Drifting Down a River

Drifting Down a RiverI don’t know whether it is some thing that other Christians have discovered but I often find myself coming up with analogies for messages within the Scripture, especially those which connect with me on a deeper lesson. And this is one as “Drifting Down a River” came to me when I was reading a Christian blog post which in relation to 1 Timothy 4 the author had used the word drift. It was only a casual use of the word, there was no focus on it but it made me think back to my younger years as a Christian and gave me a picture as an analogy for it.

Imagine you are out canoeing with friends and you are drifting down a river which is littered with hazards. For a while when ever some thing would come along be it a rock or a thick patch of weed you put in the effort to navigate around it or go over it, or catch up with friends when they seem to be getting ahead. But then you start to not bother, you happily drift along looking at what is happening on the river banks and allowing the current to carry you, not putting in any effort at all until BAM Continue reading

When Life Doesn’t Turn Out as Expected

When Life Doesn't Turn Out as ExpectedI can remember when I was a teenager having a conversation with a friend about our plans for life. When I left school I was going to get a job at a recording studio, be married by 24 and would have two children by the time I was 30, whilst living in a nice detached modern home on a nice estate. In truth I don’t remember whether that plan involved God and church but I clearly had a plan for how my life was going to turn out and fully expected it to turn out like that. I am now 45 and life didn’t turn out as expected; I didn’t get a job in a recording studio, I didn’t get married, I didn’t have children and the closest I got to owning my own home was a rented room.

Of course over time those plans evolved and changed drastically as things didn’t turn out as expected. When, after leaving school and sending out over 140 CVs only to get no job offers, I ended up working in a supermarket and rolled with the punches, making the most of the situation, even when old school friends would come in and mention what they were doing, which always seemed so much better than my life. Continue reading

Life Lessons from a Shop Assistant

Life Lesson from a Shop AssistantA while back I was doing some shopping in my usual supermarket and as per usual there was only one of the eleven checkouts open, yes there are those self serve checkouts but every time I have used one I end up having to ask for help so tend to avoid them as much as I can. But on this day there was a gentleman going through the checkout in a mobility scooter and whilst I don’t know his situation I would hazard a guess that at some point he may have suffered a stroke. Now behind him was one customer, then me, and then a growing queue was forming behind me with some customers clearly getting impatient at having to wait.

But here is the life lesson which this shop assistant taught me that day without him even knowing it. He focused on serving this gentleman in his mobility scooter, never rushing him, in fact going above and beyond to make sure his shopping was secure, he had put his change away and was ready to move on rather than starting the next customer before he had moved on. Now the assistant whilst focussing on the gentleman would have had to have been blind not to see the queue which was forming as well as being aware of the impatience of some of the customers Continue reading

2 Timothy 1:6-7 – Verses from my 21st

2 Timothy 1:6-7 - Verses from my 21stI have mentioned before that for my 21st birthday, many many and a few more years ago, the pastor and his wife gave me a New Century Version youth bible as a present, maybe they were hinting at something with it being a youth bible. Anyway, inside the front cover alongside all the presented to, by, on this date stuff they had inscribed 2 Tim Chp 1 – 6 & 7.

This is why I remind you to keep using the gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. Now let it grow, as a small flame grows into a fire. God did not give us a spirit that makes us afraid but a spirit of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:6-7 (NCV)

It is because of that inscription 2 Timothy 1:6-7 has stuck with me all these years even when I wasn’t overly connected with my faith because I always thought that the pastor had judged me spot on. He knew that I was someone who preferred to be behind the scenes, in fact often hiding behind the scenes, and I was not the most courageous or confident of young Christians when it came to talking about my faith. Continue reading

A Focus on Prayer… or Not

A Focus on Prayer... or NotI love to pray; not something I would have said last year but since rediscovering my faith I realise how much I like to pray. Before I get out of bed in the morning I thank the Lord for the night’s sleep and the bed I have slept in whilst amongst other things asking him to bless my day ahead. I will pray before I do my morning bible study as well as after, I will pray as I walk along the street thanking God for the beauty of his creation. I will pray for the safety of a car driver who goes speeding down the road as well as those he speeds past. I will pretty much pray about anything and anyone and that includes prayers for myself from asking for restored health and finances to patience so that I will not be disheartened when something I would like to happen sooner rather than later doesn’t happen.

And I encourage others to pray as much as they can because it really changes your attitude when you try to be in conversation with God at all times. And don’t worry about wasting his time with what you might think are insignificant worries or prayers as God knows our hearts and he wants us to talk to him, he cares. Continue reading

Movie Review – Tuesdays with Morrie (1999)

Am I leading the life I want to lead. Am I person that I want to be. If we accept the fact we can die at any time we lead our lives differently – Morrie Schwartz

Jack Lemmon as Morrie Schwartz in Tuesdays with Morrie (1999)
Jack Lemmon as Morrie Schwartz in Tuesdays with Morrie (1999)

As a sports journalist Mitch Albom (Hank Azaria) is always on the go, covering one sporting event after another and always in a race against time to meet deadlines. It is little wonder that his girlfriend, Janine (Wendy Moniz), is beginning to question whether they have a future together despite knowing full well that they both love each other deeply. But it is in one of those moments where Mitch finds himself doing a dozen things at once that he sees his old professor, Morrie Schwartz (Jack Lemmon), on TV being interviewed as he is dying having been diagnosed with ALS and is determined to use his experience to help others. It leads to Mitch flying to Boston to visit Morrie but it also leads to Mitch returning every Tuesday as Morrie sets about teaching Mitch how to truly live.

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The Feeding of the Four Thousand or a Lot of Fish Finger Sandwiches

The Feeding of the Four Thousand or a Lot of Fish Finger SandwichesLooking back on my life you could say I was a bit of a know it all as a child or at least the sort of child who would quickly think he understood something and would not be told any different. It makes me wonder how on Earth I would cope if I was a parent to a child who was anything close to how I was when I was younger as I am sure I must have frustrated my parents no end when it came to being told anything.

One of those things I thought I knew was the story of Jesus feeding the multitudes with a few fishes and some bread because I don’t know how many times as a child I heard the story of Jesus taking a few loaves along with some fishes and performing a miracle. Yet years later I discovered that there were two separate occurrences of Jesus performing this miracle first feeding five thousand (Matthew 14:13-21) and then later on feeding four thousand (Matthew 15:29-39). Yes, I took time to read the Bible rather than just half taking in what was being said in church.

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3 Songs, 3 Moods

3 songs, 3 MoodsFor those who become Christians now you have never had it so good, musically. It is something which really grabbed me when I reconnected with my faith after 2 decades of not going to church because the wide variety of songs and Christian artists which I found myself listening to was blowing me away. From beautiful acoustic versions of old classics to lively praise songs it was a far cry from what I grew up on. To give you an understanding of that the first 10 years of my life were very much the classics as in “To God be the Glory” and “Morning Has Broken”, during my teens that became “Shine Jesus Shine” and “El Shaddai”. And outside of the music we sang in church there were Christian bands such as Stryper and DC Talk. Continue reading

Sunday Dread – Being an Introvert in Church

Sunday Dread - Being an Introvert in ChurchIt’s Sunday morning and I am feeling good because church starts in a couple of hours which means great worship and great preaching. Yet at the same time there is a sense of dread simmering up inside as I know I should get there early to join in the social activities before church but I never feel comfortable with making small talk. And I know after we have sung the first couple of songs we will be told to turn around and greet someone nearby, and that means more small talk. And then there is the social bit afterwards as people mill around enjoying coffee and more small talk. You see it isn’t that I am anti-social, I genuinely like people, but I am an introvert who suffers from anxiety issues, I’ve never been married, don’t have children and there are days when I get home from church exhausted by all the social interaction and small talk. To be honest there are times I get home from church feeling a little depressed because week after week I hear the call to be Christ filled evangelical Christians, go-getters for the Lord yet all I want to do in that moment is retreat, shut myself off from human contact and have some solitude. Continue reading

GIGO

GIGOMany years ago I worked as a computer programmer and one of the things I learned was the acronym GIGO (Garbage in, Garbage Out) which simply means that if what you typed in to the computer was rubbish you would get rubbish out. And there is a lot of truth to GIGO when we relate it to other things; such as a car, if you put bad oil or petrol in it then it isn’t going to work as well as it should. And it is the same with us especially when it comes to what we watch, read and listen to; in my case that was especially true when it came to what I watched. Continue reading

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