Friday, June 30, 2006

From what we don't do to what we do do...

Recently I've been doing some thinking and processing a thought that's been going around in my head. I've been spending a bit of time with a group of young people in this community who do not go to church. I know that if i asked them to define a 'Christian' they would tell me that a Christian is someone who doesn't drink, doesn't smoke, doesn't swear, doesn't have sex before marriage and goes to church. It really makes me sad and frustrated that we (Christians) are defined by what we DO NOT DO. I mean how rare is that? What other context do you define something by what it is not?! If i asked you to describe Bono you wouldn't say 'well he's NOT a doctor and he's NOT fat and he HASN'T got blond hair'! But yet it seems we as Christians are described by the things we supposedly do not do. Sadly the only description attached as something we DO is 'go to church'.

What does Jesus say when He describes what a follower of Christ should be like. He tells us to feed the hungry, give the thirsty a drink, give money to the poor, visit the sick and imprisoned, help the downtrodden of society, LOVE GOD AND LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOUR. He doesn't focus on what we shouldn't do but on the things we should be doing.

I've just finished reading a great book by Rob Bell called Velvet Elvis, I'd definitely recommend it. Do you ever read a book and feel like the author has just been reading your mind?! Here's what he has to say about being a Christian:
'It is not about what you don’t do. The point is becoming more and more the kind of people God had in mind when we were first created.'
At the end of the day people say what they see and they believe what they experience from their contact with Christians, and no amount of me or anyone else telling them they are wrong is going to change their opinions. We need as a church, as the body of Christ, as an army of Christians (that means everyone) to start doing the stuff Jesus tells us to do and impacting people's lives and our communities. Then people might really begin to experience faith in action and so change their definitions. I mean if we don't do this then are we not all just goats? I don't know about you but i'm not so keen on what happens to the goats in Matthew 25.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Children's service, 24, Settlers and Summer Madness...

Just finished the end of another busy week. Im just back in from our Children's service - it was great. The children all did fantastic and the church was packed. I was speaking at it, just a short 5-10min talk, i think it went ok, at least i hope it did!

Ive had a fun weekend! On Friday night i completed the watching of 24 Season 5 - it's an amazing finale. For any of you who haven't seen it yet i won't spoil it but you will love it!

I've also been playing lots of Settlers over the last week. For any of you who haven't a clue what i'm talking about it's a board game. Its a hard game to explain but if your interested click here. Anyway ive introduced the game to a group of lads from church and so there's already been a few late nights of competition! The sad thing is that i haven't won a game yet against them!!! My time will come! Settlers is a great relational tool also, which is what i really like about it. I definitely feel that we have bonded over late nite Settlers sessions!

Anyway, i feel ive loads to get done this week cos I'm off to Summer Madness on Friday which will be followed with Streetreach until Sunday 9th July. We've got about 35 young people going to Summer Madness so please pray for them all, that God will really move in their lives. There's also about 8 of us staying for Streetreach so please pray for that too.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Jet Pilot supported by Sonic Flood...

So we had a Formal dinner on Friday night for our Fusion group (YF aged 12-18) at Edenmore Golf and Country Club - oh what a night! As many of you may know Saturday was the Megalife gig in Moira Park which was being headlined by Sonic Flood, a worship band from the States. Anyway we are in Edenmore and we find out that Sonic Flood are having a meal in the restaurant and the next thing we know in they come serving our desserts and doing a bit of publicity for their gig! A few of our young people (aged 14-16) have formed a wee band calling themselves Jet Pilot and we had asked them to play after the meal as entertainment for the night. So because all the band gear was set-up the guys from Sonic Flood played a couple of songs for us - it was our own little private gig! Then they asked Jet Pilot to play a song so our guys rocked out a bit of Californication by the Chilli Peppers - they were awesome and i could definitely see the guys from the Flood were impressed! Anyways basically it was a cracker night's craic and Jet Pilot's claim to fame now is that they were supported by Sonic Flood in one of their first ever gigs!

Sonic Flood doing their thing.

Jet Pilot in action being appreciated by the Flood!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Naked evangelism on Wyndup beach...

This is a funny one! site apparently posted a spoof article on April Fools day that was taken too seriously by some Aussie fundamentalists as the proof they needed to confirm the liberal tendancies of the emerging church! The article was about naked evangelism with the Rev Adam Sapple ably assisted by Eve Ennsong, and the mission happening on Wyndup Beach - there might just be a few clues in there to not take it too seriously! Click here to watch a video of a news report about the mix-up - its hilarious!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Duck diving...

This morning i took a walk down at Oxford Island, what a beautiful morning and hardly any flies too which is rare for the Lough! Was watching these ducks for a while and the larger ducks were diving (which is funny to watch!) and coming back up with food which the little ones would take from their mouths (you can see this in the pic) - it was fascinating to watch the selflessness of nature. It got me thinking about that top down Biblical principle where we as Christians have a responsibility to be feeding others. Barnabas did this for Paul who in turn did this for Timothy. I mean if we are not spiritually influencing anyone then what are we doing to build the kingdom? By spiritual influence i mean moving people forward in their spiritual journey which can be pre-faith or post-faith.

I reckon if we as Christians were doing our job right then the world would have a great need of us. People would have as much need in their lives for a Christian as they have for a good friend or a GP. What a picture that would be of people needing REAL Christians in their lives who love them and care about them, not judging them for what they do but instead offering grace & mercy. Sounds like the sorta people i need in my life.

Monday, June 12, 2006

The to-do list...

So I'm back into work tomorrow (Mondays are kinda a day off for me) after last week which was filled mostly with work with third year classes in Lurgan Junior High (it rocked!), and also a LONG LONG Wednesday at the PCI General Assembly where i slowly lost the will to live! Anyways, I'm starting to feel under pressure cos I've lots to get sorted in the next 2 weeks - Fusion Formal this Friday Night, Summer Madness planning, Summer Youth week planning, Planning for youth fellowship programmes for September, detached youth work project progression & church marketing/website progression are all on my to-do list so i really just need to get stuck in this week and get things done. On top of all that we are now in the midst of World Cup '06 which has to fit in there sometime too! Please pray that i will be effective and efficient in my use of time and that God would be clear in my decision making and planning! Thanks folks!

Sunday, June 11, 2006


It seems to be the season of Stag days for me as i had one yesterday and have another next Saturday. Yesterday was paintballing in Monaghan. I must admit, having heard lots about it but never having done it before i was really excited! I wasn't disappointed, it was a great days craic and if you've never done it then give it a go! It was run by a company called Escarmouche Paintball who were very professional and well organised. I took these pics of our day from their website.

It ain't too often a group of respectable adults can get away with running around a forest in camouflage gear carrying a weapon capable of firing pellets of paint at 150-200mph at people (causing serious bruising for some might i add)! You also feel no embarrassment shouting phrases like 'cover me' and 'flank left' cos they make sense!!!

Given my current climate of watching 24 season 5 (i'm on episode 9) and my recent reading of Wild at Heart by John Eldredge, this was just what i needed as an outlet to express myself and that adventurous spirit that supposedly is built into the make-up of man!

I think this pic to the right might be me but its hard to tell!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

24 shaped hole...

Some of you who know me well will be surprised by the lack of 24 related material on this blog - let me explain. I'm fairly new to the 24 phenomenon as i only started watching Season 1 in January '06 and finished it within 3 days (that's approx 18 hours of viewing). Over the next 3 months i worked my way through Seasons 2-4 and watched my last episode of Season 4 on 13th April. So that's 96 episodes and 72 hours of viewing in about 3 months. Now some people might feel that is an appauling waste of time but on the contrary i feel it was definitely a worthwhile investment! The show is amazing and Jack Baur is definitely one of my heroes in life! Heard this quote recently:
Jack Baur isn't afraid of the dark, the dark is afraid of him.
For anyone who hasn't ever been introduced to the world of CTU and Jack then i have just purchased Season 1 and would be willing to lend it out to anyone who may be interested and feels they have some time on their hands.

It's been 52 days since my last episode and whilst i no longer have dreams where i am in employed by the CTU and fighting terrorism alongside Jack, i do still have a 24 shaped hole in my life that just can't be filled with anything else TV has to offer. The exciting thing is that there is a strong possibility that i may be getting my hands on most of the episodes from Season 5 tomorrow so if i'm not quite so active on the blog front for the next few days you will understand why!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Taking a walk...

I've been in this role now for 5 weeks and it has struck me recently that I have a spiritual responsibility for the young people i am engaging with. Whilst i felt a responsibility for the young people in my previous job, because they mostly did not have a faith, i guess i was often more concerned for their physical and emotional well-being than their spirituality. However, with this post I am working with a solid group of about 40 young people who are already on that spiritual journey and i am seeking to fulfill the role of a spiritual leader for them! This scares me somewhat! Part of me feels completely inadequate but i think God likes using people like that! Anyway, basically i've decided that i need to build spiritual disciplines into my week to allow me the time and space to connect with God and pray, listen and reflect.

So i headed down to Oxford Island yesterday morning for a bit of a walk with God. Brought my camera with me so hope you like the pics. If you've never been there before its a beautiful place to walk (apart from the swarms of flies that is!) and really quiet and peaceful. I spent about 2 hours walking, sitting, praying, thinking and writing. It was a beautiful sunny morning too which i guess helped! I'm gonna try to make this a weekly Wednesday morning thing for me so I've blocked it into my diary already!

Anyway, i was praying for a friend of mine and thanking God for how compassionate she is. She is one of those people who's compassion immediately moves her to action. I wish i was like that but somehow i seem to be able to ignore God's compassion when it touches or challenges me. I avoid action by thinking of what it will cost me in terms of time, money, emotion... and at the end of the day will my action really make much difference in this screwed up world??? So by this stage the moment has passed and i can move on. It makes me feel really guilty to say this but often it's reality for me. I long for God's compassion to mobilise me to make a difference, no matter how small or insignificant it might appear in the grand scale of a messed up world. What stops me is entirely my own selfishness. I thank God that He is patient with me and He is not finished with me yet!