Category Archives: My Story

Intelligence on Fire – RIP Rev. Dr. John Smith

I received the sad news today that a man I’m deeply privileged to have called ‘friend’ and ‘brother’ was promoted to glory last night. He has been affectionately called “Bullfrog”, “John Wesley on a motorcycle” and even “Intelligence on fire!” I am, of course, talking about Rev. Dr. John Smith – founder of God’s Squad Melbourne, Concern Australia, mission-troubadour and ordained-pioneer way before it was cool.

The following is an extract from a piece I wrote on him for my BA a few years ago. There’s a bit of extra pain in sharing this today, as after a lot of prayer and discernment, me and the family decided in January it was time for me to resign my membership of God’s Squad. The colours given to me personally by John Smith have gone back to the club, but the radical Jesus Movement culture we learned from him and others will stay with us for the rest of our lives. Every time I find myself in some shady bar or risky situation – I’ll be raising a glass of good scotch to you Smithy. Rest In Peace good and faithful servant.

The reason I want to share this paltry piece (alongside recommending that you read some of his own work), is that I believe Smithy had a pretty unique gift – in that he was the real-deal. A deeply faulted person, like all of us, but the real-deal nonetheless. I see a lot of Christians virtue-signalling on social media about the latest fad cause, but I don’t tend to see them in the soup-line sharing a meal with people. Smithy was different. He lived it. And he started living it in a time when it cost him his job at a Christian ‘mission’ agency, surely cost him some friends, and certainly cost him his reputation as a ‘clean-cut’ Christian minister. He was a man of his time, and some of his views might seem a little out-dated to the younger generation, but I hope you can see past this.

So if there’s one thing I’ll be taking from Smithy’s legacy, it’s this – I’m not going to try to gain kudos by talking about issues which affect people I don’t have proximity with. Smithy showed us a type of pioneering-incarnational-mission that came with blood, sweat, and tears. Literally. I hope this is an encouragement to people who’ve never heard of this great man, and comes with some comfort for those of us that are grieving. I’m glad to have been part of a culture where it’s ok for men to show their grief, tears, and affection for one another.

I might not be ok for a few days.

Continue reading Intelligence on Fire – RIP Rev. Dr. John Smith

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Pilgrim

“To be pilgrims means that men must perpetually return to the starting-point of that naked humanity which is absolute poverty and utter insecurity. God must not be sought as though He sat enthroned on upon the summit of religious attainment. He is to be found on the plain where men suffer and sin. The veritable pinnacle of religious achievement is attained when men are thrust down into the company of those who lie in the depths.”

Karl Barth – ‘Epistle to the Romans’

After a long and winding journey, I’m at one of those ‘mile-marker’ moments in life. After a nail-biting afternoon hitting the ‘Get Mail’ button on my email client every two minutes, I learned a few months ago that I had been ‘Recommended for training’ – which for non-Anglicans means I’m off to vicar school in September.

It’s probably come as a bigger surprise to me than anyone, I’d convinced myself it would be a “thanks, but no” by the time the email came through. I fondly remember many years ago when a mate from Church started going out with a young lady from my school. Somehow they realised they both new me, and when he explained how, she replied, “No way, can’t be the same guy. He’d never go to Church”. And here I am some 18 or so years later, getting ready to start training for a ministry in the CofE – like proper dog-collar and black-dress type ministry. Continue reading Pilgrim

St Paul the Rebel?

N.B. – I am no longer a member of God’s Squad Christian Motorcycle Club after resigning in January 2019 to focus on family, training and local work. I am grateful for the continued friendship and incredible ride I’ve had with some amazing people.

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?

Revival.

 

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.

Continue reading Revival.

Coming of Age

Today is a special day for me. There will be no party, no cards in the mail, no “HBD!” posts on Facebook and no rights to claim “but it’s my special day!” when it’s time to take the bins out or change a crappy nappy.

Because today isn’t an actual birthday, but maybe the anniversary of the next most significant moment in my life (after being unceremoniously torn out of my poor mother and having my heart re-started back in ’83).

18 years ago in a quiet little chapel in the Buckinghamshire countryside, with one of the worst hangovers I’ve ever had, the immanence of God exploded into my consciousness and turned my world upside down forever. I can’t really explain it, I definitely can’t find a formula to repeat it, and I’ve certainly doubted it, but it happened.

Continue reading Coming of Age

Faith Like a Child

I’m not entirely sure what the deal is with 2017 but it’s been fairly sucky for us so far. Especially the last month or two. Amongst the dramas of a car crash, tonsillitis, post-natal depression and the usual ups and downs of life, our little one has had a nasty ear infection which has given him soaring fevers and very little sleep for all of us.

Continue reading Faith Like a Child

Prayer for troubled minds

Ah prayer, that thing we like to pretend that we do a lot more than we actually do.

In most of the morning prayer liturgies (routines) I use, there’s a part I have started to dread. So much so, that I think it has sub-consciously put me off using the liturgies altogether. This is often replaced with a few desperate, muttered prayers during the sprint to get to work on time.

Recently at a motorcycle rally, a stall vendor remarked that they appreciated my easy-going and slightly sarcastic approach to talking about faith. I replied, “That’s ok, I’m a professional”. In my experience, even people involved in pastoral work and Christian leadership struggle with regular prayer.

Continue reading Prayer for troubled minds

Lancelot Vs The Flab Dragon!

Can you sponsor me to lose weight and raise money for our Fresh Expression of Church?

Can you help Sir Lancelot slay the flab dragon?!!!

I’m looking for people to sponsor me £1 per kilogram as I try to lose some fat and raise money for our Fresh Expression of Church.

In September we start meeting weekly, and will be sharing a meal together each month. Currently we are not receiving any regular funding for our group so we need your help to cover some of our running costs. All moneys will be used for running the group and will not go to any individuals.

Can you help us provide a sacred space for ragamuffins???

Follow the following link to sponsor: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/churchforragamuffins

For more info about what we’re doing take a look at this written interview with CMS or listen to this recorded interview with UCB Christian Radio (2hrs 17mins into the show)!

Thanks for your interest and support, I’ll be posting updates on social media.
God bless,

Luke

Chatting ‘Promise’ With Marc James

Very excited to share this little interview with Christian musician and worship leader Marc James. I’ve known Marc a while, we actually lived in a shared house together for a few years! I’m very thankful to call this man ‘friend’, I’ve learned so much from the time we’ve spent together. Marc is a ragamuffin who loves Jesus, plain and simple.

We talk about his new album ‘Promise’, which is available here.

Continue reading Chatting ‘Promise’ With Marc James

Stations On The Way To Freedom

Latest blog post – babies, sleep deprivation, motorcycles, philosophy, and Nazis. It’s all here folks.

It’s been a crazy time. Well life is usually quite crazy for us to be fair, but particularly crazy. Our beloved 4 month old son hasn’t been sleeping much, we’ve been surviving (or maybe existing is a better word) on a few broken hours of sleep for well over a month, and it’s taken a heavy toll on all aspects of our life. Continue reading Stations On The Way To Freedom

Why We’re Baptising Our Infant Son

Infant Baptism. Few matters of contention divide Christians as much as this one.

To our great joy a son was born to us, just a couple of short months ago. So this debate just got really personal. There are myriad books, blogs and articles arguing the issue in great theological detail, and I won’t bother to repeat what has already been said. But for the benefit of those who find what we’re doing strange, I will briefly explain why we are baptising our son. (If you are looking for something a little more theological try this) Continue reading Why We’re Baptising Our Infant Son

Jesus Christ, Friend of the Outcast – A Reflection on my journey so far with God’s Squad Christian Motorcycle Club

N.B. – I am no longer a member of God’s Squad Christian Motorcycle Club after resigning in January 2019 to focus on family, training and local work. I am grateful for the continued friendship and incredible ride I’ve had with some amazing people.

 

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.

Continue reading Jesus Christ, Friend of the Outcast – A Reflection on my journey so far with God’s Squad Christian Motorcycle Club

Beauty From Ashes – Finding God in the most disturbing of places

Something has changed in me recently. Massively so. I’ve become quieter, spent less time opening my mouth and more time listening (much to the delight of some folks). Only a few years ago the world seemed to fit into such nice, neat little boxes, and I had an answer for everything. And so often when you put the world into nice little boxes, what you’re really doing is putting God into a nice little box too.

Continue reading Beauty From Ashes – Finding God in the most disturbing of places

Why I Have A Semicolon On My Finger

Two passions of mine are writing and tattoos. Not always a common combination.

Most of the tattoos I have are a graphic representation of something which is special to me. I’ve always been frustrated by the fact that I can’t draw for toffee, so instead I’ve chosen to use my body as a canvas with the help of other artists.

My most recent tattoo was inspired by a recent trend (I know, I’m soooo trendy….). I came across #projectsemicolon on social media a little while ago, and was instantly inspired to join in.  Continue reading Why I Have A Semicolon On My Finger

“Good News For the Poor?” Sermon Video

Last Sunday I had the great privilege of sharing with St Matthew’s Church Luton on the subject of ‘Good News For The Poor’ :