Tag Archives: Christianity

Streams In The Desert

I needed to read this today:

“O Thou of little faith,
God hath not failed thee yet!
When all looks dark and gloomy,
Thou dost so soon forget–
Forget that He has led thee,
And gently cleared thy way;
On clouds has poured His sunshine,
And turned thy night to day.
And if He’s helped thee hitherto,
He will not fail thee now;
How it must wound His loving heart
To see thy anxious brow!
Oh! doubt not any longer,
To Him commit thy way,
Whom in the past thou trusted,
And is “just the same today.”

From “Streams In The Desert” By L B Cowman

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5 Controversial Things You Never Knew About Jesus | 1Africa

Checkout this excerpt of a piece I wrote for 1Africa, click the link below to read more:

#1 Jesus Had Some Rotten Branches in His Family Tree

Unlike our politicians and celebrities, Jesus was not ashamed of the skeletons in his family’s closet. The list of His ancestors includes: Abraham who let another man sleep with his wife, Judah who sold his brother into slavery, Rahab who was a prostitute and citizen of an enemy country, David a murderer and adulterer, Solomon a womaniser, and the list goes on…

#2 Jesus’ Main Opponents Were Religious People………..

#3 Jesus’ Friends Came From the Rough Side of Town…

#4 Jesus Was a Revolutionary……..

#5 Jesus Never Said “God Helps Those Who Help Themselves”…

5 Controversial Things You Never Knew About Jesus | 1Africa.

I’m really excited about what they’re doing, an excellent and aesthetically beautiful blog!

Falling Between The Cracks – Disillusionment With Church

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.

Continue reading Falling Between The Cracks – Disillusionment With Church

Music for Searching Souls – Strength Of My Life

(Photo taken by me at P.O.D. gig at the Camden Underworld, London) 

Off the bat let me make a confession – I’m a major P.O.D. fanboy. I started listening to their music circa ’99 when I became a Christian. Their music has been like a soundtrack of my faith, and the theological journey of their lyrics through the years is not dissimilar to my own path. Continue reading Music for Searching Souls – Strength Of My Life

On Passing Through An Old Place…

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On Freedom – Music For Searching Souls

I hear a lot of talk about freedom but I don’t know that I’ve ever really seen it, except maybe in my dreams.

Some see freedom as a chance to escape. To leave and explore far away lands. But I dream of a freedom which lets me truly come home to the land where I dwell, to the person I really am. To be peace with a place. Continue reading On Freedom – Music For Searching Souls

Music For Searching Souls

One of the greatest passions in my life has been music. From listening to scratchy old LPs on my parents’ record player, stage invasions while playing drums in a gutter-punk band in my teens, wooing my soul-mate with heartfelt songs at an open mic night and to getting bashed up in a mosh pit at a P.O.D. gig.

Something about good music moves the blood in a way little else can. It somehow captures the soul and elevates us to a heightened state of emotion.

Continue reading Music For Searching Souls

A Poem For Good Friday

As a man of many words, even I recognise that there are times too sacred for my incessant ramblings. So today I offer you one of my favourite poems by John Donne – a beer-swilling womaniser who fell in love with Jesus. He masterfully captures the beauty, the pain and the tension of Good Friday in these words, and I pray you will know something of the majesty of this day as you read these them. Continue reading A Poem For Good Friday

Travelling to the land of my forefathers….

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”.

Continue reading Travelling to the land of my forefathers….

Theology – Retreat or Quest?

Theology. It’s a pretty dirty word these days, even in some Christian circles. It conjures images of ivory towers, sweaty academic nerds, uncomfortable wooden pews and dusty old 9-inch thick text books written by dead German men.

Continue reading Theology – Retreat or Quest?

Lord, Lord

Been reflecting on this poem, which is apt for the week I’m having.

It’s been one of those weeks where I’ve really had to get my hands dirty as I’ve journeyed with folks who have some complex needs and even more complex stories. And if I’m honest I’ve been wrestling with the complexties of my own needs and story too.

More and more I see what a mess the world around me is in, and my mind is searching for an answer, a strategy or something. 

I got into one of those wonderful open-ended political debates on facebook the other day, with the lefties and the righties duking it out behind their screens and keyboards, and again I feel like the answer won’t be found in another ‘ism’. This is mainly because God did not send us an ‘ism’, but as the message translation so aptly puts it, he ‘moved into the neighbourhood’ (John 1:14). 

I plan to write something a bit more substatial on the subject of ‘Incarnation’ for college, but then more words aren’t the answer either (although they do help in getting a university degree).

As Mr Turner so eloquently expresses it in the poem above, I want to do more than write a poem. And I’m hoping others will join me.

If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care — then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.
Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion. (‭Philippians‬ ‭2‬:‭1-8‬ MSG)

Consumerist Spirituality – The Lie We Buy

The following is a brief essay I wrote on consumerism and spirituality. It is brief due to strict word count limits but may be of interest:

The question has been posed – “Is Consumerism the default spirituality of our age?”. In order to approach a question such as this, one must paint in broad strokes, and think in general terms about a culture which has attempted to define itself in variety. However, I believe there is value in taking a step back for a ‘big picture’ overview of the overarching (or underpinning?) themes which permeate the tapestry of beliefs and practices which we live among. For the purposes of this essay I will be thinking in general terms about Western culture in the Modern-Postmodern (latemodern?) era, particularly focusing on the middle-class culture of the UK and the US. My argument is this – There is a climate of spiritual consumerism in the west today and it is not a new phenomenon. Furthermore this is an outworking of the ‘consumerisation’ of individuals inherent in a society governed by large political/economic powers, a prime example being the polytheism and emperor worship in the Roman empire at the dawn of the early Church.

Continue reading Consumerist Spirituality – The Lie We Buy

A Different Kind of Kingdom – John 12:20-36

This week we started a new series on the book of John with our Church youth group. The series started with me leading a session on John 12:20-36, and my prep notes ended up being long form, so I though I’d stick them on the blog:

John 12:20-36

John was a first-hand witness of the life of Jesus, one of his 12 closest mates. They journeyed together like brothers, and John particularly had a deep and emotionally intimate relationship with Jesus. John’s version of the story of Jesus was written with one purpose in mind, that it’s readers would “believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing [we] might have life in his Name.” (John 20:31)

…“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. (John 12:23-26 NIV)

Continue reading A Different Kind of Kingdom – John 12:20-36

Top 5 Books I Read In 2014

Well folks, 2015 is here! And so passes 2014, a year which departed quicker than a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.

One of the major changes in my life during 2014 was beginning my studies for a degree in Theology, Mission and Ministry. I know, sounds a little heady for a beardy biker/bricklayer? Of course, even a fairly ‘off-the-wall’ course like what I’m studying requires, or at least is enriched by, reading.

So, out of the selection of laudible, laughable and sometimes lambastable literature I have layed my little hands on, here are a few of the highlights, each with a short review/synopsis. Or syniew as I like to call it.

Continue reading Top 5 Books I Read In 2014

When there are more questions than answers…

So, any regular readers might have noticed a bit of a, well, lull in blog posts lately.

To say that the last few months have been busy would be like calling hummingbird ‘slightly animated’.

As if starting a college course and potential career change weren’t enough, we’ve decided to sell our house and move to the area where most of our ministry happens. As I said on twitter a while ago, 

“bureacracy = my kryptonite”

And guess what all of the above involves bucket loads of….

It’s been a amazing and exciting time, but it’s also been a little tough. I haven’t been sleeping well, and I can hardly think about anything other than how damn powerless I feel. And that is pretty much the key point.

Continue reading When there are more questions than answers…