Back home in Blighty after a great weekend celebrating the launch of God’s Squad CMC’s new chapter in Malta. A great time catching up with club family and mates, and making some new friends too. The sunshine was an added bonus. Continue reading St Paul the Rebel?
Wanna see a revival tonight
Lord, let there be a revival, yeah
I need to see a revival tonight, oh
Wanna see a revival, oh
A bit of a dirty word in some circles, some prefer the gentler “renewal” – but what is it about this idea of “revival” that captures us for good or bad? The sin scandals of tent-revival televangelists used to undermine charismatic belief. The “glory days” of the past world-shaking movements – now studied and dissected in the hope of finding a sliver-bullet to turn the tides of decline in church and religious adherence. It’s fascinating.
This is an abridged version of an essay I recently wrote, if you’d like to read the full thing do be in touch
It’s probably fair to say that the environment in which we share the Bible in the UK has changed radically in the last 100 years. People are bringing different kinds of questions to the table. As one author noted, the air of expectation and hope of the early twentieth century very quickly gave way to the cruel realities of “Auschwitz, Hiroshima and the Gulag Archipelago”. The West’s great hope of self-redemption and apotheosis through science, technology, education and the secular nation state gave way to a climate of fear, mistrust of institutions, and philosophical confusion. Continue reading Hermeneutics for Ragamuffins: Some things a Calvinist has learned from Liberation theology
They say you can’t steer a stationary ship, and those words took a deeper significance for me about 3 1/2 years ago while sitting astride my old Yamaha motorcycle. I grew up around motorbikes in one way or another, both my parents and my sister had bikes at different stages, but for one reason or another I didn’t get round to taking my test until I was well into my 20s.
Last Sunday I had the great privilege of sharing with St Matthew’s Church Luton on the subject of ‘Good News For The Poor’ :
I recently wrote this piece for the Fresh Expressions website, which can be viewed here. Fresh Expressions is a network of groups trying to ‘do Church’ differently. Hope you enjoy.
I love God, but I really struggle with His fan club sometimes.
I remember writing words to that effect on my MySpace page many years ago in a moment of desperation.
As I write this Jeni and I are sitting on a SleazyJet flight back from Iceland. The reason for our visit was to partake in a ’round-table’ conference for an organisation called ‘Radstock‘.
In simple terms Radstock exist to promote
“Mission at the heart of Local Churches, Local Churches at the heart of mission”.
I was recently asked to do an interview with Helen Harwood for CMS Pioneer where I’m currently studying for a Diploma in Theology, Mission and Ministry. They send out a monthly update to anyone interested in supporting the development and training of new lay and ordained pioneers. Check out http://pioneer.cms-uk.org/cms-pioneer-friends/ to find out more!
Many thanks Helen for letting me re-post the interview:
Helen Harwood meets new Pioneer student Luke Larner, “a rough-round-the-edges dude”!
It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything so I thought it was time for a brief update.
It’s been an exciting and challenging month in many ways. I’m starting to settle in to the change of lifestyle a little more since going down to part-time work to free time up for our mission dreams. This in itself has been a challenge, to begin with my energy levels were a bit all over the place spending half of my week very emotionally and mentally draining and the other half very physically draining working construction. I’m getting used to it now though just in time for another change, but more on that later…
Continue reading Roadside Update – Laying Foundations
“Sometimes it’s a little better to travel than to arrive”
– ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’ – Robert M Pirsig”
I arrived back home last night after a challenging weekend on the road visiting our Dutch God’s Squad brothers, and as is usually my way I wanted to write a little to help process my thoughts. So here is a little Chautauqua of our journey. Please forgive any mistakes and poor writing, I have some sleep to catch-up on….
Continue reading Life on the Road
I’m a dreamer. Always have been, always will be. At any given moment my mind is a million miles away dreaming of some idea, some plan, some far-off ideal to work towards. And it drives people crazy.
One night Joseph had a dream, and when he told his brothers about it, they hated him more than ever. “Listen to this dream,” he said. “We were out in the field, tying up bundles of grain. Suddenly my bundle stood up, and your bundles all gathered around and bowed low before mine!” His brothers responded, “So you think you will be our king, do you? Do you actually think you will reign over us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dreams and the way he talked about them. (Genesis 37:5-8 NLT)
An American friend once described English culture as like garden in the Spring – the second a daisy pops its head above the rest someone comes along and cuts it down to everyone else’s level. You see, we are not like our continental cousins. We do not celebrate pioneers and entrepreneurs as embodiments of the American Dream. We seem to, well, hate them.
I was musing on this the other day as I read the story of Joseph and his sweet coat in Genesis 37. I think the coat is not massively relevant to the story, but maybe it’s a metaphor for the colourful kaleidoscope of thoughts in the mind of dreamers like old Joe. So I thought I’d explore this idea some more, and turn it into a little guide for dreamers.
Today is special. In all the usual busyness and chaos I completely forgot, but today is another big step toward the horizon! The last day of my last week of conventional work. For about the last year (more like the last 10 years actually) I’ve been working towards this change, and it’s arrival feels, to be honest, altogether underwhelming. Weird.
Came across this quote by old time missionary C T Studd this week, think he pretty much hit the nail on the head.
As is often the case, this week has been a bit of an emotional roller coaster. We’ve been facing challenges from within and without which have sometimes tugged at the old heart-strings and other times tried rip them clean out of our chests. With this in mind I thought it would be a good time to write about something which has been buzzing around in my head for a while – how to love people even when it hurts.
One of the main facets of the kind of ‘ministry’ (still hate that word) my wife and I engage in is loving people who mainstream society would deem unloveable. Outcasts, misfits, struggling with mental health and addiction issues, outlaws and all other kinds of hurting people. Some call it ‘mission to the margins’. This is a little easier for us than some others because fitting in to the ‘mainstream’ isn’t something that’s ever interested us. We’re blessed and cursed with that quiet little nag at the back of the mind telling us that the American Dream, suburbia, the cute little middle-class life and all the crap that goes with it, is fake and meaningless. As I wrote in my post on ‘Befriending the Stranger‘, accepting the poor, weak and broken is the natural outworking of accepting God’s love for the poverty, weakness and brokenness in our own hearts.
This all sounds lovely and twee and often results in a nice little ‘pat on the back’ from other people, and comments like “that must be so rewarding for you”. But the truth is it usually isn’t. It’s damn exhausting sometimes. People who live chaotic and destructive lives will try to drag you into their chaos and bleed you dry. So how does one survive in this environment? How do you love the broken without burning out? In practical terms what does this love look like?
Read on to find out…
This is the story of a friend I met. We’ll call him ‘Marty’. ‘Marty’ is a significant player in the biker scene, and a fairly notorious man.
I met Him at a party in an area I’d never visited before. Marty is one of those guys with a rough exterior and a twinkle in his eye to hint at a keen wit. His behaviour was chaotic, with all the usual trappings of the biker lifestyle.
I’d been chatting on and off with him all night, and by the time we got down to brass tacks it was the wee hours of the morning. It came down to this. Marty told me that he had read the Bible cover to cover several times last time he was in prison, and his next words were even more surprising.
Continue reading Epiphany At The Bar