Friday, 30 January 2009
Saturday, 17 January 2009
Friday, 16 January 2009
Tomorrow, TCF hit the streets of Saltcoats at 12.00pm to do something we term an "Open Air". Basically a group of us go out onto the main street to sing and preach the gospel. We also use this to publicise our bi-monthly Praise Nights. The next Praise Night is on Sunday at 6.30 in TCF, Townhead Street, Stevenston (See Favourite Sites section for a link to TCF website).
Before the Open Air there's a prayer meeting at 11.00am in TCF's building. We meet to pray for the local area and the people who live there. There's a real need there, as it's an area of major social and economic deprivation. However, we believe that the greatest need of people is to have a real and lasting personal relationship with Jesus Christ, to receive salvation through faith in him and through his sacrificial death at Golgotha where God punished him for our sins. And so we pray for revival in our day and generation.
Then on Saturday evening we're heading up the coast to Largs to dine and socialise with all our fantastic friends. We tend to get together regularly and we really look forward to this vital fellowship.
Finally, Sunday will be an absolute blur! Communion service in the morning, followed by Sunday school, followed by setting up the sound system for the band to play at the Praise Night. Then, the Praise Night.
Praise Nights generally fill TCF to capacity and lots of people come who wouldn't usually attend other services. The hymns tend to be of the more modern variety, with new stuff being played regularly. Most importantly of all the name of the Lord Jesus is lifted high and our prayer is that many will be attracted to him.
The weekend is here. Bring it on!
Wednesday, 14 January 2009
I took an involuntary shower today, as someone went out of their way to show us kindness. My wife phoned while I was on my way home from work to ask me to call at a friend's to pick up some food he'd made. Anyway, I get there and he's just finished cooking, the pot full of thick minestrone soup is on the cooker and the stovies are already packed into a container, waiting. Oh, and there's macaroni, if my wife's not decided what she's having for dinner yet. All this food is still warm and all we need to do is re-heat it quickly in the microwave.
Ah, the milk of human kindness!
Compare this with those who flatter to deceive, before encircling in classic pincer-movement to deliver discouragement and criticism. I won't go into detail. Suffice to say it arrived yesterday, uninvited and from an unexpected source.
So, today I forgot the Credit Crunch and focused instead on the Free Food Munch.
Tuesday, 13 January 2009
After the initial disappointment though, we've been able to put a more positive slant on the situation - this will now give us more time to raise the funds required. It's going to cost the six of us around £10,000. We've a better chance of raising such a sum if we put the date of our visit back to summer 2010, God willing.
So it turns out Toto were wrong. Instead of "Hurry boy it's waiting there for you", it's more like "I'm gonna take a little time, a little time to think it over" from "I Want to Know what Love is" by Reo Speedwagon (Man! I could build my whole blog around lyrics of middle of the road American AOR of the '80's).
Anyway, life is full of disappointments and letdowns, but through it all God is working out a plan for each and every one of our lives. Through thick and thin, he's more interested in our character than our comfort.
So let's deal with each disappointment safe in the knowledge that our God of love knows all things, and we can trust that he won't give us more than we can bear. Africa can wait!
Thursday, 8 January 2009
As I got older and watched Africa on the telly, there was usually lots of wildlife, elephants, lions, cheetah, and the most brilliantly named of all - the wildebeest. Adam must've been using his sense of humour with that one. Usually this proliferation of amazing creatures could be seen doing their thing on the vast plains of Africa - the savannah.
Then, as I hit my teens (no pun intended) Toto came on the scene with the song "Africa" and boy did that song just capture everything about the place:
"The wild dogs cry out in the night, as they grow restless longing for some solitary company. I know that I must do whats right, sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti"
As adults, Pam, the kids and I usually go on holiday with some of our friends and their families. We all know each other really well and enjoy each other's company. Recently we went to Paris. Before that, Portugal, the Cote d'Azure and even sunny Sandyhills in Galloway.
One day, a few months back, we spoke about the possibility of forsaking the usually sunny, glamorous locations and doing something really worwhile like a working holiday helping out missionaries. The discussion stalled, as when we looked at the idea in more detail we discovered it was anything but a straightforward undertaking, and the proposal went onto the back-burner.
However, a few weeks ago a guy called Ken Rudge came to speak at our church and gave a report of a trip he'd made to a far-flung corner of Angola. After 30-odd years of civil war, Angola had again opened up to foreigners, and Ruth Hadley, a lone English missionary, had answered the calling of her lord to go there. Then he threw in a bombshell "There would be nothing to stop a group of you from going over to Angola to help out Ruth, she could really do with some assistance."
You could've knocked me over with a feather. Baking powder!? Was this confirmation that our alternative holiday idea was a goer? Could we put up with the jabs, the heat, the spartan living conditions (the wildlife was a gimme!) and the long journey? At this point, as well as the Holy Spirit, I heard the sound of Toto in my head, "Hurry boy it's waiting there for you." So, six of us have decided to go. Three fathers and three sons. What an adventure!
However, flights are expensive as it's way off the tourist routes. Jabs are expensive (and daunting!) and we know it won't be a bed of roses in terms of the work we'll be involved in when there. Therefore we've decided to do some fund-raising over the seven months until we depart, at the end of July, and hope to cover at least a small part of the cost of flights.
Over the next wee while, and hopefully while we're out there, I hope to write a journal on the whole experience. So, watch this space!
Mark 16:15 (New International Version - UK)
15 He said to them, Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.
Sunday, 21 December 2008
I also stated that I hoped to get to get a bit more into the outdoors again.
Well, here's a strange sort of optimism (uncharacteristically) from me at this time of year: this volatile virus has actually helped me, by shedding around 5 pounds from my rapidly expanding waistline!
Sustained by Weetabix and soup, and for two of these past few days only water, I managed a rare smile when it occured to me that all those Chinese takeaways had, in fact, been a wise move. I'd cleverly stored up enough essential fatty matter for this "Rainy Day". And although I reckon I'm through the worst of it, I'm not back on solids just yet, so more pounds could disappear. It just gets better and better!
Consequently, this could be the start of the long road back to fitness and, hey presto, the great outdoors.
And here's a lesson I'd do well to learn - if I could aspire to scale the heights of regular life with the same degree of optimism, I reckon I'd be onto a winner.
So why worry, it's all in His hands.
Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!
Luke 12 v 27,28
Or, for the more secularly inclined:
"Rise up this mornin',
Smiled with the risin' sun,
Three little birds,
Pitch by my doorstep,
Singin sweet songs,
Of melodies pure and true,
Sayin, (this is my message to you-ou-ou:),
Singin: dont worry 'bout a thing,cause every little thing gonna be all right".