Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Caught by the River

I am in the stage of beginning to evaluate my time here in the USA, and anticipating my move back to the UK in July. 

I thought that moving to the States was going to be the hardest thing that I was going to do in my life. But now I know that moving back being even harder. 

I have had this quote from Heraclitus in my head for the last weeks. And I think it sums up my trepidation. He said that  “You can never step into the same river; for new waters are always flowing on to you.” He is talking about how the despite being familiar, something will never be the same as it was before. That the UK will not be the same as it was the last time I was there, 680 Days ago.

I'm nervous about so many things. I feel like I will approaching the UK as a stranger. But this isn't just because the UK has changed. I would argue that not only can I not step into the same river twice because the water have changed, but also because I have changed as well.

I'm not the same person that I was when I went on this adventure in September 2010. I have changed so much. I sometimes joke that I'm worried that my dog won't recognise me. She recognises my voice on Skype so I'm not truly worried, but it does highlight an underlying question. Will the UK recognise me? 

I have had great experiences, worked in a great environment. Met great people who will be friends forever. Been inspired by people who are just doing day to day things. I have surrounded by people who have moulded who I am, and I'm not saying that I won't have this in the UK but its hard to leave a comfort zone in which you have been growing so much in. I am already dreading leaving, but I know that it is something that I have to do.

As I prepare to step back into this river, please just keep me in your prayers. I'm going to need them.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Meaning is in the Waiting

It struck me today that we are missing a huge aspect of this Holiday season. At the moment the Christmas season has gone into hyper drive. The Coca Cola Adverts have hit the TV and commercialism has a subtle but significant hold on our hearts and mind, and because of this we miss the season of waiting

Jesus was expected, for thousands of years, people were looking to the time that the Messiah was going to come and bring deliverance. The Season of Advent has been described as hopeful waiting in excitement.

But I think that waiting is a lost art. We have Microwaves and Credit Cards. We get excited about temporary things. In the US we launch from Thanksgiving to Christmas without the blink of an eye but we forget that there is a story of epic proportions behind the coming from and of Christ which has not been completed.

We need to remember that the story of Jesus isn't wrapped up in the nativity story. The old head of the Bank of England, Mervyn King once said that "The true meaning of Christmas will not be revealed until Easter - or possibly much later". He was talking about the economic surge expected through retail sales but I think he hit the nail on the head when thinking about the Jesus. The Story of Jesus is not over in Bethlehem. This what the introduction, that is the Old Testament, has been leading up to. But we need to remember that Jesus died. Rose from the dead.

And we are waiting, like those before his birth, for Christ to come.

That is something we need to remember. This story is not over. And I hope that sometime this advent season, you have a moment to sit and wait. A time to wait expectantly for the return of Christ.

Saturday, December 1, 2012


I was at shore recently, and as usual, I have a uncontrollable urge to just stare out to sea, out towards the horizon. It is mesmerizing.

It when whilst staring out into the great void that is the Atlantic Ocean that I got thinking about what is before me and what has passed.

In my head I couldn't stop thinking that I have a choice. A choice to either live a life full of regret. Regretting choices made (or not made), replaying them in my head, over and over until it envelops my entire existence. Devoting your thinking to the "what ifs".  Or I can take note of what has passed and let it mold you into a person that I want to be, learning from the things that I regret, seeking to look forward to a future, instead of replaying the past.

Johnny Cash is  a hero of mine, and he once said "You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don't try to forget the mistakes, but you don't dwell on it. You don't let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space." I agree with him

There are things I regret. Things I wish I did differently. But I want to take these regrets and make sure that they are a stepping stone to my future.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Beautiful Death

This I have to concede, that America, especially where I am at the moment, outshines the UK in how it does Fall (Autumn). Countless trees are turning to beautiful shades of orange and red.

I was thinking about why the Americans call this season 'Fall' and it dawned on me that, despite being more beautiful than they have this year, they are falling, dying.

It is, in essence, a beautiful death. One marked with such beauty

This got me wondering about how else a death could be considered beautiful and I realised that there is no death more beautiful that us dying to ourselves.

This is a intertwining theme spanning the Bible.

Jesus  tells us in Luke 9, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me."

Like us, the leaves are dying in order to bring life. There is a promise of renewal, of something better than what we have now.

Bonhoeffer talks about how to die to ourself is saying "He leads the way, keep close to him".

Keep Him close

All else is secondary


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Keep on moving

I realised something a couple of days ago... so much in the Bible happens when someone is travelling somewhere

We have Pauls encounter on the road to Damascus

We have the disciples encounter on the road to Emaus

Philip met with the Ethiopian offical after been told to take the desert road to Gaza

the list goes on and on...

Things seem to happen when we are going somewhere in our life

It is hard for God to move in our life if we are stationary. I don't mean this in a strictly phisical sense.

It is important to stop sometimes and take stock, but it must be part of journey in which we are moving forward..

We might not be able to see the journey ahead, but we need to keep moving. You can't steer a ship that is stationary, instead it will be moved by the currents it sits in.

If we don't want to be controlled by the currents that surround us we have to keep moving forward

The road to wherever you are going may seem irrelevant and boring but you have no idea where God will meet you...  

Monday, August 20, 2012


I heard a story yesterday which got me thinking ... A Cherokee chief had four sons and he sent told them all to go a look at this pear tree. One went in the winter time, the next in spring, the next in spring and the last in fall.

The chief gathered his sons and proceeded to ask them what they had seen. The first son had said that he had seen a tree that was bear, marked by emptiness, with nothing on the tree showing future promise.

The second son disagreed, saying that he had seen a tree covered in buds, showing the potential of the future life it had

The third disagreed again, saying that the tree was covered in beautiful flowers.

The last son said that all were incorrect, that the tree was producing great fruit

The son debated about who was correct, but then the chief stopped them saying that they were all correct but that life shouldn't be judged on the basis of one season.

A season may be hard but this doesn't mean that life is hard

A season may be beautiful or show potential or reap fruit but there is a time to be stripped bear and to go back to what is what is essential in your life

As Solomon says in Ecclesiastes there is a time for everything,and a season for every activity under the heavens so don't worry if your life seems empty and bare, because there is a future filled with potential, beauty and fruit ahead

Friday, June 22, 2012

Don’t let these waves wash away your hopes

This Song blows me away every time I listen to it... Please listen and read the lyrics

Wooden Heart
We’re all born to broken people on their most honest day of living 
and since that first breath... We’ll need grace that we’ve never given 
I've been haunted by standard red devils and white ghosts 
and it's not only when these eyes are closed 
these lies are ropes that I tie down in my stomach, 
but they hold this ship together tossed like leaves in this weather 
and my dreams are sails that I point towards my true north, 
stretched thin over my rib bones, and pray that it gets better 
but it won’t won’t, at least I don’t believe it will... 
so I've built a wooden heart inside this iron ship, 
to sail these blood red seas and find your coasts. 
don’t let these waves wash away your hopes 
this war-ship is sinking, and I still believe in anchors 
pulling fist fulls of rotten wood from my heart, I still believe in saviors 
but I know that we are all made out of shipwrecks, every single board 
washed and bound like crooked teeth on these rocky shores 
so come on and let’s wash each other with tears of joy and tears of grief 
and fold our lives like crashing waves and run up on this beach 
come on and sew us together, tattered rags stained forever 
we only have what we remember 

I am the barely living son of a woman and man who barely made it 
but we’re making it taped together on borrowed crutches and new starts 
we all have the same holes in our hearts... 
everything falls apart at the exact same time 
that it all comes together perfectly for the next step 
but my fear is this prison... that I keep locked below the main deck 
I keep a key under my pillow, it’s quiet and it’s hidden 
and my hopes are weapons that I’m still learning how to use right 
but they’re heavy and I’m awkward...always running out of fight 
so I’ve carved a wooden heart, put it in this sinking ship 
hoping it would help me float for just a few more weeks 
because I am made out of shipwrecks, every twisted beam 
lost and found like you and me scattered out on the sea 
so come on let’s wash each other with tears of joy and tears of grief 
and fold our lives like crashing waves and run up on this beach 
come on and sew us together, just some tattered rags stained forever 
we only have what we remember 

My throat it still tastes like house fire and salt water 
I wear this tide like loose skin, rock me to sea 
if we hold on tight we’ll hold each other together 
and not just be some fools rushing to die in our sleep 
all these machines will rust I promise, but we'll still be electric 
shocking each other back to life 
Your hand in mine, my fingers in your veins connected 
our bones grown together inside 
our hands entwined, your fingers in my veins braided 
our spines grown stronger in time 
because are church is made out of shipwrecks 
from every hull these rocks have claimed 
but we pick ourselves up, and try and grow better through the change 
so come on yall and let’s wash each other with tears of joy and tears of grief 
and fold our lives like crashing waves and run up on this beach 
come on and sew us together, were just tattered rags stained forever 
we only have what we remember