Thursday, 22 September 2011

"Sorry Coach, I can't Make Sunday!"

Paul Levy at the Reformation 21 blog just wrote a short post about Euan Murray the Scottish prop, who shall not be playing on Sundays throughout the rugby world cup. Full story at the BBC sports site.

Murray, well known for being a christian was quoted saying,  
"It's basically all or nothing, following Jesus. I don't believe in pick 'n' mix Christianity. I believe the Bible is the word of God, so who am I to ignore something from it? I might as well tear out that page then keep tearing out pages as and when it suits me. If I started out like that there would soon be nothing left. I want to live my life believing and doing the things (God) wants and the Sabbath day is a full day. It's not a case of a couple of hours in church then playing rugby or going down the pub, it's the full day."
A lot of sport is played on Sundays. Murray feels there should be no sport played on Sundays and hopes for change in the future. I can't see it happening though! 

Murray has always been outspoken about his faith. It's great to see sportsmen who are radical and serious about their faith speaking out regularly in public. There have been numerous sportsmen in the past who have done the same Eric Liddell and Jonathan Edwards among the most famous.

Jason Robinson (another well known Christian) actually committed his life to Christ because his Wigan team-mate Va'aiga Tuigamala was open about his faith in Christ.

I am sure Murray's comments will draw a lot of attention, both positive and negative. I say fair play to the bloke! We need to see more Christians at all level of sport taking their stand for Christ!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Rugby World Cup 2011...

Every sport has its trademark event/tournament. Tennis has Wimbledon, American football has the super bowl and Rugby has the world cup. 

It all started in 1987 as sixteen teams gathered in New Zealand and Australia to play the month long tournament. New Zealand dominated and rightly won the tournament, beating France 29-9 at Eden Park in Auckland. 

A lot of change has taken place since that first world cup. In the twenty four years that have passed, five other world cups have been and gone seeing Australia (1991 & 1999) and South Africa (1995 & 2007) running out winners twice each and England once (2003). The game turned professional after the 1995 world cup which obviously has brought a lot of money into the game. Back in 87, 91 and 95 players would have had to taken time out of their day jobs to travel to the tournaments. 

On the 9th September the 2011 world cup kicked off with New Zealand beating Tonga 41-10. New Zealand are once again the hosts, so obviously there is a lot of speculation about whether they can finally win the title again. Those of you who follow rugby closely will know that the Kiwis have a reputation for 'choking' when the pressure comes. In 2007 they were once again halted by a tenacious French side. They meet the French this Friday in their third pool game.
The problem with the French is you never know whether they are going to turn up. At their best they can rip to shreds even the best sides in the world, but they are unpredictable and erratic. In 2007 they looked unstoppable after beating a strong Kiwi side, only to be halted by a mediocre English team who gritted their way all the to the final. 

England's finest moment came in 2003 when Martin Johnson's men lifted the Web-Ellis cup. Despite looking lethargic and playing boring rugby (well that's what the Aussies said!) we still beat every team we faced. I'm not surprised either. The strength of the squad that we had was simply incomparable with the players we have at our disposal at present. No one can stand even close to the likes of Martin Johnson, Hill, Jason Robinson, Josh Lewsey, Neil Back, Laurence Dallaglio, Ben Cohen, Will Greenwood and the Jonny Wilkinson of 2003. 

Since then, England just haven't been a team that I can be optimistic about. I don't know if it is because I am expecting too much from them. I just want to see an England team dominating world rugby like they did between 2001-2003. Maybe I should just be content with winning games. After all we have won our first two games of the world cup beating Argentina (Just!) and Georgia which the Aussies have failed to do.

Australia, one of the tournament favourites lost to Ireland. The Irish really dug their heels in and took the game to the Wallabies and they came away with a deserved win. I always like to see the Aussies lose, it makes all the taunts of David Campese a little less bitter.

If you asked me to pick a winner, I think I would struggle. From what I have seen so far it is wide open. South Africa look strong, as do New Zealand. South Africa have the knack of turning up to world cups and playing some of their best rugby, where as New Zealand generally fall. Will the home advantage serve the Kiwis? I don't know. 

I guess we will just have to wait and see.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Moving At The Speed Of Life...

Life is an interesting thing. At times it goes by in a flash, sometimes it is mind numbingly slow. Last Tuesday was one a moment where the speed of life really smack me in the face, as I celebrated my twentieth birthday. The years have well and truly flown by. It seems like only five minutes ago I was seven years old and running around on the school playground playing tag!


On Saturday I will be moving to Exeter to start studying Theology. The summer has flown by and now I find many new experiences and challenges staring me right in the face. Our time spent at university (so I have been told) is the time in life where we change the most, it's the time when we form our outlooks on life that stay with us and the time when we make friends that will journey with us through life.  

For the past few weeks I have been in a rather anxious state, wondering what university life is going to be like. Will I be able to make new friends? Will I lose contact with my current friends? Will I cope with the work load? Those of you who know me reasonably well will know how much of a worrier I am. 

Then yesterday it hit me. For someone who raves about the sovereignty of God, I wasn't acting as if God is sovereign. I was worrying about all these things when the truth of the matter is that GOD IS IN CONTROL! God knew that I would go to Exeter university, God knew that I would study Theology, God knows who I am going to be living with and by his grace and the power of the Holy Spirit he will empower me. 

The next few years are going to provide some of the most joyous, challenging and life changing times of my life. I look forward to journeying with my awesome God (for the remainder of my life) and having him as the centre of all that I do. He has been faithful to me, guiding me, leading me my entire life even if I didn't know it and appreciate it for the first fifteen years. God's grace is sufficient for me and for you.

God's answer to Job...Pt 2

Chapter 39
1"Do you know when the mountain goats give birth?
   Do you observe the calving of the does?
2Can you number the months that they fulfill,
   and do you know the time when they give birth,
3when they crouch, bring forth their offspring,
   and are delivered of their young?
4Their young ones become strong; they grow up in the open;
   they go out and do not return to them.
 5"Who has let the wild donkey go free?
   Who has loosed the bonds of the swift donkey,
6to whom I have given the arid plain for his home
   and the salt land for his dwelling place?
7He scorns the tumult of the city;
   he hears not the shouts of the driver.
8He ranges the mountains as his pasture,
   and he searches after every green thing.
 9"Is the wild ox willing to serve you?
   Will he spend the night at your manger?
10Can you bind him in the furrow with ropes,
   or will he harrow the valleys after you?
11Will you depend on him because his strength is great,
   and will you leave to him your labor?
12Do you have faith in him that he will return your grain
   and gather it to your threshing floor?
 13"The wings of the ostrich wave proudly,
   but are they the pinions and plumage of love?[a]
14For she leaves her eggs to the earth
   and lets them be warmed on the ground,
15forgetting that a foot may crush them
   and that the wild beast may trample them.
16She deals cruelly with her young, as if they were not hers;
   though her labor be in vain, yet she has no fear,
17because God has made her forget wisdom
   and given her no share in understanding.
18When she rouses herself to flee,[b]
   she laughs at the horse and his rider.
 19"Do you give the horse his might?
   Do you clothe his neck with a mane?
20Do you make him leap like the locust?
   His majestic snorting is terrifying.
21He paws[c] in the valley and exults in his strength;
   he goes out to meet the weapons.
22He laughs at fear and is not dismayed;
   he does not turn back from the sword.
23Upon him rattle the quiver,
   the flashing spear, and the javelin.
24With fierceness and rage he swallows the ground;
   he cannot stand still at the sound of the trumpet.
25When the trumpet sounds, he says 'Aha!'
   He smells the battle from afar,
   the thunder of the captains, and the shouting.
 26"Is it by your understanding that the hawk soars
   and spreads his wings toward the south?
27Is it at your command that the eagle mounts up
   and makes his nest on high?
28On the rock he dwells and makes his home,
   on the rocky crag and stronghold.
29From there he spies out the prey;
   his eyes behold it from far away.
30His young ones suck up blood,
   and where the slain are, there is he."

Sunday, 18 September 2011

God's answer to Job...

 Chapter 38:
1Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:
 2"Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? 3 Dress for action[a] like a man;
   I will question you, and you make it known to me.
 4"Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
   Tell me, if you have understanding.
5Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
   Or who stretched the line upon it?
6On what were its bases sunk,
   or who laid its cornerstone,
7when the morning stars sang together
   and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
 8"Or who shut in the sea with doors
   when it burst out from the womb,
9when I made clouds its garment
   and thick darkness its swaddling band,
10and prescribed limits for it
   and set bars and doors,
11and said, 'Thus far shall you come, and no farther,
   and here shall your proud waves be stayed'?
 12"Have you commanded the morning since your days began,
   and caused the dawn to know its place,
13that it might take hold of the skirts of the earth,
   and the wicked be shaken out of it?
14It is changed like clay under the seal,
   and its features stand out like a garment.
15From the wicked their light is withheld,
   and their uplifted arm is broken.
 16"Have you entered into the springs of the sea,
   or walked in the recesses of the deep?
17Have the gates of death been revealed to you,
   or have you seen the gates of deep darkness?
18Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth?
   Declare, if you know all this.
 19"Where is the way to the dwelling of light,
   and where is the place of darkness,
20that you may take it to its territory
   and that you may discern the paths to its home?
21You know, for you were born then,
   and the number of your days is great!
 22"Have you entered the storehouses of the snow,
   or have you seen the storehouses of the hail,
23which I have reserved for the time of trouble,
   for the day of battle and war?
24What is the way to the place where the light is distributed,
   or where the east wind is scattered upon the earth?
 25"Who has cleft a channel for the torrents of rain
   and a way for the thunderbolt,
26to bring rain on a land where no man is,
   on the desert in which there is no man,
27to satisfy the waste and desolate land,
   and to make the ground sprout with grass?
 28"Has the rain a father,
   or who has begotten the drops of dew?
29From whose womb did the ice come forth,
   and who has given birth to the frost of heaven?
30The waters become hard like stone,
   and the face of the deep is frozen.
 31"Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades
   or loose the cords of Orion?
32Can you lead forth the Mazzaroth[b] in their season,
   or can you guide the Bear with its children?
33Do you know the ordinances of the heavens?
   Can you establish their rule on the earth?
 34"Can you lift up your voice to the clouds,
   that a flood of waters may cover you?
35Can you send forth lightnings, that they may go
   and say to you, 'Here we are'?
36Who has put wisdom in the inward parts[c]
   or given understanding to the mind?[d]
37Who can number the clouds by wisdom?
   Or who can tilt the waterskins of the heavens,
38when the dust runs into a mass
   and the clods stick fast together?
 39"Can you hunt the prey for the lion,
   or satisfy the appetite of the young lions,
40when they crouch in their dens
   or lie in wait in their thicket?
41Who provides for the raven its prey,
   when its young ones cry to God for help,
   and wander about for lack of food?

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Adventures in the Peak District

This week I have been up in the Peak District visiting my uncle. This trip has offered a chance to get away from the busy life and relax before heading off to university in a few weeks time.

Being in the countryside provides freedom to roam the fields and get to grips with nature. On Monday we went for a walk around the Derwent reservoir dam. The scenery is just spectacular.

This is a popular cycle and walk route and bank holiday Monday sure attracted a lot of visitors. I can see why. The main track goes all the way around the water, which meant we walked roughly 12 miles.

Yesterday we took a short walk into local town Bakewell (Home of the Bakewell tart). We had a look around the few shops there was and then had lunch by the river. The river is highly populated by different bird species, however wherever I seem to go there is always sea gulls!

Local farmers like to keep a variety of animals. Up the road is a small herd of not so wild wild boar. On the way to Bakewell are three Lamas and today we walked through a field of water buffalo. Not your average farmyard animals.

Being in the countryside is great but I don't think I could live there full time. I'm a city/town boy through and through. I like people. And there aren't many people in the country. Being here this week has really confirmed that I want to live in a big city one day. Where? I don't know yet. I guess we shall just see.

We have a few more days up here so i'm sure I will post some pictures before the week is over.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Sproul, Driscoll, Chandler and Tchividjian Panel Discussion

Very interesting panel discussion between these four very respected pastor/preacher/theologians. Check it out!


Thursday, 25 August 2011

The Man, The Message, The Mission

At the annual youth camp Newday, I was bought a copy of a book called Church Planter: The Man, The Message, The Mission by Darrin Patrick. Patrick is heavily involved in the Acts 29 church planting movement alongside men such as Mark Driscoll and Matt Chandler. I hadn't heard of Patrick prior to reading this book so I was not sure what to expect.

The cover itself is very striking. At first I thought I had been bought a horror novel, but soon saw the title. The cover offers a great glimpse into what Church Planting is actually like. As Patrick shows, it's a lot tougher a task than it is often made out to be. We see all these successful plants all around but we very rarely see all the hard work, times of desperation and stress that go into it.

Patrick has written a brilliant book, aimed mainly at an American audience which was it's only downfall for me. At times I found it hard to engage with it as it isn't aimed at British readers. Despite this there is a lot that we can learn from Darrin and his buddy's over at the Acts 29 camp.

If you are a man currently in ministry, a man feeling the call of God on your life for pastoral ministry or church planting, this is a book for you. Check it out and let me know what you think! 

FP Impact 2010/2011

I find it slightly strange, if not crazy looking back and thinking that a whole year has gone by. Most of you who read this blog will know that I have spent the last year at Gateway Church Poole doing a FP Impact year. This is a year dedicated to growing in your relationship with God whilst working in the local church.

The year provides opportunities to develop gifting and more importantly character. You are well and truly thrown in the deep end, out of your depth often not knowing what to do. This is the beauty of it. When you don't know where your next months rent is coming from or where you are going to be after the year, you are forced to run to the steadfast rock that is our God.

There were several times in the year that I thought about jacking it all in and just moving back to Winchester and working. There were times when I struggled to sleep because of an upcoming task I had to do. Through it all I have found God to be so faithful to me. Never letting me out of his safe grip whilst at the same time allowing me to be tested. His grace has really been overwhelming.

Many people choose to stay at their home church for the year. I chose to move away to experience life away from home as well as a new environment---if you are going to do an Impact year I would definatly recommend this option. Doing this provided me with freedom to grow and to be myself without any of the baggage that I had back in Winchester. It also gave me to opportunity to make many new friends and to get alongside many fathers in the faith.
I am a firm beleiver in the caught not taught method of learning. I believe you can learn just as much, if not more just from hanging out with someone than by them teaching you. This year has provided fantastic opportunities to hang out and learn from men who love God, love their wives and are amazing fathers to their children. It has been invaluable spending time with, being encouraged and more often than not corrected by these men. Thanks to James Pope, Jon Clark, Alan Mainstone, Matt Hosier, Mark Absolom, Steve Cox, Gordan Carter and Rich Stamp. There are many others whom I am also very grateful to.

Another beauty of the year is being able to share it with other people. Gateway had three students this year Rich Fishlock, Jacqueline Bennion and myself. I also need to include Elsbeth Barnett in this section as well because even though she was not a Impact student she served as the church administrator. These three have proved to be three of my closest friends. I cannot be more thankful for the times we have been able to spend together. A man could not ask for three better companions in his pursuit of God! You are all an inspiration and massive encouragement!

The year also helps you to see and to clarify what God is really calling you to do with your life. We all have a calling and our callings will all be very unique. God has really been speaking to me and preparing me for my future. I have been in a church where the word of God is esteemed very very highly and it is faithfully preached week in week out, with extreme care and accuracy. The church also knows how to worship God. Some of my favourite nights with the church were our prayer and praise evenings where we would just sing and praise God using his word.

I could probably write a whole book on my experiences as a FP Impact student, that's the extent of how much you gain and get out of the year. None of it would really be possible without support from so many people. It would be impossible to name them all. I really want to thank everyone at Gateway Church Poole for being a church where there is evidence of the grace of God. Just as Barnabbas encouraged the Antioch church I want to encourage you to stay true to the Lord with your whole hearts (Acts 11:22-23).

I also want to thank my friends and family who have been praying for me and supporting me in anyway possible, whether that be financially or by being an encouragement. Thank you also to Winchester Family Church for your love, support and prayer throughout the entire year.

What a fantastic year. I am excited for all that is ahead of me. Grace and peace to you all!


Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Newday

7000 teenagers, lots of tents, thunder lightning and floods, great camping food, destroyed marquees and a whole lot of worshipping our sovereign God. It can only be Newday! Last week Verve youth group (part of Gateway Church Poole) travelled to Norwich showground to join with other teenagers from around the country and even greater from other nations.

Newday is Newfrontiers big youth event. This year was the eighth year that it has run, and God's hand has been upon it. Every year it seems to get bigger! I have gone for the previous four years as a member of Winchester Family Church's youth group, but this year was a big change as for you first time I was a leader!

For leaders, the weeks leading up to Newday are a mix of emotions. You are excited to see God transform the young peoples lives but are also anxious about the pranks that they are planning. Being one of the worst youth to ever grace the Newday campsite, it would have been justice for the youth I was in charge of to terrorise me. But God is gracious and he gives us what we don't deserve!

The Gateway Church group had a great time. We had late night fashion shows, late night farting competition (...leaders...), water fights, water slides with tuna on them (thanks Elsie Barnett) and morning sing songs. Camp morale was very high! I must say, this year was my favourite year of Newday purely because everyone got along, we had a great time together and you could truly see that we are a family.

Newday is well known for its bible teaching. As ever it was of the highest standard. Stef Liston kicked the conference off. He is really becoming one of the best preachers around. The man just oozes passion and humility. We were also blessed by having Steve Chong join us from Sydney Australia. He spent four mornings preaching to us and served us brilliantly.

If you have never been to Newday I would highly recommend it. Even if you go as a server, the experience is worth it. This may be the last year I go. We shall see. Thank you God for giving us Newday and for using it to raise the next generation of disciples and thank you Newday for giving us great memories and opportunities to meet with God.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Newday 2011

The event that all of Newfrontiers teenagers are buzzing for is only twelve days away. I'm going as a leader this year, and I am just as excited, if not more excited than our youth.

Over the years Newday has been a massive blessing to me. It has been a week that has massively shaped the man that I now am, through my powerful encounters with God and also some of the mischief and good times that were had.

Is there anything more exciting than seeing 7000 teenagers enthusiastically praising God? I can't think of anything off the top of my head. We (Yes I include myself) are the next generation. We need to step up and take our place advancing the kingdom of God whether that be at School, College or University. We need to be radical about our relationship with God, our purity and his great mission. Newday takes on all these issues. It looks to stir up our young people to take responsibility for their relationship with God and to equip them to advance the kingdom of God.

I cannot wait! God really moved with our leaders, and I am praying that he moves just as powerfully with our young people! I will write a report on the event when we are back!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

TOAM 2011

I am not going to write a report of the event or write summarys of the main sessions. Other men have already done that and have done a better job than I could do (Check out Adrian Warnock's blog). I simply want to reflect on some of my highlights of this fantastic event.

I was not sure what to expect of the event. In previous years I have listened to material from the event and been immensely blessed, however in person it was a whole new experience. This year was the last last TOAM as Newfrontiers looks to split into multiple spheres.

Taken from adrianwarnock.com
  1. Seeing the big picture...Being a part of a conference like this really enables you to see the big picture. I often find that I all too often get caught up in my own little world and forget that the kingdoms battles are being fought all over the world. Thursday night blew away this self centredness that I get caught up in. There were thousands of people crammed into the auditorium praying for all the different spheres around the world. We prayed for our brothers in the Americas, Africa, UK, Pacific Rim, Asia, Eastern Europe and Europe as a whole. God is on the move around the world. He is using ordinary men and women to do fantastic things.  
  2. This is where the party is...Coupled with being a prayer meeting, Thursday evening was a celebration evening. In the leaders morning session a prophetic word was bought about the evening session being a "coming of age party". Christians are often deemed as being boring and cold. Anyone who saw Thursday night would have to change their mind about that!
  3. P-J Smyth on Suffering, sickness and healing...Listen to it! This was one of the best sermons I have ever heard and the best I have ever heard on this subject. P-J handled it fantastically and I really came face to face with God. I saw God's sovereignty afresh. Before the evening I knew it, I could tell what it looked like but I hadn't seen it! Now I have, thank you Mr Smyth for serving us so well.
  4. Thank you Nigel Ring...What a man of God! Nigel Ring has served Newfrontiers from the beginning. He handles loads of the administration work and has done so faithfully for years. After Terry's final session we got to honour Nigel for all his hard work over the years. The whole room was on their feet chapping, with many in tears. Thank you for all your hard work Nigel. 

What a great week. I was immensely blessed through the experience. God is so faithful and my prayer is that we will continue to cling to him as we look to advance the kingdom of God and see thousands of churches planted across the world.

Friday, 24 June 2011

5 reasons you should consider doing FP Impact

Between college and Uni? Between Uni and Work? Want to take a gap year or just want to spend a year of your life serving God? Then FP Impact is for you! 

  1. YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD WILL DEEPEN as you spend the year serving him and pursuing him. You are put in an environment where you are forced to trust and rely on him for provision, faith, courage, boldness and much more. You will be surrounded by godly men and women who are for you and for your growth in God. I once heard it said that doing FP Impact is like getting three years growth in one year...I would agree!
  2. YOUR THEOLOGICAL UNDERSTANDING WILL GROW as you travel to your training base to undertake sessions which will both intellectually and practically challenge you. The bible will come alive as you dive into its truth. You will get sound teaching on topics such as the kingdom, creation, eschatology, the cross and resurrection, the church and many more.
  3. YOU WILL MAKE DEEP AND LASTING FRIENDSHIPS. Impact allows you to get to know many different people. One great thing is that you are all in pretty much the same place when you come into the year. It is a privilage seeing others grow and deepen in their love of God. Mutual encouragement is a big part of the year.
  4. WHAT IS GOD CALLING YOU TO DO? You may have some idea already. You may not. In both cases impact will help you along the road. You will be given guidance, will be prayed for and will be taught to walk in God's promises for your life.
  5. IT WILL BE GOOD FOR YOU...See above!

Those are the benefits for you...however there are many more benefits! Your church will benefit from your service. You will impact and bless many peoples lives. Consider it...you will not regret it!

Farewell Bristol

Those of you who have been following me for some time will know that I travel to Bristol on a fairly regular basis for Theological training. This has been richly rewarding and I cannot thank God enough what he has done, the input he has given me and the friends he has allowed me to make. 


This past week was the last time I shall be in Bristol for some time. Training is finished! Time flies! It seems like only yesterday that we were on the train there for the first time. It seems like only yesterday that I walked into a room of thirty people whom I didn't know.

Ten months on I have made some fantastic friendships. One thing that stood out about our group was the unity. Usually when you bring thirty people together cleaks are formed. Not with our group! It was beautiful! 



We were extremely blessed to be looked after by two fantastic men of God. Simon Walker and Jonathon Bradshaw do a fantastic job of organising all our sessions, arranging brilliant socials (Boat trips included) and generally getting along side us throughout the year. We have been blessed by their service.


Brothers and sisters from the Bristol base, it has been a pleasure sharing this experience with you. We have been through a lot and I thank God for being faithful to us all. It seems fitting to end this post with a prayer. 


Father, I thank you for your faithfulness to us all this year. I want to ask for your blessing upon my brothers and sisters as we all move on to our next phase of life. Lord, I thank you for what you have done with us this year and I pray that we would all continue to mature and grow in you. Would this year just be the start of a life sold out for you, living every day for your glory. I pray for protection in whatever you have for us next. May we never lose sight of you! (Psalm 19:14) Let the words of our mouths and the meditation of our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, our rock and our redeemer. All for Jesus AMEN.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Park Life 2011

 Palmerston Park, Southampton. One White Marquee, One God and One Gospel. What a week?!

When approaching an event like Park life you never know what to expect. God always likes to surprise us, and this was no exception. I soon learnt that little formal advertising had been done and in fact the main way of getting people to the meeting was through scattering. 

Scattering was the term used for the hour before the meeting where we would go out into the city and talk to people and invite them along. I was blown away by the openness of so many people---especially the younger generations.

Have you ever wondered what New Testament church would have been like? I certainly have and I think I experienced something very close to it last week. Never have I seen so many responses to the Gospel (38 over the Wednesday to Saturday meetings, and then several more on the Sunday), people so open to be prayed for and people from different walks of life coming together under one canvas to hear about the risen King Jesus.

Among the healing seen were a broken arm mended, a semi-blind eye restored and a leg growing (I missed it but apparently it was pretty cool). God was really wanting to restore physical bodies and our faith was stirred to push into him more.

One of my highlights of the week was on Saturday night when after many responses to the Gospel we all piled down to the front and worshipped our hearts out. Among those dancing and singing were Christians, drug addicts,  recovering drug addicts, alcoholics, recovering alcoholics and I swear there may have even been a dog running around. 

Being able to serve at Park Life has really changed my life. Seeing God work that powerfully in an English city (with all it's scepticism) was really a kick up the backside. We need to be pushing into all that God has for us and not allowing our culture to get in the way. Let God use you...I dare you!

Monday, 6 June 2011

Park Life

This week I will be heading over to Southampton to join up with the Life Church Crew and other Impact students. We are going to be part of Park life, an annual event that Life Church run in one of the parks in the city centre. 

The idea is that they preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, in a marquee, in the park, at several meetings throughout the day. What a great opportunity! 

Life church have done this for the past few years and have seen lots of fruit come out of it. Each year they have seen people saved and added to the local body. Holding an event like this also gives the local communities a lot of exposure to the church and more importantly Christ. 

If you are in Southampton at all this week, why not pop over to Palmerston park and check it out.


Friday, 27 May 2011

Memory & Meditation

Scripture memory can be one of the most challenging yet rewarding disciplines of the christian walk. Some of us possess the memory power of the average goldfish (myself included in this), which means it can be a challenge to make the time and effort to memorize the word of God, knowing full well that we will forget it as soon as we have learnt it.

John Piper in his book Desiring God dedicates a whole chapter to Scripture:Kindling for christian hedonism. He talks about how he has been blessed by memorizing scripture and using it for worship and warfare. 

I myself have been following a program for scripture memorization. I find that have structure really helps with discipline---much the same as reading the word of God. I was amazed at how many resources are out there. I will list several of them at the bottom of the post. 

Even in the week or so I have been working through this structured program I have found that I am retaining what I have learnt. I'm also finding that while I am sat at my desk I'll be thinking through and meditating on the passages that I have memorized. 

Why not give it a go? You will be blessed by it! "Let us labour to memorize the Word of God---for worship and for warfare. If we do not carry it in our heads, we cannot savour it in our hearts or wield it in our spirit." Piper, Desiring God. 
  1.  
   http://blog.ministrygrowers.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/2009biblememorization-esv.pdf

This is the one that I am doing. It gives smaller chunks than the second option (considerably smaller chunks) but still gives more than a single verse. 

   
     2.

http://www.fbcdurham.org/assets/Media-Library/Scripture-Memory-Booklet-for-Publication-Website-Layout.pdf?phpMyAdmin=ww-4Qf9q8l6bkWILEZvm3GweI4c

 This second resource takes a different approach, memorizing whole books of the bible rather than just small parts. This is a long term approach to scripture memory and I myself have not yet attempted it. Joshua Harris recommended this one on his blog a while back. Give it a go and let me know how you get on.

The main point I would like to make is to commit to it and see it through. Ask God for grace in the task and pray that he would be glorified through it all!

Thursday, 26 May 2011

How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth

I am currently writing an assignment on bible genres and how to approach them correctly. This has led me to dive back into a fantastic book, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth. The book has been a tremendous help with writing the assignment and at points I have been tempted to just hand the book in and say "there you go!" 

 
Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart have written a wonderfully clear and insightful book on approaching the bible and getting maximum nutrition from it. They correct many common mistakes made while reading the word of God and offer "essential insights into scripture and its application".

They say that "Understanding the bible isn't just for the few, the gifted, the scholarly. The bible is accessible. It's meant to be read and comprehended by everyone..." This is so true. Everyone from the new believer to the seasoned preacher can and needs to understand this wonderful living book. 

Grab a copy of Fee & Stuarts fantastic book and get stuck into God's word, reading it "for All its worth."  

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Westpoint

We travel down to Exeter today to pray and seek God for the Together at Westpoint event that will be taking place on the 18th-21st August.


The event was renamed and had a new venue (the Westpoint arena) last year after two years joining together for Accelerate. Last years event was a huge success seeing 1800 people join together from all over the region to worship and seek God. 


This years event is looking to be even bigger and better. Phatfish will be joining us as will Terry Virgo. We will also have some local worship bands serving us as well as the usual dynamic preaching that Guy Miller brings. On top of this we can be confident that God wants to meet with us and give us vision and direction as a region! Westpoint isn't one to miss out on, make it your priority for this summer!

Monday, 25 April 2011

Super Sunday

Easter Sunday...one of the main days in the christian calender! And what a day to baptise so many people! 

I was back at Winchester Family Church (my previous church) and what a joy it was to witness the baptism of 10 people! I don't know about you, but hearing testimonies of how God works in peoples lives and brings them to salvation in him really causes emotions to fly---I didn't cry this time. 

It just seems fitting on a day when we are celebrating the day when our saviour was raised from the dead that we baptise people. Baptism is an outward expression of an inward faith in Christ. It also gives us an image of dieing to your old life (as you go under the water) and being raised to new life as you come back out of the water.

Like Christmas, Easter has been hit by commercialisation. Chocolate eggs are great but lets remember and celebrate for the real reason. Jesus is alive!

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Holiday Time

It has been a while! This past term of Impact has been the most hectic one yet which means blogging has shot right been the list of things to do. It is nice to be back writing and I hope that I will get some more inspiration soon.

Anyway, I am currently taking a week off from Impact and I am back in Winchester. The weather is beautiful! I have had opportunities to catch up with friends and spend the day with my cousins which was great. It has been nice to shut down for a week before I head back to Poole to take on the last term of Impact. 

Last week we had our Easter holiday club. Over the course of the week we had 100 children join us for gospel centred stories, messy games, worship, the extremely popular drama, walk the plank (where the losing teams leader was pushed into the baptismal pool) and lots more pirate based fun.
Holiday club is an amazing week of the church calender. The whole church unites in prayer leading up to the event, up to 20 people join together as the core team and we get to invite so many young people and their families into the church building. 
We are continuing to pray as we seek to see some of these families attending the church and ultimately having faith in the Jesus.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

In Bude Review

What a weekend! 300ish students and 20's gathered together In Bude to worship God and spend time in fellowship together! In my pre-event post I noted how expectant we were and boy, God just loves to blow away expectations!

Friday evening set the tone for the weekend! We spent an hour and a half worshipping and then Matt and Grace shared on how we can get the most out of the weekend. Ben and the band led us fantastically, and I loved his new songs! 

Saturday was where it all kicked off! Julian Adams led the two sessions, and those of you who know Julian will know that any meeting that he speaks at is an eventful one. He spoke from Luke 7:36-50. God then proceeded to speak to him about certain individuals around the room and he went on to prophecy over them. 

Saturday evening for me was the highlight of the weekend which is funny because I spent the whole meeting on the floor...unable to move. God met with me in the most powerful/tangible way he ever has done and he spoke to me about some personal stuff as well. I know many people were blessed by God in this meeting! Isn't he good?!

Sunday morning...the weekend had gone so quick, but we still had one more meeting to look forward to. Matthew Hosier spoke from Daniel 3, a message he bought at the last ever Stonleigh event in Revive, ten years ago. The message was very powerful and Matt challenged us about putting God first in every area of our life and not conforming to the world while still being in the world. 

In Bude went as well as it possibly could have done. It must be repeated next year. The amount of blessing and fruit that has come out of it is phenomenal. Students and 20's, stay on fire for God as we integrate back into normal church life, lets be a blessing to our congregations!

Thursday, 3 March 2011

In Bude

This weekend we will be joining with other students from the south-south west region In Bude. The weekend will be a great opportunity for worship, fellowship and to hear great preaching. We are privileged to have Matthew Hosier and Julian Adams sharing from God's word, and one of Gateway Church Poole's bands---being led by Ben Green---leading us in our worship.

We are expecting God to meet with us powerfully, and really speak into our lives. A lot of us have big decisions to make after this year whether it be moving on to university or moving into the working world. So please be remembering us in your prayers.



Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Glimpses of 2003

Those of you who know me will know I love Rugby. I have played the game for 8 years and I am also a keen watcher of the game---when England are playing well! And boy, are they playing well!

Englands Chris Ashton

Wales put up a good fight and made it tight until the end, although they wern't clinical when it mattered. England however were. We made the most of the opportunities we got and in the end that is all that matters. Chris Ashton showed more signs of promise with two tries to his name and Toby Flood was solid with the boot.


Next was Italy. Now, I'm a big fan of Italy. They have a lot of promise and have steadily improved over the years. The problem is, they don't have strength in depth. There team is dotted with star players but as we know a few stars can't win you the game. Sergio Parisse the Italian No.8 & captain could earn a place in any side in the world, and as England piled on the points you could see his frustration...I felt for him.

Sergio Parisse being tackled by Ben Foden
 In a game like the one against Italy, it is very easy to focus on the scoreline and completely forget about the negatives. And don't get me wrong, there were a lot of positives to take away however lets not get over excited because there is still a lot of work to be done. We made some silly errors and at times lacked discipline. Against a better team we would ahve been punished more severely that we were. New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and even an on form France would have made a lot more of the opportunities we gifted Italy.

Italy should not have scored their try either! We essentially gifted them. We looked week as the Italians pushed us over our own try line after they formed a maul from a line-out. Fabio Ongaro the replacement hooker went over for an easy try. This is surprising because for so long the maul was the strongpoint of the England game & we could match any team in the world for strength.  


Negatives over. I was very pleased with our work in attack. Ashton & Cueto really stuck out in my opinion. It was encouraging seeing them come off their wings and taking the ball on the inside shoulder of flood. In open play as well, whenever a break was made Ashton was right there ready to take the pass and go in under the posts. Support play is what we need, and this is something that Ashton has learnt from his days at Wigan in Rugby League.


I was impressed at seeing glimpses of the team we had in 2003. We have a long way to go if we want to challenge for the World cup but there again when Clive Woodward took over he went through a period of struggle and was nearly fired and then went on to build arguably the best team the world has ever seen.
2003 world cup winning squad on their tour of London.
If we can beat France at Twickenham on Saturday then we will be in with a great chance of winning the Grand Slam for the first time since 2003. We have the potential, lets just hope we don't choke under the pressure.
 

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Spirit filled children...

God is seriously amazing! I thought I had a grasp of this prior to Sunday, it seems not! As some of you would have seen from my twitter post, this Sunday we were teaching on the Holy Spirit in our kids work at church. 

Anyway, after doing a quick question & answer session, we went into a prayer time and God really started to move amongst the children. I have never seen this before and found it an amazing experience. What blew me away even more was when God started to speak to them through pictures. Some of the stuff that came up was extremely powerful and even ended up being shared in the main meeting.

It was great to see God use children so powerfully! I know my prayer will be to see more and more of this not only in our children's work here in Poole, but in children's work throughout our nations and the nations around the world. 

Friday, 11 February 2011

Kingdom, Creation & the local church

Another training block gone, and I'm left wanting more! We travelled back from Bristol yesterday after having yet another fantastic time away. It's always great meeting with the other Impacters from the South & South-West region and hearing about all that God is doing with them.

Approaching the three days I was excited however rather curious as to how I would fare with taking in the subject matter, as we were going to be hitting three substantially heavy and tough subjects. The kingdom of God, Genesis 1-3 (Creation) & the Local Church. We are always extremely blessed by those that give a day to train us, as well as put in the hard hours of research and preparation.

John Groves came and took us through the Kingdom of God. He did so brilliantly and really ignited a passion in us as a group to see the Kingdom extend to and reach the ends of the earth. Often there is confusion on whether the kingdom is here now and what we can expect because of that. John used the demonstration of D-Day being the beginning of the end in the 2nd world war. This was very helpful!


On the second day, creation was the topic. Now, I had been looking forward to this one a lot because it is an area that I take a lot of interest in. We were served fantastically, working our way through 44 pages of notes! We explored whether the world was created in a literal six days or whether it was six periods of time. We also explored evolution and even got to argue from an atheistic point of view which was an interesting experience.


Newfrontiers is very passionate about the global church, but is also equally passionate about the local church. The two main points that we looked at were...
  • The make up - What is the church?
  • The meaning - What is the purpose of the church?
 Personally, I thought I had a passion for the local church which I would say I did but I was not passionate enough. Even throughout the day I could feel my passion growing, and it is very exciting to be caught up in all God is doing through the local church! 


One last thing! I would really recommend FP Impact to anyone who wants to increase in their passion, understanding and relationship with God. I'm only half way through the year and God is already working big time with me, and I know he is doing the same with all the others. Think about it...

Monday, 7 February 2011

Vintage Jesus - Driscoll & Breshears

Mark Driscoll is a lot like marmite. You either love the stuff...or you don't. However, I do like marmite and I admire Driscoll to. The man is phenomenally gifted! He is one of the most listened to preachers around the world. God is using this man big time!


Here we have Vintage Jesus. A book exploring who Jesus really was. In our culture and cultures around the world Christianity and religion as a whole is seeming to become less and less popular as people dismiss it as 'not relevant to 21st century living'.


Driscoll along with Gerry Breshears have succeeded in writing a book that really answers all the tough questions, in a way that anyone can understand. Together they explore whether Jesus really was God, whether he really was fully man, the prophetic promises about Jesus' first coming, the virgin birth all the way up to what will happen when Jesus returns. 


Those of you who have heard Driscoll preach will see that he has not lost any of his humour or raw honesty in the exchange from preaching to writing, and he brings the very practical approach that pastors often do when they write. 


Each chapter is finished with Breshears answering commonly asked questions about Jesus. I found these sections extremely helpful as many of the questions that he answers are ones that I have been and am asked on a regular basis as a youth and children's worker.


There is no question that Jesus is still alive and still as relevant today as he was 2000, 500 or even 100 years ago. It's just a case of showing how he is relevant and Driscoll & Breshears have succeeded in doing so. This is a book that Christians should read, and I also think non-believers would benefit from reading it to.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Prayer & Fasting

Tuesday morning we all travelled up to Peterborough to be part of the Newfrontiers Prayer & Fasting days. This was the first time I had been to this event and wasn't really sure what to expect other than the obvious prayer...and fasting. 

After a four and a half hour drive, we finally reach the King's Gate centre. The building, situated on an industrial estate has seating in the main auditorium for 1200 people! 

The first day was brilliant, the morning sessions were left pretty open to the spirit moving, and boy did he! Then in the afternoon David Devenish shared about his travels in eastern Europe (Russian etc) and then asked God to move in power in those nations. 

Our evening session was a little different. We had Bob Roberts come over from Texas USA to share his experiences as a church planter and offer some advice from his experience. What he had to bring was fresh, humorous and very challenging. 

The second day followed suit with us praying for all other aspects of our movement from students, youth, USA and for the upcoming everything conference. In the afternoon it was great to here from Terry about his travels in the southern-hemisphere. You can keep up with his travels on his blog. 

All in all the event was fantastic. Personally, I feel challenged about what God is calling me to, and my part in the big picture. It was also brilliant to be gathered together with 800 Newfrontiers church leaders. It's not often you get to gather with 800 people all really excited and radically worshipping God.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

The Reason For God - Timothy Keller

If you want help answering the tough questions that you may face from your unbelieving friends, family or colleagues this is a MUST read. This was one on my Christmas list, and I am nearly done. It has been brilliant! 

Want help with apologetics? This is the one for you!

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Centre Parks Training

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all, I know I had a great time personally. It's nice to be back in the swing of things though. I'm finally back writing, the first time in nearly four weeks!

Anyway, after the busy Christmas period, we as Impact students headed of to centre parks in Thetford--- a five hour train journey away--- to meet with 150 other young people who have given a year of their lives to serve Christ and his church. It was amazing just being in an environment with so many other people all at the same place in life as you. 











We had five days of training to look forward to. These were...
  • Mission & Culture- Andy Martin.
  • Setting people free pt.1- Simon Holley.
  • Setting people free pt.2- Simon Holley.
  • Joy, Self pity and decision making- Andrew Wilson & Paul Johnson.
  • Leadership- Steve Tibbert.
 So, as you can see from the list, some brilliant subjects and some great speakers, what more could you want?

We kicked off with mission. Andy Martin spends a lot of time working with David Devenish mainly working in Eastern Europe and Islamic nations, so he is a guy perfectly build to communicate about mission and culture. He started by communicating God's plan for mission from the beginning of time then moved on to talking about different cultures and how to effectively plant churches in those cultures. 
One of the demonstrations that he used to show greetings will stay with me for a long, long time. I was sat taking notes when he asks for a volunteer. "For this one, I will need a boy to help me demonstrate..." Now immediately my head goes down, trying not to be noticed, but then my group (Bristol Base) all started volunteering me to go to the front. "Yep, we will have you..." Oh no! So I walked slowly to the front of the room and stood nervously awaiting whatever was coming my way. I knew it was greetings, could it be that bad?! He proceeded to shake my hand, hug me, kiss me on the cheeks and then hold my hand...IN FRONT OF 150 PEOPLE!! Apparently I looked awkward. 


Another part of centre parks which is always good fun is the swimming. Centre parks is famous for it's rapids. As expected there were pile ups down the rapids, with everyone racing as fast as they can to reach the finish first. Luckily, no one lost their shorts...too much. 
The plunge pool is also good fun, a pool that is a lot colder than the normal swimming pool. Of course we had to have competitions to see who could stay in the longest...and of course one of the girls had to go and win--- she stayed in there for 50 minutes!

The next two days were...to put it correctly...CRAZY! Simon Holley and his team from the Kings' Arms Church in Bedford came and served us brilliantly. They covered a wide range of topics and we saw many people set free from past traumas, areas of sin in there lives that were hindering there walk with God and lots of people healed from physical conditions. These physical conditions included a broken and separated jaw, partial blindness, teeth being straightened and shoulder problems. God is awesome!


Unfortunately David Holden who was meant to be speaking on the Thursday was ill and unable to make it so we had the wonderful Andrew Wilson and Paul Johnson step in to speak on joy, self pity and making big decisions. They did brilliantly for the little time they had to prepare.
Andrew stressed the point that we are here to glorify God by enjoying him forever. Spot on. And then P-J continued by ministering to those of us that struggle with self-pity---the biggest illness in the United Kingdom. He finished off the day by bringing application from God's word about making important decisions, which was very relevant as all of us will be doing that very soon--- myself with university choices. 


Man, I can't believe I am on the last day already. Andrew "the dolphin" Wilson had been beaten the previous night by the Barracuda in the annual night of rapid races and Steve Tibbert was joining us to talk about leadership. Now he was very brave and opened the morning up to us to ask him anything we wanted...anything! So naturally someone asked to see his diary and the usual toughies like women and leadership came up. He did very well though and didn't fudge any of the questions which was great. He also imparted some of his experience and wisdom to us and inspired me personally to get more organised. Steve himself has already planned 2012 even though it is only just 2011! That's crazy organised!


Overall, it was a great week topped off with great teaching, great times of fellowship and ultimately meeting with God in a powerful way. What a week!