Monday, 8 December 2014

Using The F Word

A few years back I had the privilege of attending a pension’s event in Australia. (Stay with me- I know pensions is pretty much a ‘click to the next article’ subject). One of the guest speakers was Dr John Trickell. He was discussing longevity- a hot topic for us pension geeks!

Dr Trickell said we had to start using the ‘F’ words – fun, family, friendships and faith. It is these four ‘f’s that give us long life. He went on to prove it with research and data.

It makes sense. A good combination of a healthy lifestyle with lots of family and friends around. And linked to a real faith that there is more to life than just the latest paycheque or the newest gadget. (Which is why I HATE Black Friday by the way).

So it was interesting to note a new article on the BBC website today, investigating a community that lives a lot longer- and a lot healthier- than most. They are a church community in California.

Fun, family, friendships and faith. Try it. It works.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Black Friday or Red Friday?

I must admit it had passed me by. Black Friday that is. It was only on the actual day that I noticed it, so I guess I can be grateful that I managed to avoid most of the hype.

Apparently, it’s the day after Thanksgiving in the States. I’m pretty sure we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving over here, so it’s sad that we decided to import the day after. Or did we?

Of course, it’s not ‘our’ import at all - ‘us’ being the Great British population. It’s the retailers. Another opportunity to make some money. Another ‘sale’. And sadly, we fall for it.

I much prefer Red Friday. Instead of needless taking, it’s about selfless giving. One man who gave all.

Black Friday? Bad Friday. Red Friday? Good Friday.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

REPOST: When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say.....

As we commemorate Remembrance Day this Sunday, it's 100 years since the outbreak of world war one. It's reflected with an amazing display at the Tower of London.

This is a repost of my visit to a particular battle ground in North East India. The poem is haunting in its simplicity.

Over the last three weeks, I have had the immense privilege of working with some of the most wonderful people in the world. I'm sure there will be more stories to follow, but this seems appropriate with Remembrance Day around the corner. 

During my time in Nagaland, an extreme North-East State in India, I was able to drive to Kohima. Here there is one of the best kept war cemeteries I have seen, a memorial to all those who gave their lives in what was the turning point in the Indian war against the Japanese in 1944. Amongst the thousands of graves, each one recording a British or Indian soldier, usually in their early twenties, there is a poem, called the Kohima Epitaph, and copied by many other war memorials. This is what it says:

When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say,
For your Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today.

Simple and poignant. Still as true today. Let's not forget. [November 2011]

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

The Birth of Something New

It’s not every day you get to take part in launching a new church. But that’s what we did on Sunday.

After a year of preparation, team forming, moving house, LifeGroups and CafĂ© Church, the real thing arrived at City of Leicester College on Sunday. 317 people walked through the door. Admittedly, that included over 150 from our sister churches in Peterborough and Cambridge, but it’s a great start.

KingsGate Church Leicester is for those that don’t like church or used to go to church. If that’s you and you are within reach of us, see you on Sunday at 4.30 in the afternoon.

Leicester has a rich history of Christian enterprise and mission. It’s a privilege to be joining those that have gone before us and those already engaged in seeing the 10th biggest city in England transformed by the power of God’s love.

Bring on week two!

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Sunday Sunshine in Leicestershire

A few musings from my daily diary today.....

'It's a beautifully sunny Sunday morning and I'm sitting in the back garden, looking over the rolling fields. The sheep are on the far side today and I can see the cattle in the distance.

The bird feeder is doing good business. A flock of sparrows come and go. They do great damage to the two containers with normal seed, spilling the contents onto the floor in a flurry of wings. Having seemingly spilled a lot and eaten little, they contentedly sit as a flock in the nearby rosebush, observing their destructive handiwork.

There's two starlings in attendance too. They don't balance too well as they try and eat the fat cubes. One seems to be the baby of the other and even in this extended summer, it's still calling for attention.

A robin stands contentedly on the floor below the feeders, picking up a King's breakfast from what the sparrows drop.

A blue tit flits in and out from the peanuts, startled by the noise from the starlings. There's a great tit in attendance too.

The swallows are still here, occasionally landing on our roof, and because of the Velux windows, we get a close view of their beauty.

A cock crows in the distance and I pray a prayer of thanksgiving to the God of all creation.'

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Ten Years Ago Most Clouds Were Wet

30 years ago, there was no Internet.

20 years ago there were only 130 websites. You couldn’t Google anything.

10 years ago, most clouds were wet.

Today there are over 10 billion mobile devices. 40,000 Google searches every second. 3.5 billion a day. 1.2 trillion a year.

We live in an instant society. Fast food. Fast answers. Instant texts.

But some things stay the same.

The Bible says of God: ‘I am the Lord, and I do not change.’ (Malachi 3:6)

Friday, 12 September 2014

Moving House

We moved house on 10th June.

It took Severn Trent Water a day to change our contract. Scottish Power - a day. Sky TV - two days. Driving licence change - a week.

BT broadband? 91 days and 4 hours.

Incredible incompetence, a lack of customer care and an Openreach operation out of control meant we went around in circles for a long time. All BT seemed able to do was the equivalent to switching an appliance off at the mains, and then back on again, hoping against hope that it works next time around.

I'd like to record here my thanks to all my friends who helped me bombard BT with tweets. Over 200 tweets were sent and I'm sure that was one of the main reasons we got somewhere in the end.

It doesn't seem right that Openreach can dictate what company we use either. We started with Sky, because of the good deal they had. But a month in and a few 'failed connections', Openreach said that they were 'unable to support' another provider. So I had to move to BT. Twice the cost. Half the service.

And that's when the real fun began. It turns out that BT Retail have no say over what BT Openreach do. Or in my case, don't do.

My thanks to Tracey and Robbie from BT Retail for their persistence on my behalf. But in this day and age, to take 91 days without any good reason beyond a 'software problem' is not acceptable.

One of the tweets I sent a number of times referred to BT being 'the worst company in the world'. I stand by that. Don't use them. Unless, like me, you have to.