the past month have you gone Skinny Dipping: No
In the past month have you Stolen Anything: No
Ever been Drunk: Yes before I became T-Total aged 17
Ever been called a Tease: No
Ever been Beaten up: Yes
Ever Shoplifted: only when a small child!
How do you want to Die: Quickly
What do you want to be when you Grow Up: I already Am! Its a bit late!
What country would you most like to Visit: Canada

In a Boy/Girl..

Favourite Eye Color: Brown
Favourite Hair Color: Brown
Short or Long Hair: Long
Height: 5'7''
Best Clothing Style: Casual
Number of Drugs I have taken: None
Number of CDs I own: Lots
Number of Piercings: None
Number of Tattoos: None
Number of things in my Past I Regret: Very Few!


Friday, May 11, 2007

Rush - "Snakes and Arrows"

This is just a quick review of the latest Rush album 'Snakes and Arrows'. I have been a Rush fan for nearly 20 year but I am not averse to criticising their work. The last Album 'Vapour Trails' was completely awful and I cannot listen to it without wincing, previous to that 'Test for Echo' isn't much better. So it was with some nervousness I ordered this release hoping they could recapture what they once had.

I have been pleasantly surprised which I am very happy about. Not only is this album easy to listen to but there are actually some strong melodic tunes in there which Vapour Trails seriously lacked. I think Alex Lifeson had too much say in the last album and has been reigned in here somewhat. There are elements of early 90's Rush and then even earlier stuff, not so much in sound but lyrical content and style.

Now I don't agree with a lot of Neil Peart lyrics on several songs. Though those particular ones were inspired while driving around the US and seeing the influence of fundamental Christianity. So I probably can't blame him and I am a fundamental Christian. It is annoying that the two songs I really disagree with are some of the best on the album. Oh well!

Anyway, for any Rush fan or for people looking for something fresh and interesting to listen to then I recommend this album. The boys are back and have found their musical roots again, hooray! Now to wait to see them in October!

Persecution in one of the Oldest Churches in Turkey!

Please read this link as it highlights more persecution of the Christian Church by Islamic Fundamentals in Turkey. I doubt I could be so forgiving faced with such savagery. What a witness and example these brothers and sisters in Christ are.

This church in Smyrna is mentioned in the book of Revelation and is one of the oldest churches in existence. What I find amazing is the reported fact that Evangelical Christianity is labeled as a terrorist organisation by the Turkish Security Directorate.

Another reason Turkey should not be allowed membership of the EU until it cleans up its human rights record.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Personality type we bring to our reading of scripture!

I am still working on the big post I mentioned previously but in the mean time.

This week something interesting and probably quite obvious struck me about how different people read scripture and what they get from it. The worship team I am part of is reading Psalms and every few weeks a different person shares something about how a particular Psalm has spoken to them etc...

In that context, this week the person sharing was quite honest and said they have found reading the psalms quite difficult as they can't really relate to a lot of them as they are full of 'woe is me', 'I'm in a hole', 'My enemies gather around me' etc... I found that interesting because that is the very reason I love the psalms. I love their honesty of the human condition, the painful heart felt cries of an anguished soul. David was a man really in touch with his emotions who was not afraid to pour them out before God.

The only Psalms this person did relate to were the straight praise Psalms. Now that I find a bit harder, though as I myself am currently learning about what it means to praise God and the power in it I am learning to relate to those as well.

This person said that on the whole they are a jolly and positive person. Now I can see, if that is the case then the 'woe' stuff could be seen as just very negative. However we have all been through tough times and been hurt to some extent so unless you are not fully in touch with your emotions and in some sort of denial then for me I find that point of view very hard to get my head around.

So taking that further if we read the Psalms that way then I guess we do that for the rest of scripture, take our baggage to it. I think that could be a little dangerous to some degree and we should always approach scripture with a heart open to what God wants to say to us and try and lay down our own pre-conceived ideas as much as is possible.

Anyway I thought that was interesting to observe.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Thoughts on Healing.

I have recently been challenged on my views in regard to healing in the church. To clarify, the place of God healing His people my means of the Holy Spirit when people are prayed for. This is specifically in regard to physical healing.

I am a member of a New Frontiers evangelical church that to label it if you must is 'charismatic'. That is it practices the 'charismata', the gifts of the spirit and believes they are as much for today's church as they were in the New Testament.

Now I don't have a problem with the gifts of the spirit at all and their manifestations. I sometimes doubt the genuineness of some peoples experience as I can be a cynical old hector but I also am mature enough to let it be between them and the Lord and not condemn them.

When it comes to healing I get quite cynical. I have no doubt of God's healing of the inner person. I have experienced significant emotional healing in my Christian life. It is physical healing where my attitude gets very negative. Let me be quite clear, I have no doubt at all that God can heal anything. He is sovereign over all things and His power is beyond comprehension.

However I really struggle with the whole praying for someone to be healed. I have certainly done it in the past and will continue to do it. Maybe my faith is so poor that it has an effect on the results. I guess it is the struggle with the age old question of why some are healed and others are not. Can you really declare that someone will be healed?

The new testament is full of examples of healing. Jesus obviously but also the apostles performed great acts healings. They had such bold faith as in Acts 3 when God healed the cripple through Peter and John.

It is so easy to lose heart and faith in God when you so desperately want someone to be healed and they aren't. A Christian may understand or at least have some trust in Gods sovereignty, but a non Christian would surely be turned away from God if nothing happened. My Father in law's dad is lying in hospital having caught a form of meningitis. He was a fairly fit 67 year old and within a day or two reduced to a body on life support with no cognitive brain function. I have asked my cell group and worship team to pray for him. I fasted for the first time ever for him and I don't even really know the man. I long to have the faith to go to the hospital, lay hands on him and say be healed in Jesus Name. How awesome would that be and glorifying to God. In my little world view I don't see why God doesn't do such things, its seems like the logical thing to do. To heal in face of no hope of recovery in the full glaze of the medical profession.

But that is where the problem I think lies. I am not God! I have no grasp of His eternal plan, thoughts or anything really. His ways are not our ways and He is not bound by what I see as the logical thing to do, He is sovereign! I must learn to just trust what He has said in the word. Jesus said we would do greater things than He did and He did a lot of healing of the sick and possessed.
I must persevere in trust and humility. It is clear from the gospels that God's desire is to heal and He has great compassion on those afflicted with sickness. Cynicism should have no place in my life as a believer. I have seen people healed, or certainly the after effects of it. A lady in my old church who was wheel chair bound and certified 70% disabled was healed and from then on danced joyfully in worship. A friend in my current church who's knee has been healed after he had been diagnosed with cartilage damage where his knee clicked constantly. Yet my cynicism takes hold again there. Why in church are healings always, backs, muscles, aches etc...? Jesus performed major miracles on lepers, deformities and other such very visible diseases. I think it is my logical, scientific mind wanting more proof. Though I doubt it would ever be satisfied.

I always play it safe and want to manage expectations. I think it has as much to do with my not wanting to feel let down by God than not wanting the person being prayed for to be hurt.

At the end of the day Lord I need more faith and trust in your goodness and that no matter what happens in this world your love, grace, mercy and faithfulness to us is constant and beyond anything I can grasp.

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6

Update to post @ 7:50 pm: I just found out that yesterday my father in law's Dads life support machine was turned off and he died this morning at 2am.

I guess I will never know what might have happened had I gone and prayed for him!

Please pray for the family, thanks?

Thursday, April 26, 2007

An Epic on the Horizon!

I am writing another one of my Epic posts, finally the one about God's goodness. It is taking longer than I thought as it is a large subject and not easy to tackle. Nearly there I think!

I have also been very busy at work and at home so time is squeezed and precious.

As an aside, I am actually liking Windows Vista. I am working on a deployment of said OS at work. I never thought I would say that but hey, even Bill can surprise me. The licensing is so Draconian that you would be totally out of your head to actually buy Vista. (That was not a suggestion of piracy by the way). I get to play with shiny toys at work sometimes and in this case I am impressed, especially with the Aero front end and the deployment tools. Oh well, I will have to live with XP because I am not paying for Vista no matter how much I like it!

Be back soon!

Friday, April 20, 2007

BBC anti-creationist Propaganda in series Waterloo Road and the T-rex Drumstick!

Well the Biased Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has taken another side-swipe in its war on non liberal Christianity and creation science while promoting Evolution as proven science.

In last nights episode of the TV series Waterloo Road the group providing the money for the new academy being built in the series turns out to be coming from an American group who are 'nutty fundamentalist creationists'. Who are anti-abortion and stem cell research. Who want to push their beliefs upon the children to promote their fundamental standpoint.

I knew where the story was going when this big, brash American character turns up and introduces himself and then promptly prays over the land where the academy foundations were being dug. Of course this sets off alarm bells. Then the American gives a pupil creationist books when she mentions she is interested in fossils and dinosaurs. What they essentially presented were largely correct creationist views. In that belief in age of the earth being 6000 odd years, Noah's flood, dinosaurs are thought to be what medieval mythology calls dragons. However the way it was presented of course made it sound utterly ludicrous to believe in, to logical minds because Darwinian, molecules to man evolution is fact. These are just nutty fundamentalist, religious views that have no merit at all and are secretly trying to push some religious faith view.

It was inevitable that a program about secondary English schools would sooner or later bring up the Evolution/Creation debate. It was also inevitable that any belief other than molecules to man evolution would be presented as dangerous fundamentalism designed to push a faith view that has no merit in 'real' scientific endeavor or place in teaching.

Now I agree that creationism should not be taught in school. Since teachers are invariably not going to support that view or have any real understanding of it. However what should be taught in school is that macro-evolution is not proven, observable fact. Children should not be just told this is fact, they should be taught critical analysis. Be presented with the evidence and allowed to make up their own minds.

A good example of the supposed 'evidence' for evolution is the so called T-Rex link to chickens around in the news at the moment. Now presented the way it is you could be fooled into going, uh ok! but look even a fraction below the surface and the story is very different. Click here and here for a more in depth analysis of this 'evidence'. So the protein is 58% similar to chickens therefore proving the evolutionary link between dinosaurs and birds. Well, hello, human protein is 81% similar to frogs and no one thinks we 'evolved' from frogs so it is just nonsense to make those assumptions. Also the amount of living creatures that this protein was compared to was limited. This is just a good example of presenting so called evidence when given a little critical thinking turns out to be nothing of the sort. In fact it presents a good case for creationist ages since it is implausible to have tissue survive for 68 million years. Beyond 2.7 million years at 0 degrees C was considered absolute maximum. That is a big margin of error me thinks!

Oh well what can one expect from that 'Great' British Institution that is the BBC. Certainly not balanced news reporting or program making it would seem!