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.