Sunday 31 August 2008

Well, it looks like a piece of the next 12 months has been wedged firmly into place

Chris and I were invited to start a 1 year pastoral training course.

It's only 1 Saturday a month, but I'm told the homework is fierce. Chris really didn't want to do it because she gets little enough spare time with me as it is, but we both feel the time is now, so off we go.

A little grace from God

We were apparently having a second housegroup join us for church in homes at our place this afternoon, along with possible a few from the local chapel. The weather should have been good so we could get everyone outside.

I've been working on a substantial piece, interpreting a Charles Finney message on living in God's peace, that I'd been meaning to present formally. Somehow, just somehow it wouldn't come together and then just felt plain WRONG to bring, plus I'd had so little time to prepare int he last few days. So at 2.30pm I re-started planning and preparing something that had to be flexible enough to work for up to 25 people from intellectual to learning disability level AND get them all into the house.

In the end we had a just slightly extended housegroup, and that was great. And some of these wonderful people responded from their hearts, which was great too.

And for me, it's been another lesson.

I need to listen when I get the 'no peace' alarm bells ringing, rather than just assuming investing more time will pull off something I want to do. I need to bring things back to God with a bit more humility and a little less adequacy, if for no other reason than to check I'm on course.

Learning - it's what lifetimes were intended for.

I'd almost given up the prospect.

The Bicester churches do a 'fun day' party in Garth Park for the town, free of charge.

Last year I played in 2 bands.

Looks like I've got a gig this year too. It won't be anything too serious or professional (we've got a 1 1/2 hour rehearsal Wednesday week) but it will be fun. One of the local guys - Dennis Niziol - does a bit of an Elvis, and being both relatively large and American he pulls it off well.

Better go practice Johnny B. Goode. Wonder if he'll do Maybelline or Blue Suede Shoes this year?

Meeting people

This weekend has been too busy.

Yesterday we went to the Highway church (a Bicester area church) annual camp for the day. It's a neat arrangement, where for a relatively nominal sum you get to camp with decent loos and showers AND have cooked food provided. We only went for the day (I confess being reluctant to give up even that much time) but that still meant being out 14 hours. However it was good, rather than a waste.

There was some good stuff said, but we had a funny encounter. They had Paul Gutteridge who is senior pastor of Christian Growth Centre at Chelmsford in essex as main speaker. He'd done Friday night - to which we'd not gone - and the Saturday morning session was covered by Andy, the guy that heads up Highway. So we sat down at lunch with a view to having conversations with people we didn't know. Swapped seats at desert time and sat with a guy on his own. He was quite personable and we talked about a variety of stuff (including some of the highlights of his message that evening, as it turned) but we quite clearly had no idea what he was doing there.

It's good to keep people humble. ;-)

He also gave me a few things to think through, particularly in the light of what is going to be the way forwards for us in the next 12 months.

Friday 29 August 2008

I think we forget sometimes

Just how amazing the 'net is.

In the last hour or so I've booked time here and here and arranged a car to be available at Ciampino airport in Rome. Earlier today I booked the flights out there.

I remember my first ever holiday abroad as an adult. Pawing through the brochures, trying to find somewhere we might afford to go, then going into a travel agents where the girl behind the desk would consult some kind of text-based minitel style system, then consultation by telephone to an unknown central coordinator only to tell us that all places had been taken. Eventually she turned up something we'd not noticed and it WAS good, but I wonder how much that was the grace of God and not any particular judgement on her part.

I've been booking our travel like this for a while now, and although the choices can get overwhelming sometimes, I like it.

Thursday 28 August 2008

Great things to hear at the dinner table

Your wife telling your son that she's put a bookmark in the place he was reading her bible.

And that he's just finished reading 'Taming the Tiger' in a single sitting.

And that he's going to housegroup even though we're off out somewhere else.

I always wanted him to have his own faith and not live on ours. Ben never found it easy, often felt like God wasn't really there, but pressed on anyway. He already has pastoral experience from caring for some outside the church and some within. I'm really looking forward to seeing what he will become. Doesn't mean to say he won't mess up, but I think he'll push through that.

I opened this page to post this morning

and then left for work without posting.


The good new is that I've booked our flights to Italy for our later planned holiday. Trying to choose the right hotels (staying a week near Sorrento, then 3 days in Rome) is challenging to say the least.

The other news may not necessarily be bad, but life has just become a lot more complicated in ways I can't talk about yet. Chris and I have very clearly heard God speak about something, and that has now been challenged in a quite direct and forceful way. So we need to deal with what the future brings in faith rather than flapping. Yet I feel as though God has been talking to me about this inside already, and preparing my heart for it.

Ah, the amazing grace of God.

Lets see how I walk through it before boasting about the outcome.

Saturday 23 August 2008

The best of the best.

Epic images from the most epic thread ever hosted on Harmony Central. If the first couple don't work for you, just scroll on down.

I got fed up with these always popping up, so I trimmed it down to just 2.

Some of these probably originate from sites with adult content, so be aware if you choose to follow links up.

Friday 22 August 2008

Must resist.....

.....the siren call of the biscuit tin.

Effectively had no exercise in the last 4 weeks, and I do not wish to expand.

Quiet here today

Stay away from thoughts.

Head down, keep working.

Monday 18 August 2008

If you have a bit of spare prayer going

and know Kita, please pray for her.

She's at soul survivor, working as a team leader in the site crew. We got a call just a couple of mins ago: her mum's just broken her arm (actually, maybe you should pray for her mum too!) some of her team are making snidey comments and all her money has been taken from her tent. She's feeling a bit tired, alone and upset I think.

Sunday 17 August 2008

If you're easliy embarassed don't read further.

Chris and I kissed this afternoon (not for the first time today) and it was just like being transported back to when we were newly married.

If this is what memory is like in old age then BRING IT ON! As long as we're able to create 'new' memories, that is.


How is it that....

....difficult decisions are taken easily so often. Yet the easy decisions are worried and sweated over as if they were the ones that will have a big impact on our lives.

Chris and I seem to have reached a decision this afternoon over something major with quite minimal debate, zero argument and minimal worry. Now we need to work out how it's going to happen. Should we prepare for a year of tricky small decisions and some friction while it gets implemented?

Saturday 16 August 2008

What is work?

This morning I'm preparing to lead worship at BCC tomorrow.

Chris commiserated that I was having to work this morning.

My reaction was "this isn't work". Work for me is the stuff I struggle with - I'm reluctant to do and find difficult. Or is it that I'm just struggling with work, not really happy there and wishing I was doing something else? But that's another post.

Monday 11 August 2008

Like I said a while back

I'm a sucker for new toys. Well, new OSs anyway.

I'm posting from the final release of Sabayon Linux v3.5 running as a live CD.

I have no idea how stable it is - live CDs tend to fall over FAST in my experience - but it looks VERY good in a Mandriva-ish kind of way. The old deep red colour scheme was cooler, but this is pleasant and clean in blue.

Best of all, this distro comes with libdvdcss so it *should* be fully possible to play back DVDs.

4 gig download - probably actually worth it.

And yep, fonts are screwey in this version too, but the monitor image IS probably the sharpest and clearest I've seen from any linux OS, and I reckon just careful font selection will fix the rest. This may even supplant SuSE 11.0!

What do you do when caring 'gets in the way'?

Yesterday in the church meeting (I won't call it a service - maybe I'll post about those later) I became aware of a number of people.

Some guests of very good friends of ours, now living in Birmingham. I could see there was just so much hurt in their eyes: it almost took my breath away when I was introduced. Unfortunately that was during a pause in the middle, and they left shortly after things finished.

My mother, struggling with her hearing, the changes in the way she feels inside that have resulted from her illness and things in an uncomfortable format. She frequently wore an expression I know I have sometimes when I'm somewhere that's off-beam and into 'making stuff up' territory.

Guests of other people that I didn't get to meet. Again, I could see tragedy and sadness written across their faces. There were tears, people praying for them, but I just kept being aware they were hurting.

This is nothing new to me, but it isn't always so obvious and the reverberations don't usually keep echoing the following morning.

In the middle of this I was down the front, working the PA, sorting the CD player, playing guitar, just doing stuff. I'm starting to wonder if I may need to back away from playing in the meetings, at least partially, in the future. Still playing every week, and sometimes it's stopping me doing other things. But there's no-one else that can step in, and we're actually pretty short of musicians and worship leaders right now. And my playing has become like a Ford hot hatch - mediocrity +10%.

I dunno. Maybe navel gazing on a blog isn't good.

Saturday 9 August 2008

Shopping on the internet juxtaposes odd things....

....incongruous things often.

Chris would like an NIV study bible to save her having to borrow mine to look up stuff.

Prices vary enormously. A quick web search turned up a study bible from a company called base. On the same web page there was a large advert for the autobiography of Abbi Titmus, with an image of her pulling her knickers down.

Is it to much to expect a little care in advertising context? Or do they know a lot of bible readers will buy that particular book?

Friday 8 August 2008

I'm still coughing.

And the anibiotics have had that effect on the digestive tract that makes one need to 'clench'.


You should hear my tummy now - just not happy about things!

Interesting thread on HC

Some of the guys on Harmony Central have substantial guitar collections. By substantial we're talking 50+ instruments, plus amps etc.

One of the guys was asking what others did with theirs, storage wise. Plus also how they changed strings etc to keep them in good nick.

I consider myself VERY well off to have about 10 guitars, and I'm now at the point where some leave before others join. But there are gits in there that I keep for certain occasions and just don't seem to play much. One of the guys was talking about finding guitars he'd forgotten he had - said it was like New Guitar Day all over again when that happened.

Currently in the process of moving a couple out to make way for an instrument that will do electric and acoustic well (instead of badly, like the Switch).

But I may have a little way to go yet!

Wednesday 6 August 2008

Excuse me while I have a quick


Found courtesy of Fernando and his famous desk.

I was talking with Ben the other day.

Gave him a little piece of fatherly advice.

"Don't marry anyone you wouldn't want to wake up next to in 20 years time after they've had a couple of kids".

He said "That's not easy".

Saturday 2 August 2008

I seem to be getting well again.

Went to the doctor yesterday morning - my chest had become 'tight' during the night and I had that sweetish taste in my mouth that comes from bacterial mucopolysaccharides with a growing chest infection.

So she checked me out, commented my chest was clear right now, said 3 days wasn't really long enough, but since I was ther she'd give me some antibiotics 'in case it got worse in a few days'. Experience told me that I was headed downhill from there, and in a few days I'd still be off work and feeling horrid. So 1.5 days into starting the drugs I feel much better - just get tired quickly and thinking gives me more of a headache than before - in fact by Friday night I was noticeably less unwell.

Antibiotics were a seeming 'miracle cure' when they first appeared. I'm still VERY grateful, even though they're less generally effective now.