28 April 2012

Live Below The Line

Live Below the Line is an innovative awareness and fundraising campaign that's making a huge difference in the fight against extreme poverty. It works by challenging individuals to really experience 'living below the poverty line'. In UK terms, that means trying to live on only £1 a day.

Tough? You don't know how tough. And admittedly neither will I, unless I attempt to experience it for myself. Experience something that the approximately 1.4 billion people currently living in extreme poverty have to suffer every day. That's over 20 times the population of the UK - living every day in extreme poverty.

In 2012, Live Below the Line is running in the UK, Australia and the USA simultaneously, with more than 20,000 people spending 5 days 'living below the line'. Between the 7th – 11th of May, they can spend no more than £1 a day on food and drink.

Okay, so I've signed up to do this. If you want to sponsor me, raising money to help alleviate extreme poverty, then click here .

22 April 2012

Locusts

I was quietly sitting at the back of the Hall this afternoon (my children were in Band practice) when I came across the following passage from Joel - the verse was emailed to me this morning...

Joel 2:25 (NIV)
"I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm— my great army that I sent among you."

Funny, that. These words leapt out of the screen I had in front of me - that's always a good sign. I've been pondering these words for the rest of the afternoon, and read a lot about the prophet Joel in the process! And about my Father in heaven...

You see, try as we might, we definitely can't make up for those years where things went all wrong, when we got it all wrong, when we made the wrong choices. We can't put it right. No, actually it's the other way around. We can't out-give God. Follow His way, and He will make it right - all those years that your assets were eroded, your strength sapped, your happiness eaten away. 

And then this evening I got the following quotation sent to me - a quote from the late David Wilkerson:
"God has not forgotten you. He knows exactly where you are, what you are going through right now...He is wanting us right now to believe He is working all things out for our good. So quit trying to work everything out, stop worrying, stop doubting our Lord. The answer is coming. God has not shut His ear. You will reap in due season, if you faint not."

Wow.

16 April 2012

Identity Checks

This weekend's trip to the ROOTS Conference has proved eye-opening in more ways that one. You see, it was... so different! I wasn't going as a steward this time but as an exhibitor. Normally I drive all the way to Southport; however this year the trip was in Edinburgh, and I was fortunate enough to be given a chance to fly up to the venue. I haven't flown in over a decade...

What tight security! Every aspect of what I had brought with me was scrutinised, and me along with it.

And then there were the identity checks. I needed to prove my very existence, to prove that I was the person I said I was. Could I do so?

The whole issue of 'identity' was therefore in the forefront of my mind all weekend. Who am I? What is my purpose? Am I true to what I say I am? And can I prove it, if challenged to?

The weekend was great (if a little chilly) - but I come away from the weekend better equipped and with a new challenge. To establish and maintain that integrity and to ensure I live a lifestyle to match.

12 April 2012

Doors

"If doors should close then other doors will open,
The word of God can never be contained.
His love cannot be finally frustrated,
By narrow minds or prison bars restrained.
"
(second verse of "I'll Not Turn Back", by Generals John Gowan and John Larsson. My prayer for tonight...)

10 April 2012

When The Music Fades...

It's been a phenomenal week at church. Some terrific events to celebrate Holy Week and Easter, many high points. Suddenly then, it's over. An all-too-brief rest on Monday, then it was back to work today. I'm reeling a bit at all the things that have happened, such an emotional time. The sentiment of Matt Redman's song 'When The Music Fades' says it all for me today... All is stripped away...

However, as I recharge after such a high, I can't let myself slip too far down. I'm working at the ROOTS conference this weekend and I know that will be emotionally charged, too.

8 April 2012

Draw Me Close To You

Draw me close to You 
Never let me go 
I lay it all down again 
To hear You say that I'm Your friend 
You are my desire 
No one else will do 
'Cause nothing else could take Your place 
To feel the warmth of Your embrace 
Help me find the way 
Bring me back to You 


You're all I want 
You're all I've ever needed 
You're all I want 
Help me know You are near 
(lyrics by Michael W. Smith.)

This song was part of a very special day at the Army today. And the end of an emotionally charged week of meetings at the Corps. Plenty for me to think about over the next week.

6 April 2012

Proof?

Acts 1:3 (NIV)
After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.

I still remember an email that I received last year which indicated that Jesus's resurrection from the dead is "the single most documented event of ancient history". Regrettably, such a statement could not be easily backed up through research (and I did look) so it's only as someone's opinion that I could ever quote it. I like to have some proof before passing on authoritative statements like that. However, this does bring up an interesting point...

What one person may accept as 'convincing proof' of the resurrection could be dismissed by another. There's plenty of eye-witness reports of the risen Lord in scripture and Christian writings, but it all boils down to faith, at the end of the day. Do you believe it happened?

What can't be so easily dismissed is the effect that the reported death of Jesus had on the early Christians. Rather than fade away because their figurehead had gone, their movement grew by leaps and bounds. Followers would rather die than give up their faith in Jesus. There's plenty of evidence for that, both in secular and church history.

So, is that proof enough for you?