Wednesday, December 31, 2008

YouVersion Challenge 2009

One of the things that has revolutionised my Bible reading this year is

I hooked up with the website earlier this year and started to use the 1 year Bible reading plan. Find it here.

As I tend to carry my lap top with me most of the time and make use of wifi at places like Starbucks and even MKCC my reading plan is only a click away.

Later in the year I got an iPhone and downloaded the free Bible app. This means that my connection to loads of versions is always on and I have even been able to download a offline version.

I can honestly say that these tools have dramatically increased my Bible reading in 2008.

I also used to link devotions on my blog for our series at MKCC: Simply Jesus or Acts.

Join with me this year and you will read the Old Testament once and the New Testament twice.

Read more here

Visit the web here

Download the iPhone app.

Download the Blackberry app.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Promise first

I have started to read the latest book by Erwin McManus entitled Wide Awake - The Future is waiting within You. At first glance I was not sure I wanted to read it. To be honest the sub title put me off a little. I felt myself saying if my future is within me I don't want to know it. It won't be that great. But I need not have worried that one of my favourite communicators would let me down.

Recounting the story where James & John approach Jesus to ask him something but before that do they want to know the answer was yes. Just like we used to do with our parents. As Erwin says: Promise first, and then I will tell you what I want.

Often we can do that with Jesus. We want an up front yes for what we want. The only problem is that we don't always realise what we are asking for. James & John asked basically to be in charge in God's Kingdom. But they and Jesus were looking at 2 different sides of the same coin.

They were looking at the power, privileges and prestige of their request. Jesus was looking at the servanthood, sacrifice and pain they would have to endure to get there.

I wrote at the top of page 14 of the the book - Being in charge means pain!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Where is God?

Not much blogging over last few days. On holiday and too much other things to do. Read this quote yesterday:

When you walk through the valley of the shadow,
When your steps take you to the edge:
When your voice echoes back across the void;
God is closer than your breath.
- James Long

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Peace on Earth we need to now

Woke up to look at BBC website news today to be greeted by this.

Seems like the day after the ceasefire was over the Israeli's have launched an air strike on Gaza. In response to increased rocket attacks by hamas.

Then I read about yet another car bomb in Iraq.

Merry Christmas everyone!

I was reminded of the U2 song - Peace on earth. The phrase was connected to Jesus birth by angelic appearance. Bono's song expresses his frustration with the lack of peace in his own country of Ireland at the time of writing.

Heaven on Earth
We need it now
I'm sick of all of this
Hanging around

Sick of sorrow
I'm sick of the pain
I'm sick of hearing
Again and again
That there's gonna be
Peace on Earth

Where I grew up
There weren't many trees
Where there was we'd
tear them down
And use them on our enemies

They say that what you mock
Will surely overtake you
And you become a monster
So the monster will not break you

And it's already gone too far
You said that if you go in hard
You won't get hurt

Jesus can you take the time
To throw a drowning man a line
Peace on Earth

Tell the ones who hear no sound
Whose sons are living
in the ground
Peace on Earth

No who's or why's
No one cries like a mother cries
For peace on Earth

She never got to say goodbye
To see the color in his eyes
Now he's in the dirt
Peace on Earth

They're reading names out
Over the radio
All the folks the rest of us
Won't get to know

Sean and Julia
Gareth, Anne, and Breeda
Their lives are bigger than
Any big idea

Jesus can you take the time
To throw a drowning man a line
Peace on Earth

To tell the ones who
hear no sound
Whose sons are living
in the ground
Peace on Earth

Jesus in the song you wrote
The words are
sticking in my throat
Peace on Earth

Hear it every Christmas time
But hope and history won't rhyme
So what's it worth

This peace on Earth
Peace on Earth
Peace on Earth
Peace on Earth

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

O Holy Night

Just because its Christmas Eve a Christmas Carol:

Oh Holy Night from NewSpring Media on Vimeo.

Bono on Christmas

Its Christmas Eve and its been a little different for me this year. 80 degree temperatures do not make it feel like Christmas. My house is usually covered in various decorations and today I sit in a very nice yet bland rented villa. So in some ways it does not feel like Christmas. One thing that is similar are the shops. They are packed morning, noon and night. You would not believe there is a credit crunch!

Today we are going to Aquatica and Sea World sandwiching a trip to Discovery Church for their Christmas Eve services. It will be good to take time out to remember what Christmas is all about.

At MKCC we have just finished our series based on U2 songs so I was interested to read the following quote from Bono over at The Resurgence.

"On Christmas Eve Bono went to the famous St. Patrick’s Cathedral, where Jonathan Swift was once dean. Apparently he was given a really poor seat, one obstructed by a pillar, making it even more difficult for him to keep his eyes open…but it was there that the Christmas story struck him like never before."

“The idea that God, if there is a force of Logic and Love in the universe, that it would seek to explain itself is amazing enough. That it would seek to explain itself and describe itself by becoming a child born in straw poverty, in shit and straw . . . a child . . . I just thought: “Wow!” Just the poetry . . . Unknowable love, unknowable power, describes itself as the most vulnerable. There it was. I was sitting there, and it’s not that it hadn’t struck me before, but tears came streaming down my face, and I saw the genius of this, utter genius of picking a particular point in time and deciding to turn on this.”

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

It is well with my soul

Hooked up with this video by Ken Wilson. It was part of their Christmas services and features their band playing the famous old hymn - It is well with my soul.

I've been reading Job recently and following his highs and lows through the disasters in his life. So when I listened to this song my mind went back to the story of Horatio Spafford the writer of the hymn.

Here is an wiki extract:

"This hymn was written after several traumatic events in Spafford’s life. The first was the death of his only son in 1871, shortly followed by the great Chicago Fire which ruined him financially (he had been a successful lawyer). Then in 1873, he had planned to travel to Europe with his family on the S.S. Ville du Havre, but sent the family ahead while he was delayed on business. While crossing the Atlantic, the ship sank rapidly after a collision with another ship, and all four of Spafford's daughters died. His wife Anna survived and sent him the now famous telegram, "Saved alone." Shortly afterwards, as Spafford traveled to meet his grieving wife, he was inspired to write these words as his ship passed near where his daughters had died."

It Is Well from David Jolley on Vimeo.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

What's following you?

Psalm 23 v 6 "Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life."

You know when you read something familiar. You just blast past it not really taking it in. Well I was doing that this morning and then God stopped me in my tracks.

The above verse comes at the end of the most famous song in the Bible - The Lord is my shepherd. I am not even sure if this is the right way to read this but God invaded my world with this thought.

I have done all this for you. I have cared for you, looked after you in troubled times, been by your side in the darkest hours, comforted me in times of grief, protected me from my enemies. "
my cup overflows!"

Now what are you going to do with this? What is going to follow you? What is left after you visit?
What do you leave behind? - Goodness and Love! That's the natural outcome of God in my life. Leaving a trail of Goodness behind.

I am so proud of MKCC this Christmas time. Together we have left a trail of love and goodness behind us. Here is some of the things we have done:

  • Restocked the MK Food Bank with over £1,300 worth of food.
  • Provided 62 Christmas hampers for needy families.
  • Sent a gift to honour a retired minister who was instrumental in MKCC being started.
  • Sent a gift to the widow of an AOG minister who went to be with the Lord this year.
  • Provided gift bags for senior citizens in a local sheltered housing complex.
  • Provided hampers for a few senior citizens.
  • Given away over £3,500 as part of our love at Christmas project. Read just some of the ways this has been done here.
I am so glad that 100's of people this year when they think of MKCC the first thing that will come to mind is Goodness! Well done guys!!

Who is that sitting next to you?

Yesterday consisted of one long journey it felt a little like that movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

Our flight from London to Atlanta seemed to take ages to get going mainly due to seating arrangements. It almost felt like Delta had gone out of their way to ensure that anyone travelling in groups of more than 2 we sitting as far apart as possible. So the whole plane seemed to embark on one massive game of musical chairs.

Nick and I were happy that our kids were somewhere else on the plane. (Sorry I didn't mean that) It seems that sitting next to someone you knew was important and the world would end if you had for 9 hours out of your life you had to sit next to a stranger.

Made me think how much more important it is to have the right people sitting next to you for life. I am blessed and thankful to have so many great people to sit next too in life.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Very Mickey Christmas

Its Friday, its 5 to 5 and its crackerjack. Well not exactly. But it is Friday and it is time for Florida. For me some of the best parts of a holiday is looking forward to it. I am a sado who likes to read all about the place before I go. Find out about the restaurants, plan my to do list.

So booking a Holiday in January to take in December gave me a long time to look forward. Well the day has finally arrived and we are off to the land of Mickey and the mouse.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Rick Warren inauguration date

BARACK Obama has selected Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration.

I for one am pleased. If in any way he is seen as representing the Christian church I don't think he could have chosen many better.

Well done Rick.

Read about it here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

To Good to be True

Much of my life before coming on staff at church was spent in the financial markets. I can't say I have always personally made the best financial decisions. However one thing I have learned is that if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.

In the 90's a manager for a new Internet fund that was showing monthly double digit growth. Told us and I quote: "The only risk is not being invested." 4 weeks later Internet stocks crashed the money disappeared and so did he.

In 2006 I read the following story about a fund set up by a couple of Christians that were promising incredible returns based on God blessing the fund. Seems like God had a hard job because most of the money did not make it into the fund but was spent on items from jewelry to houses. The writer of the article asks the question:

Would you invest your nest egg with the advice of a part time roofer and a licensed practical nurse? Or, would you entrust your nest egg to their investment company?

Obvious answer till today and we read of the huge list of Banks, Investment Managers and individuals taken in by the $50 Billion scam by Bernard Madoff.

There is only one thing in this world that is to good to be true without a catch - God's grace.

Judge and Jury

Job 20

Jesus encouraged us not to judge people. (Matthew 7 v 1) We also receive this instruction in James 4 v 12 & Romans 14 v 10.

Zophar's argument is a perfect example of why this is good advice. Zophar knew truth, he knew that in the end wicked people would not prosper before God whatever the short term impression. However he wrongly applied this truth to Job. It was not the truth that was the problem it was how he used it.

It is so easy to look at situations, apply our filter of knowledge, and end up with the wrong conclusion. It is important to seek not only knowledge but wisdom from God.

The great thing is that God through the Holy Spirit wants to help and assist us with incredible Gifts that allow us to catch a glimpse of how he sees things. His wisdom. So next time you are tempted to judge a situation using your accumulated knowledge pause. (Difficult for the likes of me) Then ask God for his wisdom instead of rushing to judgement like Zophar.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Wild Wild West

Had some fun putting together a small video to open the New Year series in Kidz Church - Wild Wild West. Maybe I am missing the homiletic exegesis but can't understand how the character of Jonah equates to Cowboys and Indians. Maybe I am just getting old!

The Wild Wild West from Billy Ritchie on Vimeo.


A short video to introduce our January series at MKCC - Surrender.

Surrender Opener from Billy Ritchie on Vimeo.

Mariah eat your heart out

Rose Angela from NewSpring is incredible.

All I Want for Christmas from NewSpring Media on Vimeo.

Empty Churches

The Telegraph recently reported on many of the churches across the UK that are empty or have very low attendance.

The quoted Andy Burnham, the Culture Secretary, as suggesting "churches with low attendance could be turned into gyms, restaurants and multi-faith centres." Read here.

He suggested that this could be the best way that they could serve the community. Now the church is more than a building its people but somehow I think that one of the reasons these churches are empty is because they stopped serving their community a long time ago.

The phenomenon is not restricted to the Church of England. I understand that the denomination I have been part of since birth has many failing churches. Their assets being sold off when it becomes untenable and the proceeds used to support central administration.

How about us all looking at this a different way. At the same time as this decline there is also stories of growth all over the country. Many churches taking on building projects. What if we all forgot denominational divides and gifted each other property. What if a church on the edge of closure struggling to keep up a building were to find a church that was bursting at the seams and say here is your answer.

Cloud cuckoo land? Maybe. Putting the needs of the community over our own little patch that is kingdom thinking.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Prosperity Gospel

Job 19

I have always had a bit of a hard time accepting what is commonly known as the prosperity Gospel. It seems to suggest that Jesus is not only the pathway to salvation but also riches. Its funny to me that this is usually purported by leaders suggesting that the way to tap into God's riches is to send them or their ministry money and then you will unlock God's riches in your life.

My greatest difficulty is the idea that if you are not rich then somehow you are not in God's blessing.

So here we have a record of Job's calamity as we know, not because of sin, but because his life was exemplary. Yes he was very rich and God was pleased with him. Now everything had been taken away. God's opinion of him had not changed. But would Job still feel the same about God and remain faithful.

Job had: (Job 19 v 9 - 20)

  • Lost his reputation
  • Lost his self respect
  • Lost his possessions
  • Lost all hope
  • Lost his friends
  • Lost his relatives
  • Lost his servants
  • Lost his butler
  • Lost his family
  • Lost all respect
  • Lost the love of his wife
  • Lost his health
Very prosperous! yet from the pit of despair he records what probably are his most famous words, dragged from from the very depths of his dark soul.

(v 23 - 26) Oh, that my words were recorded, that they were written on a scroll, that they were inscribed with an iron tool on lead, or engraved in rock forever!

I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!

A desperate cry of faith that probably can only be fully understood from the pit of loneliness and abject despair that Job was feeling.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas Offering

Just because its getting close to Christmas. Christmas is very often about what we get. The question "What are you getting for Christmas?" is popular. Of course Christmas is really about giving. God gave His son lets remember to bring Him an offering - Just our worship.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Sunday Thoughts

  • Picked up the usual sausage and egg Mc Muffins for the volunteers. The workers always think its amusing that someone is buying so many before 7 in the morning.
  • Andy did a good version of the U2 classic - Where the streets have no name.
  • Mark did a great job preaching today.
  • The church, God's Kingdom should be absent of labels. Rich, poor, black, white.
  • One quote that rocked me was: I am like a little pencil in God's hand. He does the writing. The pencil has nothing to do with it.- Mother Teresa”
  • Great to see all the Christmas Hampers come in today. This week is going to be awesome as Food Bank delivers them to needy families all over Milton Keynes.
  • Check out here how people are using the Christmas love gift we gave out a couple of weeks ago.
  • Loads of you commented on Nicola's enthusiasm in the Kidz Church update video below. See is just easily pleased.
  • House quiet because Kids are going of to the Church Youth party this evening.
  • Had a rather non descript meal at the Harvester. It turned out that Nicola and I had exactly the same meal with just different sauce drizzled on top. Didn't sound that way on the menu.
  • Looking forward to the BBC sports personality of the year. Suppose it will probably be Louis Hamilton, Chris Hoy or Rebbecca Addlington.
  • Hoping for a quiet week as I head of with the family for Christmas in Florida on Friday.

Why is Nicola so excited

Kidz Church update 12.12.08 from Billy Ritchie on Vimeo.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Your Church Doesn’t Disciple Anyone

Perry Noble hit the nail on the head with this post. It's in a series of posts about arguments that you just can't win. Seen from the point of a church leader. In this one he looks at the statement he has heard: "Your Church Doesn’t Disciple Anyone" maybe another way I have heard this put is "This church does not feed me"

However you put it read Perry's thought here.

Pompous quacks

Job 13

Job has had enough of his so called friends and lets them have it with both barrels. Reading this I find that I seem to have more and more in common with Job. I sometimes swing from faith to doubt and from hope to despair. I start out with great intentions my heart is there but sometimes in the time of testing my head can kick in just like Job. But I also seem to have another similar trait.

Reading these comment of his "friends" everything inside of me has been shouting tell them where to go. Finally he lets rip and sends out a bit of a tirade against them. And to let you have a little glimpse in to the ungodly part of my life I am shouting yes! Let them have it.

Yes I am sad to say all that stuff is hidden, and maybe not all that well hidden, inside of me. Do I want to change it yes but can I deny it absolutely not.

I've been around church for all of my 45 years and honestly I've heard a lot of spiritual junk spouted. There are a lot of, in Jobs words, "Pompous quacks" around. When you become a pastor its even worse people seem to think when they speak to you they have to talk on some super spiritual plane. But really deep down the do not even believe what they are saying. Job has good advice for that. He says in v 11

Doesn’t his splendor put you in awe? Aren’t you afraid to speak cheap lies before him?

Lets stop quacking and start being real.

Bluedoor Thank You

One of the ministries we support financially from MKCC is Bluedoor Ministries. Chris and Dana Byres and Family have moved from in the US to London. A group of us went down to support their Internent Campus Life experience in central London.

Here is a little message of thanks from them to their supporters for the past year.

Year-End Message from Blue Door Ministries on Vimeo.

Follow their progess here or here.

They will be visiting MKCC for our Christmas presentation on Sunday 21st (12 noon I think) so be sure to say hi.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

NLT on

This is an early Christmas present for me. NLT been my preferred translation for years and now I can read it on my favourite Bible app. If you have not used or downloaded for iPhone or Blackberry get it now.

Extract from swerve blog announcing it.

"I know that MANY of you have been asking when we would have the NLT (New Living Translation) on Well, the day has come.

You can now access the NLT on, the Bible App for the iPhone/iPod, Mobile YouVersion, and the Bible App for the BlackBerry. All are free.

For nearly 1 1/2 years, we’ve been working through the licensing and technical details to make this possible. Thanks to Tyndale for their support.

Also, we are simultaneously releasing another modern English translation called “God’s Word.” The team at Baker Publishing have also allowed us to also make this translation available for offline use on the iPhone App. You will definitely want to check it out."

I can't stands it no more

Job 12

I remember a preach by Bill Hybels when he talks about having his Popeye moment. One of Popeye's catch phrases was "That's all I can stands, I can't stands no more!". Bill was referring to a time in his life when things HAD to change.

I think here in Ch 12 we start to see Job having his Popeye moment. He had listened to his friends Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar. I think Zophar was more like so far and no further.

This last guy spoke to him like a complete know it all. So much so that Job in his retort suggests that the way Zophar was speaking if the guy died then wisdom would come to an end.

In v 13 Job makes this confession “True wisdom and real power belong to God; from him we learn how to live, and also what to live for."

Sometimes you just have to get to that place for yourself. Job had travelled from a place of faith to doubt and despair. Then to frustration with his "friends". It would actually seem that his frustration with them through him back to God. And at the end of this chapter he says I am taking my case to God.

Good move!

Roof on

On Monday the roofers started on our extension for Nursery & Kids Church. By Monday evening all the felt and batons were fixed and by Tuesday night 95% of the tiles were laid. Today they are getting on with the more awkward pieces but hopefully they should be finished today.

That meant the new extension should start drying out from all the downpours we have had over the last few weeks.

We are still on track for a completion in mid to late February.

The Truth

Mark did a great Job on Sunday with our latest message in the When Love Comes to Town series. You can watch the full message here.

A number of people have commented on the video he used - The Truth. It was produced by Granger Community Church. They have posted it on YouTube so watch it below.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Friends Indeed

Job 12

I am getting the feeling reading this that these guys were not actually Job's friends. A true friend just doesn't kick you when you are down. Of course they will tell you the truth and sometime that is difficult but from a friend it doesn't seem half as bad.

These guys seem to want to put the boot in. Its almost like they are gloating in what is happening to him. Zophar weighs is with v 7, You think this is bad actually you haven’t got half what you deserve. Encouraging eh?

Family gone, possessions gone, business gone, health gone, faith in crisis and desperate to die. What else could happen?

Friends are important but not guys like this. True friends. You don't come across them very often. You can probably number them on your fingers. Friends do not walk away no matter how much you have screwed up. Friends are honest with you but love and accept you at the same time. Friends share good times and bad time together. They are fiercely loyal and constantly supportive.

Think about someone in your life like that and you have found a friend. Not a facebook friend a true friend.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Rock bottom

Job 10

This has been an incredibly difficult journey for Job and in this chapter it would seem that he hits rock bottom. His faith journey has been a bit of a downward spiral since he made his faith declaration in Job 1 v 21. Now he arrives at a place where his bitterness overflows towards God.

Its easy to be critical of Job. I have to be honest I have never been in such a dire place as him but still in my life been in a place of doubt and despair. It would appear that Job's main difficulty was trying to come to terms with the difficulty and find a reason for it. He had no understanding of what was going in the eternal realms of God.

It would appear that Job is on the verge of fulfilling the Devil's accusation. I doubt if I rate in the ball park of having the devil making a direct challenge to God about me but the Christian life is none the less a journey learning to trust God more.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Sometimes we just don't understand

Job 9

There are times in life when I have said God I just don't understand what you are doing. I've looked at situations and thought that's just not fair.

I remember when my mum was very ill not long before she died and her brother came to visit. He said why you? What he meant was hey why is God allowing this to happen to you? You have been faithful to God. I could understand him doing this to me but why you? Her answer was a question, Why not?

I thought it was a great answer of trust and faith. So often we try to answer the question why. That's much of what the question of the book of Job is all about trying to answer the question why. It seems however at this stage that trying to answer this question was leading Job in a downward spiral. His conversations with his friends and own thought process brought him to a difficult place with a warped view of God.

v17 As it is, he knocks me about from pillar to post, beating me up, black and blue, for no good reason.

At some point in our lives I am sure we are going to be faced with the question why and we will just not understand what is going on. At that time we must remember the character and nature of God and trust Him to be with us through it even if we don't understand the why.

Easier said than done.

Sunday Thoughts

  • Band did a great job today in our services.
  • It was great to hear Gareth's guitar rip it out.
  • Phrase that got me today during the worship. You look to the depths of my heart and love me the same. (That rocks my world)
  • Also: Should I stumble again still I am caught in your grace.
  • Mark continued a great 3 weeks of preaching.
  • Yes he did say use your assets that God has given you don't just sit on your ASS-et.
  • Jesus came to turn the world system up side down.
  • Its time to kneel.
  • Mark finished early in all 3 services!
  • If you came to the first then you got short changed Mark got the times mixed up and finished about 15 mins early because he thought he was out of time!
  • We are providing 62 Christmas hampers to needy families in MK this Christmas.
  • Went to Nicola's mum and dads for a lovely roast dinner which is unusual for us. We usually just crash after the services.
  • Villa just scored a winning goal 4 minutes into injury time to win 3 - 2 against everton after losing a goal 30 seconds earlier. Agony to exactly! Just sat down after jumping around the room like a maniac!
  • Don't forget to let us know how you used your Christmas Love Gift here.
  • 12 days till we leave for Florida!

Amazing Il Divo

I love watching X Factor and last night there was an extra surprise in store. Il Divo performed the song Amazing Grace. They also used the bagpipes which for me is a must for this song. But I suppose I would say that.

Watch and enjoy:

Saturday, December 06, 2008

The Scandal of God

Job 8

Job's other mate weighs in with his thoughts. A bit more of the same. But this time not only is Job wrong doing but also the sin of his children (v 4) that has brought God's judgement on him.

It is said that Job in history predated Abraham and surprise surprise the same rubbish that Job's mates trotted out then we trot out today. We think if someone is going through a difficult time or is ill or some terrible atrocity happens it is God's judgement for sin.

If we can't find something he has done wrong then it must be someone else who is related to you. A few years ago I became sick on holiday in a Greek Island. Not unusual but a guy that was with me decided that the sickness was caused by some sin in my past not that I had committed but someone had sinned against me. Now my memories needed heeling. I had no recollection of this whatsoever so was unsure how I needed my memories healing when I did not have the memory. Sometimes Christians are crazy!

Well the biggest scandal of God he is not fair. He chooses to treat us with fairness he chooses to treat us with Grace. Through that grace he does not send calamity into our lives because of our sin (although we sometimes invite it by ourselves) let alone another persons sin.

I like what Matthew Henry says about this passage:

"Extraordinary afflictions are not always the punishment of extraordinary sins, sometimes they are the trials of extraordinary graces: in judging of another's case, we ought to take the favorable side."

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Not only is this a seriously cool site in looks and functionality but it has stories of so many people impacted by grace. Go now

Appearances Can be Deceiving

Job 5

(v7) What a Blessing When God Corrects You!

Christians say some stupid things sometimes. I just wish that they would engage their brain sometimes. Job's friend was very free with his words. Was all that he said wrong? No. Was all of it bad advice? No! But one thing for sure he had got the wrong end of the stick.

Eliphaz was convinced that Job must have displeased God and Job was now under God's judgement. Nothing could have been further from the truth. God was very pleased with Job in fact he bragged on Job to the devil.

I remember once when a friend had just lost a baby and some crazy "spiritual" Christian suggested that it was the judgement on God. Crazy!!!

God is not in the business of condemning and judging people he is in the business of lavishing His grace on them and forgiving them.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

It's a Wonderful Life

Job 3 reminds me of my favourite film. It always comes to the fore this time of year and I must have watched it a thousand times. Starring my favourite actor Jimmy Stewart - It's a Wonderful Life is a classic.

George Bailey had great dreams but through circumstances saw them disappear and ends up on Christmas Eve in a desperate situation. Although not quite in the mess that Job finds himself he ends up making the same statement. I wish I had never been born!

His guardian angel Clarence Peabody Angel 2nd Class is given the task, as is Job's friend in Ch 4 v 4 of explaining to George that his life has affected many people and that he had done huge things.

Life is an incredible gift that we have been given by God. In it we can touch so many others for good and God can touch us, not by sending an angel 2nd class, but by sending His son. Through Him no matter what the circumstances we can have - a wonderful life.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

This is the worst day ever!

This morning I read as part of my daily readings I read Job 1 & 2. See here. So my mind was churning over how I would react in difficult and even disastrous situations.

Driving into work with Abbie who I drop off for college I had to brake hard because some crazy lunatic was driving too fast, (or maybe I was driving too fast) and all of her work folders fell on the floor. They promptly burst open and all the pages were spread across the floor of the car.

After picking up all the pages and stuffing them back into her folder she realised that she had dropped some money and had lost a £1. That was when she uttered these words:

Oh! This is the worst day ever!

Maybe I need to introduce her to the story of Job.

He Gives and takes away

Job 1 & 2

These two chapters are some of the most challenging you can read in scripture. It brings a whole new meaning to the prayer bless me Lord. Job was the creme d' la creme of a God follower. Even to the point that God brags about him to the devil.

How would he react when things turned bad and difficult. He is only following you because life is good were the challenges that the devil threw out.

How would I react if I lost everything in one evening. All my possessions well maybe I could cope with it just maybe. But then he looses his family in one foul swoop. Just how do you react to this my mind just cannot comprehend.

Job makes an incredible declaration which I have sung many times in church in the Newsboys classic song - Blessed be your name. Part of the lyrics are based on v 21

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name
I will bless Your name

Now this contexts brings a whole new depth to the song. Clearly Job kept his faith and integrity because some time later God and the devil are having another conversation and God is still bragging on His man. As a result the devil tests him further by taking his health.

A good, righteous, faithful man with oodles of integrity but his physical world was falling apart. Whats that all about?

Thank You Thank You Dad

We took Liam to his first Snowboard lesson at the Xscape last night. He was so looking forward to it. Not sure why failing over numerous times and hurting yourself has never held much appeal for me.

It looked like he got to the point of going down backwards and only falling down a couple of times on a descent. He had a brilliant time and couldn't stop thanking us.

PS. I don't think he was quite as thankful this morning when he started to feel it in his muscles and the bumps and bruises.