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???
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→
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→
Last week I spent a couple of days attending the National Worship Leader Conference, hosted by Worship Leader Magazine, featuring many well-known speakers and worship leaders. The conference was held about 15 minutes down the road from me, so it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. I’m glad I went.
I met some new people, heard some thought-provoking teaching, enjoyed some good meals and conversations with worship leader friends, and experienced in-person some of the modern worship trends that are becoming the norm in evangelicalism. It was eye-opening in many ways.
Over the last few days I’ve been processing some of what I saw and heard.
Worship Leader Magazine does a fantastic job of putting on a worship conference that will expose the attendees to a wide variety of resources, techniques, workshops, songs, new artists, approaches, teachings, and perspectives. I thought of Mark Twain’s famous quote…
It’s been very quiet here for a while, with all the craziness of life – work, studies, Church, and of course family (with the arrival of our son Jared Benjamin). But I’m pleased to tickle your fancy with the news that soon I’ll be publishing an academic piece I’m writing:
Intelligence On Fire: A Brief Analysis of Rev Dr John Smith – a 20th Century mission pioneer….
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→
This is my attempt to make some sense of a struggle at work in my mind and in the wider Church. For the sake of argument I will be generalising and using stereotypes, so forgive me…
So let’s start with some background. Sometimes I fear that my present situation will result in some kind of theological personality disorder (and don’t you dare say schizophrenia, it’s a totally different thing). I attend a reformed evangelical church, with a very strong emphasis on Bible teaching. My own theological position has strong Reformed and Calvinist leanings, and I have generally held to the old war cry of the reformers ‘Sola Scriptura, tota scriptura’ – ‘Only the Bible, all of the Bible’ for the basis of my ‘theology’ – (for the purpose of this exercise I’m treating theology as an umbrella term for interpretation of the Bible, understanding of God and a ‘Christian outlook’ on life). Beyond this I have even been influenced by the (what some would call extreme fundamentalist and right wing) Christian Reconstruction movement. Broadly speaking my theological position could be described as a ‘systematic theology’. Bearing this in mind, most of my life and ministry is spent among emergents, charismatics, fans of liberation theology, left-wing, and generally non-‘sola scriptura’ type people. So basically I have feet deep in both the liberal and conservative camps, and yet I don’t fit into either of them. And I’m not alone.
I’m sitting in the rather splendid café at the Church Mission Society headquarters in the old city of Oxford. Enjoying a latté and gathering my thoughts ready for my second day at college. I’m studying on the ‘Pioneer Mission Leadership Training’ course for the next three years, God willing. And so far judging by the support and encouragement I’ve received, I’d say He’s willing. Continue reading Dusting off my pencil case and heading back to School→
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.
“There is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still.” ― Corrie ten Boom
“God’s definition of what matters is pretty straightforward. He measures our lives by how we love.” ― Francis Chan, Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
“The greatest honour we can give Almighty God is to live gladly because of the knowledge of his love.” ― Julian of Norwich
“To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.” ― Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God
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.
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?
We made it to our first 1,000 hits this week, which is amazing to me! In view of this I thought I’d share a little about my background, and why writing this blog as been part of a process of healing for me.
I never thought that writing a blog about my thoughts and experiences would interest other people, which is why I’ve never done it before. But after about 6 weeks of writing I’ve reached over a thousand hits in 32 different countries. I’m not saying this to show off, but because I’m dumbfounded by it. For years I’ve had all these ideas rolling around in my head, and I fantasised about writing a book one day. Not that I thought anyone would want to read it. Continue reading First 1,000 Hits and why I write→