Friday, 23 January 2015

Towards the Sunrise

Often we embark on a journey with no end in sight. We're not sure how long it will be, or even if we will end up where we want to be. Or at least where we thought we'd be. Such is the journey of life. Twists and turns. Unexpected moments. Some pleasant. Some not so.

But there are always blessings along the way.

The Children of Israel trekked through the wilderness with Moses for 40 years. Quite a journey. But they got there. And near the end of the journey there were unexpected blessings. One of them  is simply recorded- they camped just outside the Promised Land with their faces 'towards the sunrise'. They were travelling north, but as they looked east, they saw the sun rise.

It was a new day for them. They were at the start of something. A few verses later in the bible, we read that they found a well of water and sang a song of declaration over it- 'spring up o well!'

Wherever you are on your journey, take time to state your purposes. Declare them. Write them down.

And take time to look around. You've got this far! Enjoy the scenery. Look towards the sunrise.

(You can read the story in the bible- Numbers 21, v 10 onwards)

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Between The Bookends

‘I’m here between the bookends of everything that was and what will be’ It’s a quote from an Amy Grant song.
Every one of us is on a journey. We have no idea of where we are in the journey between those two bookends. In a sense, there is little or nothing we can do about that.
But what we can do is ensure that where we are right now is as effective and life affirming as it’s possible to be. To give our all. To live to the full.
The Apostle Paul said ‘God’s Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!’ That’s true for every one of us. There’s a life worth living, a life worth giving.
If I’m between the bookends with no idea at what particular point, I want to make my life count. So for me, with apologies to Amy Grant for changing the lyrics, it’s not ‘what will be’ but what, with God’s help, CAN be.
All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.
T. E. Lawrence

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.'