Thursday, March 31, 2005

Selfish is as selfish does

Firstly, can I say that I know that I am selfish. I know that this is a weakness of mine. I know that I need to ask God for his forgiveness. I'm partly writing this entry to get rid of my frustration, so that by the time I am embarking on this particular adventure I will have got over it!!

Oh boy, as if I'm not being challenged already with a lot of stuff, the next thing that I have to bite my tongue at is that I've been put on the "Create" team for Shocking..... I don't really know what to say. Maybe I'm constantly giving off the wrong signals as to what I'm passionate about or good at - first at the youth rally where I was put down for hospitality. Ok that I dealt with, and saw it as an opportunity to do something different. Now instead of doing the regular pastoral stuff at the big top, I've been put down to do "creative stuff", like poetry, painting, sculpting - all the stuff I absolutely have no desire to do..... I just don't know whats going on anymore.....

Right well you know what? I'm just going to go with it and wait for God to totally smash my pre-conceptions. I'm writing this entry, so when I look back after the experience I can say:
"Man I'm glad I did "Create" after all. I was totally blown away with how God used me and blessed me!" At the moment I'm feeling quite down about this. I really do hope that God shows me up on this. Lord please prove me wrong. I so want to be!!

I guess this is another area that I have to get out of my comfort zone. I've had a really wonderful past 2years of being on the big top staff... I've really enjoyed being a Cell leader. God has really spoken to me and through me in very powerful ways.... I was really looking forward to doing it all again... But someone is saying "No" this time. It's actually really uncomfortable and quite irritating. I have absolutely no idea if this thing is going to be a flop or not. I hope it's successful, I'll be praying that the Holy Spirit descends upon us all in an amazing away. I pray that we'll receive a fresh encounter with the Lord of life.

I hope that I'm going to be able to look back on my graduation night and beyond when I'm giving my testimony and say:
"Man there were some tough challenges this year... there were times when I resented decisions that were made, but boy did God totally humble me!" I must say that this has happened many times already. I hope it happens again because I'm a total loser to be so selfish.

Lord create in me a clean heart. Unseal my lips so that I may praise you and thank you for such wonderful opportunities to disciple your children.
Amen

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

March reflection

Ok, time for some honesty.
I feel like something is seriously not right at the moment. There's something weird going on in my life that I can't quite put a finger on. I'm constantly grappling with my issues regarding my future.... Oasis? Cliff college? officership? overseas work? other?

I just don't know what I feel anymore. I don't know if I want to do youthwork because that's simply the automatic choice of a young person. I do have a passion for youth ministry, but is it enough to actually devote my life to being a youth worker? Could I cut it? At the moment I very much doubt it.
I'm still trying to get to grasps with what exactly effective youth work "looks like" Am I spending too much time with some people than others? How do I engage in conversation with football mad teens when I have no love for the sport myself?? What is it about Jesus or the church that is attracting them to attend anyway? How do I go about ensuring they have a clear understanding of what faith is and the what the gospel is about??

Yeah I'm sure it's about "trust" and "prayer" and "reading your bible daily etc... but I think thats a ridiculously primitive answer when you're trying to put it into practice..... "Welcome to the world of leadership" I hear some of my readers cry out.

Let's go over some of the things I know without a doubt that I both want and feel anointed to do:

1) Preach the gospel - Cautiously staying away from street corners... I have yet to meet or heard about anyone who preaches in this fashion effectively (In this century anyway). If it was condoned by people who I regard as great speakers, then I would be all for it... Gosh does that sound like I'm disagreeing with Scripture??? Hmm maybe I am being heretical.. I definitely see its use in the times where literacy was rubbish amongst the people of 1st century palestine, and even the early days of the salvation army... Yeah it worked... Wesley, Whitfield, Booth.. Yes I salute you. Maybe if it was used in the context of an open-air service... again though, I have to question this.. I just don't think it's an effective way of sharing the gospel in the Upper Norwood area.. that is my first priority obviously at the moment.
Anyway, preaching has other forms of course; church services, events, conferences, youth group meetings and so on. I see it as part of the package of a corporate worship time together: ie where people get together to celebrate, praise, revere, question, discuss, learn, discover Jesus and His good news.

I cannot explain why, but this desire burns within and through me. I must tell people about Jesus, I must teach his ways, I must get to grips with what scripture says, about what experience says, and what God is continually saying through countless ways and share this with other people. I believe God is equipping me to use this in my ministry. In what way shape or form I do not know. It's always nice to think big, but that is incredibly dangerous. I will not raise myself above my calling despite whatever skills or gifts I "believe" I have. Local settings must be my priority. I would hate to be destroyed by an ungodly desire to something which I am simply not called to do.

2) Discipling - I desperately want to be a positive influence on the people that I meet everyday. I want to be an effective discipler and help people along their spiritual journey. I want to be a man of wisdom and one whom God speaks through in order to encourage his children and empower them in their faith.

Reading back on that last paragraph, something has just struck me. I used the words "I want" at least 3 times.... Is that what God wants of me??

In fact am I finally coming to the answer to the question which I posed at the very beginning.... How much does My Wanting correlate to God's Anointing? How much of this is simply me and how much is God? Maybe this is the answer, but terribly this is also leads me right back to where I started: Big Question...

What is it exactly that God is calling me on to do??? Now I'm not so sure...
My prayer then is this: Lord strip away all that is from me and reveal to me your perfect will. In Jesus name, amen.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The God I love is not a neon-sign (quote of the week)

Ok so like, here's me thinking Cliff college might be the thing, but speaking to Adam Bonner yesterday, there might be an option to do the "Oasis" programme... Now I'm confused! God isn't making it very easy for me! But that is fine, thats what faith is about.

Had out last Alpha course evening yesterday. I can't believe how fast 10 weeks have come and gone! Wow! It's been a really great time of sharing together and discussing issues and beliefs. The best part of it is 2 people who weren't connected with a church are not attending at Upper Norwood! So hallelujah for that, because that is purely God doing his thang again!

The songsters are holding some kind of evening service thing tonight for easter. Whilst its not something I would normally go to, I think it would be good to support them. Especially as most of them support the youth when they're doing stuff.

Oh yeah, monday was pretty cool! Led over60's and bible study again and received (get this) A rather nice easter egg! So thats been eaten.... well not really. Waiting rather impatiently for sunday!

ps checkout the Star Wars trailer! totally rocking! you need crummy quick-time though to make it work.... http://starwars.com
Peace

Sunday, March 20, 2005

long time no blog

Yes I know I broke my promise! Instead of regularly it's taken me at least 2 weeks to post something else... Man what a busy few weeks I've had though!

7th March until 10th was spent in Nottingham Arnold for more Timothy training. This time we were split into two teams, so the others were going to be spending the time at Morden, (am aware of the poor use of grammar in previous sentence, but can't be bothered to delete it).I must admit that I was very childish about having to travel "all the way" to Nottingham. First sheffield and now this! Fortunately I very quickly repented as soon as I got to Notts because I remembered how blessed I was to actually be there learning from some great teachers in the first place.

Subjects taught were theology, stuff on the Eden project, relationship boundaries and something else which I can't quite remember, but it was all good! Actually something quite important resulted from a conversation I had with the theology teacher which I will now divulge.

The man in question is a Dr Peter Philips and he is a tutor at cliff college, which is a christian theological and bible college http://cliffcollege.org .
I told him I have a fairly keen interest in theology and would like to study it more indepth, but have been deterred from applying to Universities because of my lack of A-levels. He told me that A-levels weren't necessarily needed for cliff, so I've actually received a prospectus and have emailed them to ask about the intake for this year.

The one barrier is the cost. it's around £18,000 which is... yeah u said it, so am considering maybe trying to apply for a bursary or a student load. I'm not going to jump the gun though. It's important that I wait for a reply before rushing off to the bank manager. If this is what God wants me to do then all will be revealed.

Prayer is the key....

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

youth church and other fun-filled "fings"

Ok, about time I posted!

Well Sunday evening was a really blessed time! Our first ever youth church was so worth the wait!

I'd been praying for days and days, for everyone involved and everyone who would be turning up. I also had a responsibility to these guys to speak from God. I was desperate that what I said came from him and not my own crazy thoughts

The organisation didn't go without a few problems (typically) we had to rely on one mic to do the business because 2 of the others were making weird, scratchy, screaming noises (mics not people!) we had other technical problems, but nothing prayer couldn't handle.

The event itself was really great. The band played really well despite the lack of practices! It was really encouraging to see everyone getting on well and enjoy the evening.

Gosh my first ever preach! I spoke on God's love (agape etc.) I had been quite nervous beforehand, but stepping up and speaking, my fear melted away and I actually really enjoyed it. The weird thing is it's almost like it wasn't me speaking, and when I had finished, I couldn't believe how quickly time seemed to have passed (it was around 20mins) During the response, it was great to see people praying in groups and by themselves. I basically invited them to take some time to chill with God and let His words soak in. I personally was very blessed from the evening.

Our curry club is meeting again tonight woohoo! Really enjoyed the last one, so I hope this new place is good. Also just finished working on my talk for Home league tomorrow (thats right home league!) I'm speaking on ALOVE which should hopefully be interesting for the old un's to hear.

Oh yeah, we've had Aled Jones (the guy who sang the snowman theme song) here recording his latest CD at Upper Norwood hall! As I'm typing, this wonderful orchestra is playing the backing music. Weird eh? the salvation army used for a recording studio because of it's "great acoustics!"

Linda and I are doing a school assembly tomorrow based on Noah's Ark. We did one last week which went down well. Will be using more Dougy-doug-doug songs for them to bounce around to.

It's nice to have a lot of interesting things to write about all at once! Better then talking about how rubbish the weather is at the moment! (which it is)

By the way, if anyone reading this has broadband, then download the Jesus videos off of this website... Comedy gold!
www.vintage21.com/media/video.html

Craig