Thursday, 31 January 2008


On my way home last week, I noticed someone had spray-painted the word ‘LOVE’ on a billboard by Westcliff station. Of course, in Southend, graffiti is not something that we are all oblivious to. Every time I walk past St Albans church I notice the bitter words that have been graffiti’d on their notice board. I can’t help but think that sometimes it is a most accurate picture of the world we live in today. One only needs look at the headlines of the newspapers or turn on the 10 o’clock news to see the stories of destruction, hatred and suffering. Why is it so rare to hear about someone standing up for justice, equality, and love?

The sin of omission is to ‘not do what one can and ought to do’. Often we think that as long as we do not break the Ten Commandments, we have not sinned. But Jesus also gave us the Greatest Commandment, to love God, and to love other people. To truly love others is to stand up for their rights when they are oppressed, to feed them when they are hungry, to encourage them when they are down, to shelter them when they are homeless, to pick them up when they stumble; just as you would wish someone to do for you; to love, as you are loved.

I often find myself talking about how much I love my friends, when really, I should be striving to more effectively love my enemies. Cause I am rubbish at that. There is a famous Mother Teresa saying that says: "if we want to make peace, we should not talk to our friends, but to our enemies." (That lady came out with some right gems of wisdom. I might begin to quote her more.) But it is so true. Often we get caught up so much in loving the people that matter to US, that we forget about the people that matter to God.

I don't really know what I'm trying to say here. I wrote this last week. I'm just publishing it now.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008


It is only through our brokenness that we can fully appreciate the awesome healing power of the Holy Spirit, and allow the powerful things within us to truly pour out into our lives. It is not weak to be broken, as it is only in our vulnerable state that we can truly connect to the world around us, taking in the things that also break the heart of Jesus. God has some brilliant treasures that he wants us to experience. But some of them can only be experienced by the breaking of our hearts, and ourselves, for we are naturally proud and stubborn.

Travelling in the darkness is not in itself a bad thing, but it is that transition out from the darkness and into the light that is truly remarkable. For it is in our broken state that we allow God to change us and mold us, fashioning us for far greater things than we can have achieved on our own. In our state of despair, or depression, we rely on God, we give our lives over to him, we become meek, and in that, strong, in Christ.

"Meanwhile, Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who had previously had leprosy. While he was eating, a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard. She broke open the jar and poured the perfume over his head."
Mark 14:3

Saturday, 26 January 2008


N.B. I have been meaning to write this ever since the service on Hope 08 on the 30th December. I guess now seems the right time to actually say something.

So I've realised, that all too often in life there are things that happen that can get us down, dampen our spirit, and make us feel like the world is coming to an end. And often, it is when those things are going on, that we forget about the one thing that will banish the darkness from our days. We seek to find the things that are going wrong, and forget to cherish the gems that come into our lives, blessings from God that are cast aside because we are having a bad day, week or month.

This is the year of Hope, right? Hope 2008. The big year for changing the world. It seems like a pretty big task. Where do we even start? There is so much injustice, inequality and hatred that is present in our world today, what could any one person possibly do to change that? How do we, as Christians, seek to shine a light out into the darkness that so many people are consumed by?

Well, we each do our bit. I don't know if you've ever seen the film Evan Almighty but its great. The moral that comes out at the end (yes I am about to spoil it) is that by each person performing one act of random kindness at a time, (ARK) it subsequents that we each change the world. Its a pretty simple method. You could also look at the principle behind Pay It Forward. In both cases, the person wanting to change the world, had the change the lives of those around them first.

We can't do it alone. And so that is how I am going to work through 2008, and beyond. Attempting to change the lives of those around me for the better; everyone I meet, everyone I talk to. Its a pretty big task, when I think about it. I want to become a blessing that shines out to those who are still in the darkness. Cause I know that's a pretty lonely place to be. And I know there is hope, in Jesus.

"And the world keeps spinning, through the darkness towards the light."

Thursday, 24 January 2008


My eldest sister and her husband were expecting their first baby in July. However, on Tuesday something went wrong and Mel suffered a miscarriage. I for once, am actually pretty lost for words. But I know that God holds that little baby in his arms, and that he holds us as a family, closer together, seeking comfort from each other. I only ask that you keep my family in your prayers.

"For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and
wonderfully made; your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together
in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me were written
in your book before one of them came to be."
Psalm 139: 13 - 16

Monday, 21 January 2008


N.B. I don't know what I'm going to write in this blog. I shall type as I feel able. These last few days/weeks in Southend have been pretty good. So this blog might even seem a little out of the blue. If I'm honest, it's been a long time coming. I've just never got round to writing all these feelings down. Maybe I should have explained this stuff to a few more people, and it would have made situations less awkward. If that is the case, then I am truly sorry. Please don't take that as a reflection on the dear relationship I have with you. It was merely a case that I was not able to find the words to explain myself adequately.

So there's things that I do that really affect the way I deal with close relationships. And maybe in the past, they've been pointed out and I've chosen to ignore them, and so maybe most of the time I'm not really being me, but rather, the person that I think others want me to be. It's no secret that I've struggled majorly in the past with self-worth. Maybe thats all a part of it.

One thing I do is wear the 'mask'. (And I'm not talking about a green thing here...) Sometimes I don't even realise I am wearing it. But most of the time, I am. Let me explain: If I've had a bad day, then to about 99.9% of people who ask me how my day was, I will say "Yeah, t'was pretty good thanks." If I've had a good day, then you'll probably get the same answer. The 'mask' is the fake smiles and laughter behind which I can hide my real being. Sometimes it slips, and I get upset in public. Which I hate. But, ya know, I've tried being more open recently. I've tried talking some worries through with people I haven't known all that long. Sometimes, it has helped greatly. Other times it has left me feeling even worse than before. I am still experimenting to be honest, being open and leaving myself vulnerable to rejection. I wouldn't say that the 'mask' has completely gone yet. I still wear it 70% of the time. But that's progress.

The second thing I do, is substitute anger for homesickness, or loneliness. This is big mistake. When I begin to miss someone from home; instead of getting upset I find little excuses to get angry at them. It can be anything. Anything to stop myself having to admit that actually, I really miss them, and I haven't heard from them in a while, and actually, that really hurts. Feeling anger towards them is easier than feeling like I'm losing them.

Actually. That's what inspired me to write this blog. Right now, it hurts. Deep inside me, I'm feeling empty because so many things this week have made me feel like I've been forgotten. And every time I hear from one of my friends, it makes me feel even more left out. Maybe I read into things too much. But even though I can be getting on great here, and feel part of the church family, I still constantly feel like I'm missing things that I used to be a part of. Little things, that I'm not around for anymore. And there aren't actually any words that can adequately describe what I'm feeling right now. I can't actually even see the computer screen very well, because as I type this, tears are welling up in my eyes. Maybe I miss my friends tonight more than I ever have before. Maybe I'll cry myself to sleep tonight, and in the morning, maybe I'll get up and put that mask back on.

"I've been down and I'm wondering why,
These little black clouds keep walking around with me...
So maybe tomorrow, I'll find my way home."
'Maybe Tomorrow' - Stereophonics

Thursday, 17 January 2008


N.B. Coming back from Training Week there is a lot of stuff in my head that I am trying to organise, this is a mild attempt to get some of it written down.

So, it the New Year. A year of new beginnings, new starts? And yet, when so much from the past has influenced and changed us, we hang on to it. Old friends, old loves, old struggles, old mistakes. There are plenty of things from the last few years of my life that I am still holding on to. And maybe I didn't even realise how much, until now.

On the Thursday night of Training Week the 2nd Years ran the evening worship session. They are always really good, and it is good for us "Firsties" to learn from those who have been through and struggled with things that we are all coping with now. They are a great sense of support and leadership for us, definately for me.

Jo is really shy normally, and yet she got up the front and did a talk on 'jumping into empty swimming pools for God' (it does make sense...) Her talk was good. But what made the most impact on me was that Jo was saying it. Jo, who never (voluntarily) takes an 'up-front' role. But she did it anyway, and said some really good things to us about how we must trust in God to fill the pool with water. And it made me think that maybe I really could do an assembly after all...

After the worship, I sat at the front and was thinking through things. Kat came up and prayed with me, speaking specifically that God wanted me to have peace. Afterwards said to me that God had showed her this image of keys, and that I was holding on to them, and God just wanted me to loosen my grip a bit. The keys to the past or the keys to freedom, and inner peace? I don't know. But either way, God was telling me to let go, and really trust that He had my future in His hands. Trust that God lives in this very moment with me.

As I was writing this out in my bedroom at Niki + Paul's, I looked up at my bedroom wall, and hanging up there is a photo frame, with these words inside:

"I was regretting the past and fearing the future, and suddenly my Lord was speaking, "My Name Is: 'I AM.' He paused, and I waited. He continued:
When you live in the past, with its mistakes and regreats, it is hard: I am not there. My name is not: 'I WAS'.
When you live in the future, with its problems and fears, it is hard: I am not there. My name is not 'I WILL BE'.
When you live in this moment it is not hard: I am here.
My Name Is: 'I AM'"

We must live in each moment, in which we will experience God. He IS in the world around us, if only we were to look closer. In every smile and every tear. His voice is like thunder, like laughter, like rain drops. It is the NOW we must change, in order to change at all.

Saturday, 5 January 2008


N.B. This is my new about me on MySpace. Its all good. It's my new philosophy in life. Cause I believe that no matter who you are, or what you do, there are some things in life that you can't change. Things that money and power cannot affect. And the only way you can deal with that is by accepting it. Sometimes, life is hard. But you can't let it drag you down. I have, for many years. But I am beginning to realise now that the only thing I need is to be loved by God. Nothing else.

My life so far has been a learning curve; the things I have been through shape me into who I was always suppposed to be. I know the future is better than the past, because I trust that my life is in God's hands. I have learnt many hard lessons in life, because things happen that you can't control and things happen that you can't change. But you have to look ahead to where the light is shining, not behind you to where the shadow falls. You must learn to love other people, and love them dearly, putting their needs above your own. You mustn't be afraid to laugh at yourself, or smile when no-one is looking. Watch the sun as it rises, and wish it goodnight as it sets; let your hair loose in the summer breeze, and lay peacefully in green fields. Let the world revolve around you, taste the salt of tears on your lips, and when you hold a sleeping child in your arms, realise that you are completely accepted.

The world is constantly changing. And we are all changing too. I have started a journey that will last me my entire life, and its the best journey ever. Because, life may not always be easy, and I may not always be able to see the road ahead, but I know that I trust in the amazing grace that comes from my Lord, and I will always be safe, and I will always be loved. And thats all anyone ever wants, isn't it?

Wednesday, 2 January 2008


One thing that I have learned that I am constantly having to come back to is forgiveness. To learn to forgive is hard, but great a gift. When I asked a good friend of mine once what the most important thing in his life was, his reply was simply forgiveness. When struggling with the difficulties of life, it is easy to project blame onto other people, in order to relieve yourself of having to deal with yourself. Personally, I am rubbish at holding grudges. I have been betrayed many times, by people I believed to be my best friends, but I have forgiven them, and they remain, to this day, some of my best friends.

The dictionary states that to forgive is:
1. to grant pardon for or remission of (an offense, debt, etc.); absolve.
2. to give up all claim on account of; remit (a debt, obligation, etc.).
3. to grant pardon to (a person).
4. to cease to feel resentment against: to forgive one's enemies.

It was that last one that got me. To cease to feel resentment against... it has been easy for me in the past to say, "I forgive you" to people. But those words had to become action. In order for me to really release that pain that was felt when I was betrayed, I had to embrace that person and become friends with them again. Become good friends. In this world, in this day and age, there are so many who will try to put me down, to make me feel worthless, just so that they may get ahead. I do not want to waste time arguing with those to whom I have an emotional attachment.

It's a New Year. I am going to make new start. Let go of old grievances and old disaggreements. Make peace with old friends, smile and laugh with them like I have done before. Maybe its a good time to think about whether you could do the same.

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

New Year

N.B. It is late as I write this, but I write it because if I wait till I have slept then I would have perhaps forgotten everything that I wanted to say, and I want to say it, because I believe it is important.

I am quite unaffected by the whole “New Year!!” feeling. It’s just another day, another minute, another second later than the last. A year is just a time period, made significant by the Romans’ invention of the calendar as they traced the seasons and the days according to the moon and the sun. So I really don’t see the big deal. I go to New Year’s Eve gatherings because it is a chance to socialise with people, have some fun, “let ya hair down a bit” but when it comes to getting all excited with the fireworks and the trekking it to London and the New Year’s resolutions, well I guess I’m a bit of a scrooge.

I guess up till September, my life was pretty constant. I went to church. I went to school. I hung out with friends. I helped at kids and youth clubs. Day in, day out, all year round, for the last – however many years, right? But this year, I’m here. I’m in a new place, with new people, with new prospects, and new hopes. And so I guess this year I’ve really began to realise the significance to what people see when a new year is dawning. They believe; they hope; that the New Year will bring new things for them, a chance of promotion, a chance of love, a change in lifestyle. They make resolutions, in the hope that THIS year, they will be able to keep it longer than the afternoon of New Years Day. They celebrate that, they live for that.

However, I am appalled and angry that £1.3 million was spent on the 11-MINUTE fireworks display in London for the New Year. £1.3 MILLION! Are you kidding me? If we as a country had that much money to spend on stupid fireworks, then why didn’t we sent it out to somewhere like the Philippines, or Africa, where children are dying every day because they don’t have clean water or enough food to eat? Where little children are living and working on rubbish dumps, searching for something they can sell, because they have no families to look after them. They have nowhere warm to come home to at night, no-one to give them a cuddle and tell them they love them. Can you blame me for being a scrooge when it comes to New Year with thoughts like that? Who makes decisions like that, to spend that amount of money on some FIREWORKS? So I guess I am still a bit of a scrooge when it comes to New Year.

In 2007, I spent an awful lot of money on things I didn’t need. But I’ve had enough. I’m going to change. In regards to presents on my birthday – I don’t want them anymore. I don’t need them anymore. Give me money, so that I can use it wisely, to aid the life of someone less fortunate than myself. So this is my mission in 2008: to not waste money on things that I don't need and to give the money that God gives me to whoever needs it the most. And I may fail, I may slip up, I may waste money on things I never really needed. But I’m sure as hell going to give it a go, and I shall press on trying, eager to do what I believe is right.