Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Sign Of Things To Come? A Typical CD Note Taking Session

I guess this is something I should have been doing throughout the year to keep a record of the sort of things I come across as I do my daily stuff. I’ll look into doing that in 2009. In the meantime here’s an insight in a typical day’s notes that I’m taking … completely unedited so there.

For His Name’s Sake

· Naked Pastor does some good cartoons and this one is a good example.
· Piper’s done it again – what did they pray for in the NT? Ah here it is.
· Don’t know if I’m going to do a reading plan for 2009, but if I do I’ll take this on board.
· Not silent but holy – good way of putting it.
· So there was a conference dealing with an issue close to my sin, so their findings will be of interest.
· As Hughie prepares to start what could be the most important series of teachings our young church engages in based on the authority of scripture, the article on Evangelical Outpost sums up what I’d been looking at yesterday and the day before concerning Lisa Miller’s misguided riposte to the Christian approach to homosexuality and marriage.
· I’ve been advised by a good source to check this site, so I will.
· Another good cartoon about the birth of the Saviour.
· Faith and repentance. A phrase I’ve read and heard quite a lot recently and in my current mind-set is something very challenging. It’s not a one off thing but an ongoing behaviour – it’s what I keep on doing. I turn from what I think towards God and I believe what He says. I turn to God and believe Him on what He says I should do as a worker, husband, father, brother, teacher, student and follower of Christ. It’s something I do. It’s something we do. It’s something we call others to do. It’s something that can only be done by the power of the Spirit by the preaching of the gospel as that’s the only way to connect to God recognising where people are currently looking and where they need to be looking. That’s why the three lessons I’m scheduled to teach are so important. I don’t do it – the Spirit does it.
· Wow – this is a heavy approach to the whole homosexuality issue. Again, though it is spot on, biblically rich and spiritually balanced in sharing what His nature is all about. When I read it though I find that the advice given is applicable to any sin – not just homosexuality. Quality stuff.
· More by Carl Trueman on the above subject – all playing into our understanding of the importance of the authority of scriptures and a right way of reading it.
· Pip Wilson – youth work legend – has a blog. Apparently its worth my while checking it.
· This definition of agnosticism is crucial for our engagement with unbelievers – it’s not that they’re undecided – they have decided that it’s not worth making a decision on it.
· Yep I read The Shack. Yep I thought it was a good book. Yep it is a book I would recommend to others. Similarly I’d also recommend serious Christians to check this out as well to get a balanced approach on it.
· Making much out of God and not of ourselves has to be the spring from which we do life.
· In line with our year of Compassion in 2009 I’m thinking of the morning session looking at episodes where compassion is mentioned and the first one I thought we would look at was Luke 15. This blog entry appears to confirm especially that last parable which for some reason we’ve only entitled the Prodigal Son.
· One of the key reasons for doing this series of basics now is that people need to know why they believe what they believe before they can share it. Reading the news of the students at university only reinforces that and I know full well that’s not just a student thing at all.I have seen some things in my time. I’ve heard some things in my time. I have never ever come across a network that would put on someone whose position completely opposes the network. If there is anyone who would be against TBN it would be John MacArthur. So who does Kirk put on TBN? Watch this and get back to me! Wowsers! Now especially check the second clip and here the reference to Luke 4 (Jesus goes to his home town and tells them …) Now that opened my understanding to the section in a way I had never read it before! Jesus is telling His own people that He fulfils the scripture to help those in chains and blind – which is His own people which wouldn’t have gone down too well.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Reflection with Beautiful Saviour by Stuart Townend

It's been quite a year. I look at the entries this year and compare them to last year and the yar before and it's clear that I haven't posted as often as I would have liked to. I mean virtually one every week? Not good enough at all. What makes it all the more sad is that I've been making copious personal notes over the year and some cool links to fascinating sites only some of which I get to mention either on this blog or on me Facebook profile. Not it's not been the kinda blog year I was hoping for as I looked at 2008 from December 2007.

For all that though I am thankful for the year. It has brought up some amazing experiences and some tough challenges and it wouldn't be possible to put them together in this post. Tragedy struck recently when me laptop refused to work and me hard-drive malfunctioned. We are praying the prayer of faith for it's resuscitation so that I may successfully remove over 90GB worth of material that would otherwise be consigned to history. You don't want that. I don't want that. We don't want that, so we'll keep on storming the mercy seat for help in our time of need.

Thankfully though whereas on previous occasions this would be a travesty and disaster on the scale of the Titanic, because of the year that's been about Christ it puts a larger perspective on things. After all, one day the hard-drive, laptop and earth will come to an end and only what I've done for Christ will last. I tust and hope that in the year to come both online and especially on this blog I'll be able to do more for Christ in conveying the good news and sharing my own experiences through that.

In the meantime, should I not blog again before the year's end. Thanks for reading and viewing and commenting where you have. Let's hope for more of the good stuff in the time to come. I as ever look forward with a great deal of optimism to what we're about to recieve and trustthat you'll get something that will allow you to enjoy life and make the most of it.

For His Name's Sake

Monday, December 29, 2008

jon Gibson On Calvary

I'm not sure if I've posted this already and to be frank I don't care if I have. As I reach the end of the year this song remains one of the most important ones I've ever heard. It says so much about what Jesus means to me, what He's done for me and the reason why I want to live my life in gratitude for all of that. JG puts it together in this track so simply and movingly in the melody that whenever I get too self-absorbed it pierces through with the Christ-centredness that I so desperately need to put things in their proper perspective. It is a candidate for track of the year - more importantly it is also a candidate for track of my life so far. I'm grateful to God to allow me to live to hear it and be so blessed by it. I trust that you likewise will be challenged to rejoice in the God of our salvation. Enjoy.

For His Name's Sake

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Doing What On A Harmonica?

This is not what I was expecting from a harmoica player, but then I also should have known with it being at the world famous Carnegie Hall.

For His Name's sake

Monday, December 01, 2008

John Piper - How Does God Build Faith?


For His Name's Sake
da man cd

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Inflation and the Dollar's crash

This is fascinating I wonder if the same applies to England?

For His Name's Sake
da man cd

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Right, now it has been a while since I’ve done a proper post on the blog and a lot has been happening. Sadly however, this is not the blog entry to catch up, but to share some sad news for the time being. The wife has to go abroad to attend a funeral of a dearly loved member of her family. Muggins is going along as well and the whole family is providing emotional support at this sad time for the family. Thus I’ll be out of action from 6th to 21st November, so trust God with me that all will go well. So by the end of the month I should have a fat report to give you in terms of what life has been like for da man cd. Until then build your hope on nothing less that Jesus’ blood and righteousness and beware of the voice of strangers, however right they tend to be!

For His Name's Sake
da man cd

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Does God Love Everyone?

David Pawson. Keith Green. John Piper. Mark Driscoll. Paul Washer.

To an extent these men are very different. What they share in common - in my perspective - is an ability to be very provocative. Saying things that come across as outrageous, challenging, offensive, outspoken without a hint of compromise in a spirit of love. Like the brethren in Berea, it's my job to check what they're saying against scripture and make my own conclusions.

I have a maverick/provocative/unconventional streak in me that refuses often to fit with the status quo. So it's no wonder these kinda guys appeal to me. Not only that the fact that they endeavour to follow Jesus Christ and His Word also means that they're not just doing what they're doing to gain a fan club or appease people. So whatever they have to say always leads me to do some research to see if it's so.

All of that to say, when I came across this video it reminded me of that element of leaving people feeling uncomfortable and challenged. Potentially offended and put out. The guy doesn't help by his demeanour which is hardly compassionate and soft. Yet that's perhaps the point. He evidently isn't there to give people a hug. He's here to slap people across the face with his view on God's Word and challenge people to check themselves.

Sometimes we need a good slap.

I'm not saying I agree with what he has to say. I'm not saying I disagree with what he has to say. I don't agree with everything Pawson, Green, Piper, Driscoll and Washer have to say. What I do, though, is check it for myself and come to my own conclusions. This is a touchy subject and a combative approach, but I implore with you, move beyond his rhetoric and your feelings and check the content for yourself and by the grace of God reach a conclusion that fits with His Word and His Way.

For His Name's Sake
da man cd

Me Worship

I so love this spoof. I only wish it wasn't true for aspects of church today, but I guess the reality sadly is very different for a faith that's based on everything being about the Christ we follow. I pray that people will be influenced by Jesus and choose to give their lives for Him who came to give His life for others.

For His Name's Sake
da man cd

What if Starbucks Marketed Like a Church? A Parable.

Thanks to Phil Cooke for blogging on this - thank God we're not like that, right? Right? Errr ... right?

For His Name's Sake
da man cd

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Strange Land - Commissioned - 1987

Yeah no full posts for the longest time updating you on what the tin says. I can assure you that I am still in the land of the living and hopefully give a full briefing on what's been going on before I go away ...

In the meantime earlier this year I was asked to talk to a congregation about what job I do and the prevalent thought was about having a mobile faith. One that is able to survive hostile foreign climates, and whilst considering it I remembered this particular song which sums up neatly the whole issue. Enjoy.

For His Name's Sake
da man cd

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Superbook Hey There Delilah

This is my own contribution to the feminist movement. Indeed for too long they have been oppressed and suppressed from the brutal dictatorship of patriarchy. How they have survived for so long is a mystery to me. I hope as we watch this real to life enactment of the poor Delilah being suppressed by the dictatorial Samson. Hurrah for Delilah.

For His Name's Sake
da man cd

Monday, October 13, 2008

James 3: A Story

This is something from Desiring God ministries. It is worth checking seriously and based on this verse in the book of James -

From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. (James 3:10)

For His Name's Sake
da man cd

Monday, September 29, 2008

It Is Well With My Soul

I was in two minds which blog to put this on. I've chosen this one as the Among Friends one would do gospel connections on a level for anyone to connect with sans religious know-how.

Either way, this is a good rendition of a classic song that's inspired today's daily thought. Enjoy.

da man cd

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Huge Inter-Blog Plug - Check Among Friends

So I’ve raved about my friend Don Gregory and earlier on I raved about my other friend Alan Knox (I have more friends, honest, and they should have blogs too, but as they don’t then I cannot rave about them. Those that do can expect a raving at some point in the future.

In any case I’m taking the odd and rare opportunity to actually plug one of my other blogs. You may wonder why so many blogs, but to me it’s the right way of separating stuff from stuff. This blog provides the right platform to share personal stuff and spiritual ponderings on an extended form. Daily Thoughts offers the best platform to put out the emails I do at work and also extend those thoughts in ways that I’d be restricted from doing at work. The Stoke COG blog obviously gives an outlet for the church stuff on the level can see it beyond what I do.

It is
Among Friends, the fourth blog – actually chronologically the second, but you get the drift – that I want to plug big time at the moment. It was September 2006 if memory serves me correctly. I remember thinking about how good it would be as an enterprise involving some budding writers both at the YMCA beyond to have a communal blog where we can share thoughts and ideas on whatever came to mind. I also remember getting one of the people I served to offer some sort of thought back in the day. That was about it in terms of others chipping into the site itself. I was disappointed at the time that no one else contributed to the blog.

Since then, however, I’ve used the site to be a platform for my interest in YouTube clippings that I’ve come across. Indeed back when I was growing up in Wellingborough when I was brought up by television I watched an astounding 36 hours a week. That’s a whole lot of television. When I went to university that went down dramatically in fact now it’s not a big deal whether I watch TV or not at all. As you can tell especially from this month though, YouTube has taken over as the watching centre of choice.

Now I don’t watch 36 hours of YouTube a week – that would just be silly. (I watch 35) I do love the medium of YouTube though and with the wide range of things you can watch. I didn’t want to post too many on this blog and it turned out to be the natural home for the stuff that I came across. It doesn’t have to be of an overtly Christian nature at all and features funny bits, moving bits, interesting bits and other bits and bobs worth checking. I’ve been on a rich vein of form recently, and it’s not just the videos but the comments as well.

Go on and check it by all means. It will be well worth your while trawling through the archives and reminiscing on stuff you may remember, or coming across stuff that you’ve never seen before.

For His Name's Sake
da man cd

Quick Word About Don

Not going to be a long entry this (honest). My links section has been updated with a certain gentleman by the name Don Gregory. I heartily recommend reading the brother’s blog, he is a great journeyman writer, by which I mean he is unlike lofty academic theologians, thinkers, preachers and teachers whose thoughts are dense, complex and thick with unattainable concepts (yeah, but I understand what I’m saying before you point to me).

Don has the tremendous gift to be able to communicate in such a way that can take the casual reader in and then, like some of the best communicators, grip you into something a bit deeper than you thought you were getting into. Not that Don is doing it as a cunning plan of great intelligence, just because in being real and open, Don strikes the chord that in the things of life there is great depth in that which may come across as trivial. I love reading his blog, it covers most emotions and issues, it’s real and easy to relate to and I strongly commend it to your reading.

For His Name's Sake
da man cd

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Life With Da Man CD September 2008

(By David.) With all my heart I praise the LORD, and with all that I am I praise his holy name! With all my heart I praise the LORD! I will never forget how kind he has been. The LORD forgives our sins, heals us when we are sick, and protects us from death. His kindness and love are a crown on our heads. Each day that we live, he provides for our needs and gives us the strength of a young eagle. (Psa 103:1-5 CEV)

It’s a rarity for me to be in this position. My wife has elected to share out her own dinner. Don’t get me wrong, she usually cooks her own food, it’s just that we have this weird practice where it doesn’t matter if I’ve been out slaving away for hours and then return home, she’ll still ask me to share out her food and make her a nice cuppa. Mug that I am I will do so with all diligence to please my beloved. Mug that I am. Mug that I am. See, I’ve just gone and made her a cup of tea! Mug – that – I – am.

Anyway the rare position I find myself in is being here on the laptop in the living room with the wife and we’re able to enjoy each other’s company not being hassled with a meeting either of us have been to in the evening. We’re here, conversing on life issues whilst also catching up on web-stuff. This also gives me a chance as she engages in infrequent phone ministry to give a fuller and frank update on what’s life like with da man cd.

I’m more than settled back into work after taking the last weeks of July off for holiday. I’ve been challenged at me workplace to take it up another level in terms of engaging with the young people. The phrase that springs to mind is widening the net. God has been faithful in this effort in allowing certain connections to fall place to do this. In reflecting earlier on today, the season in the YMCA works in the way that in the run up to Christmas if I’m faithful then we can get some of the punters attracted to conversations. Although this year there has been key contacts picked up at the beginning of the year which got to its heights in April/May. What I’m hoping for now though, especially with a new batch of punters, is to start afresh in reaching them, finding what they enjoy and looking for gospel connections as worked with comedy and relationships in the last season.

There have been a few things knocking on here at the YMCA that has made me reflect on how best to achieve those results, but again the grace of God is evident at the moment and I want to make the most of that with the opportunities developed. Now I really want to witness people’s lives transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit to see some make more definite steps of commitment in following Christ. I want to see the spectrum of people’s engagements with the things of Christ from the antagonistic and apathetic to those mildly interested and linked up to activities and then all the way through to serious discipleship decisions being made by some of the young people.

I am aware that the work is mostly seed-sowing work, yet I read a Word where the power of the Spirit was able to get Gentiles in foreign climes hearing the gospel and committing to this Christ and having the challenge of making community in His image afterwards. I’m sure that’s possible even for the young people with whom I serve. Work continues to be a source of great challenge and excitement and there’s enough to keep me busy and keeping centred on the things of Christ whilst looking for those gospel connections to link with people who couldn’t care less.

Church is an interesting scenario at the moment. I’ll let the StokeCog blog write for itself and here just offer my own personal input on what’s going. It’s been a very crazy year with me and church commitment, but I’m happy to say at the moment things are on the up and I’m enjoying church life and local church membership more than I’ve done in 2008. It is exciting times and God’s incredible grace still allows me to be knocking around with the developments and I’m excited to see how the different experiences and teachings that I’ve been digesting, musing and conversing on in the last year will have an effect on how I contribute to StokeCog’s development in the upcoming months.

I’m glad to belong to a church that is not comfortable being comfortable, but always looking to grow up in maturity, grow out in evangelism and discipleship, grow in by fellowship and pastoral and grow down in reinforcing our teaching in who God is in Spirit and Truth. As a young church we haven’t had any hard and fast traditions and cultural norms, but I’d be interested to see as we grow how that is something that enables spiritual development and sensitivity to God’s leading rather than the usual problems of older institutions.

Writing like this I remind myself that I’m still relatively young and idealistic. I’m at the age where I want to experiment and do things on a regular basis that makes the most of my skills, gifts and abilities whilst at the same time learning from others and submitting to them so that we can all grow together. As I read more of the Word and understand God’s call for Christ-like community, I don’t see divisions based on experts and those more spiritual than others, what I do see is an earnest effort to build everyone until we all attain to maturity in Christ – so everyone has something to offer and shouldn’t feel intimidated but encouraged to share what God has given them so we all benefit. That’s a long hard lesson in humility and edifying others, but it’s an enjoyable lesson especially when it works!

My respect and admiration for Hughie hits a high that hasn’t been experienced since 2003, which is something very positive. It is difficult being a pioneer and visionary, but the level of transparency he’s shown of late and, dare I say, vulnerability, has been refreshing and motivating for me. As we head for epic times in StokeCog’s development it’s good to know we’re being led by someone like Hughie.

Home is the real deal though. Authrine and I have been husband and wife for five years this year. In many ways it’s as though we’re still just beginning to know each other. In other ways though we have grown together and for all the outstanding issues to be resolved we’ve discovered a new core foundation of faith that keeps us together. At the moment I have a newfound devotion for my wife based on seeing her in the way Adam saw Eve initially and that thought that she is truly a part of him and the only one for him. This tunnel-vision approach to her and the truth that there is none better for me than her as God has willed has helped my mental approach to her a great deal.

Things are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I feel closer to my wife than I have ever done before. That’s a good thing. As with the job I want to make the most of that and build stronger foundations with my love for my wife and exercise biblical instruction when it concerns how I am to relate to her, treat her, love her and build her in the holy faith. As with the church it’s really rock ‘n’ rolling times for Authrine and obviously it would be of huge importance for her to have as stable a home to come back to as possible. That’s down to me as a whole and I am doing me best in that area. It’s a slow job, but patience isn’t just a virtue it is part of the fruit of the Spirit and so is a great challenge for both Authrine and I to display those characteristics so as to be positive role models for the children that look on.

Speaking of which, parent-child relations as a whole is very positive. Kevaughn is 15 and as such it is perfectly reasonable to expect him to be not as pliable and subservient as he may have been years earlier. For all that though, at the moment he’s doing fairly well in approaching this crucial last year of his compulsory education. As a new member of the Christian club he’s facing the obvious challenges of linking this to life at school and that kind of jazz, but by the grace of God and with a bit more help from his UK-pops he should be fine … eventually.

Deborah started school recently and so there’s the glow of her mother and father seeing her all set in her uniform ready for school. She’s also very up on her uniform and happy to show off to anyone just how advanced she now is. She has a tremendous grasp of spoken English already and things are promising for her ongoing development. She’s getting herself an attitude already that should be fun if allowed to grow, but by God’s grace we hope it doesn’t. She is also a bundle of fun and joy and still a delight to the eyes of her father. She is my firstborn and sometimes that may come across in preferential treatment, but Deborah and I have an understanding and I don’t give her a clear advantage especially over her sister. It’s a fascinating dynamic of sibling interaction. I’m tremendously blessed to be their father.

Abigail is quite fine as an independent mover. She’s now on her own in nursery, but doesn’t kick up a fuss, which is an outstanding trait in Abigail. Very selective, very straightforward and doesn’t usually make a fuss. She makes me laugh with some of the ways she carries on with – looking you straight in the face whilst doing something you’ve told her not to do and only refraining when lips stop moving and hands do instead! There is nothing like hearing her laugh and that makes me happy so however I can make that happen I look to do so.

So that is my life. As you can tell I enjoy spending a lot of my time on the laptop typing notes, ideas and the like as well as searching what’s on the web-site and looking through the many fascinating articles online through God’s gift to me in 2008 – Google Reader. I haven’t finished a book in a long time, but I’m not too fussed about that. I’m sure that will come in time. I also do need to lose some weight. I really could do without the excess baggage round me gut, I am better than nut, so I feel a physical regime coming along which is as welcome as a most unwelcome thing, but surely necessary to be in better shape for the wife of my youth. As I mentioned before, things are going to get mega busy in the next month and so, I just pray for the right balanced approach to what’s going on, especially in taking time off to rest, recuperate, reflect and refocus. I intend to endure to the end and as long as I follow God’s instructions I know I can make it. (Easier said … but still better done.)

In terms of friends and the like the times they are a-changing and with them some of my good friends in the Stoke area have either moved on or will do so over the next few months. Like the new season at YMCA, it’s just a fresh opportunity to make more kingdom connections and build relationships appropriately seeking desperately for God to let me know what that looks like and with whom I should and should not bother investing my time and energies. Meanwhile I’ll always be grateful for the investment in my life of those who are moving on and with the wonders of modern technology hopefully it should be possible to maintain contact. I’m enjoying some of the connections I’m making online as well which is cool.

You’ll notice that ther blog entries are becoming a bit more consistent whether it’s on here, the
Daily Thoughts blog, the StokeCog blog or particularly the Among Friends blog. I know I haven’t been blogging that much on DT, but there’s a really good reason for that as I’ll blog on in the upcoming days – just think about going up to the high places. By the way have I ever told you about Dark Knight?

Is all well in the world of da man cd? Well overall it is and that’s why I have to bless the Lord for the many things He’s done for me – hence the scripture quote at the top of this entry. In line with the principle of harvest, I take what I can from what the crop of life has brought up knowing full well that I’ll need to save some for the winter time where positive stuff may not be in as much abundance. Come what may, I trust in God to keep us on course. As you may have noticed, the theme over September has been on peace and in reading 2 Timothy 1:7 in the KJV and looking at what a sound mind, that to me is a mind at peace. Other versions use self-control and it reinforces the point to me. This is all about having a sure foundation in knowing who we are in God and not allowing circumstances to shift us from this knowledge and acting otherwise. A mind at peace – a sound mind necessitates appropriate response in every given situation. To hear that this is what God has given us as well as love and power is a wonderfully reassuring fact that I just need to connect with.

For His Name's Sake
da man cd

Monday, September 22, 2008

A New Web-site of the Moment - At Long Last

My days, you still think I’ve forgotten that Dark Knight review. You’re probably thinking is it still worth it with the movie now being a part of our yesterdays and just a couple of moments away from out DVD of tomorrow. Yet, I have given a word to do a review and copious notes have been collated to share with you my own views on the movie and I know you want to read them. Yeah, I know you do. Yeah. So you can wait just a little bit longer.

Anyway you may have noticed that for the first time in months I’ve changed the web-site of the month. Funnily enough of late I haven’t been making that many links to Randy’s blog. That is not to say he’s not good anymore, just to say that I haven’t found his articles as riveting as at other times – keep checking though!

Over the last few weeks, however, I’ve been touched, inspired and challenged by the writings of Alan Knox over at
The Assembling of the Saints. For those who claim to be Bible believing churches, Alan really opens up the way to examine if our ways really match up to the Bible or whether they fall into tradition, keeping up with the modern Joneses or something even worse. What’s really good about the blog is that it’s not just theory, but it’s based on his practical experiences of putting his findings in action. What also resonates in the whole blog is this man’s passion not just for the words, but for the Heart and Spirit of Christ to be real with us today as it was real for those exciting pioneers of Christian living who formed the canvas for the New Testament writings.

There are various streams of Christianity that I’ve been exposed to over the last two years or so that have challenged some of my core beliefs and thoughts on the expression of Christian living individually and corporately. Whether it’s being missional or the good and bad of the emerging/emergent it’s all been beneficial in getting me to look at Christ in refreshing ways that reassure certain areas of faith and also shift me in certain places. Knox’s blog recently has been an even greater addition to my journey of faith and I would encourage anyone, believer or not and from whatever religious background, especially Christian, to at least check him out.

For His Name's Sake
da man cd

Friday, September 19, 2008

Amazing Grace History/

I don't usually put me spiritual stuff here, but I'm putting this across both so you can get a chance to hear where this is coming from.

Fascinating stuff

da man cd

Friday, September 12, 2008

Just Popping In For A Few Links

You would have thought with all the stuff going on in my head and the impending Dark Knight review that I’d have a lot more to type in this blog entry.

But I don’t. Just a few links – and even these aren’t all the ones I’ve collated over the ten days of absence from this blog. As you know, though, I’ve kept up activity on
Daily Thoughts and even popped a few things on Among Friends lately that you can check.

About those links – just a few things I picked up this morning

Jonny Baker asks an interesting question –
is God bored with our worship?

I like reading
these personal reflections because it encourages me to reflect myself on where I’ve been and where I’m going.

Alan Knox gives something that is hugely reassuring to remember –
God loves you.

Right as you are. I’ll be back soon for some personal stuff and reflections and that kind of malarkey. In the meantime I trust you can be living for the Kingdom and not getting stuck in the system.

For His Name's Sake
da man cd

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

For Peace Sake

Talk about a tall order. So Alan sets this chain blog after some mug suggests that something is done about peace. Remind me to find the mug and give him what for! Alan really sets the standard high in his look at peace. (I mean just check out the first paragraph – here’s a guy who knows his business. And we’re meant to follow that??) His particular focus looks at how the church lives together in peace and the challenge of leading and living a lifestyle of humility seen in considering others more important than ourselves that Paul encourages in Philippians.

Then J.R. Miller (when I read his name the theme tune to Dallas rings off in my head, but he’s alright, really he is.) picks up the baton. He stirs the mind in challenging us on
righteousness as a quality of peace and how the pursuit of peace must go hand in hand with pursuing holiness. Again maintaining a piece at peace that cannot but leave us challenged to take Christ seriously in living out His call on our lives.

So picking up the baton, I want to explore the difference between the peace that the world gives and what Christ offers.

First, though, I’ll give a bit of background about the look at peace (for indeed I am the aforementioned mug who got this ball a rolling). It’s interesting to note Alan’s reference to peacemakers being children of God. Over the last three years I’ve been challenged by the Beatitudes, especially the hunger and thirst for righteousness. There is something counter-cultural and radical about Jesus’ outlining of Kingdom characteristics. It was brave then and it’s brave today. It was odd then and it would be really odd for us to live it out today. Anyway, in my role as a
Christian Spiritual Development Worker at the North Staffs YMCA one of my colleagues alerted me to this initiative about an International Day of Prayer for Peace. It’s another noble effort to do something about the evident lack of peace in our world and for me it’s another opportunity to link that to something that gets people thinking about the peace that God offers.

A year ago or so I went my son won a competition with some other people in his school to create a song about peace for a national competition. The winners got to go to the Royal Albert Hall in London to perform in a televised concert featuring some other notable music ‘stars’ headlined by Annie Lennox. Obviously my son’s crew won through to the finals and performed at the concert. The whole thing was called
Peace One Day. I was honoured to be invited with my wife to watch the son perform at the concert. What was so disappointing about the whole event was how there was a great push for peace that transcended religious and political barriers as if it was possible for man to really rid himself of cultural ties and by the sheer power of emotion and reason desire this nebulous concept of peace for one day. As with a lot of movements it relied on a positive perspective of humanity that we were capable of achieving peace one day. Obviously this picture of peace saw children who were not bullied and the Middle East situation resolved with people putting their weapons away and everyone living together in harmony.

Remember that Coca-Cola advert
I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing? We have that picturesque multi-cultural scene of peoples of all races rising their bottles to peace. The irony is, as with most subtle deceptions, it plays on an aspect of truth.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27)

People want the real thing. People want the authentic article – the truth – and yet when confronted by the truth, when the Real Thing enters human history how do we respond? Rejection, neglect, denial and crucifixion. Real peace cannot come without attending to the truth – the truth of the flaws of humanity – its depravity if you will. Even as we view the course of history and various advanced and not so advanced cultures we fail to address the truth of many attempts at peace that have failed to deliver because we’ve attempted to do it without reference and humbling ourselves to the Creator of mankind.

The Peace One Day movement and others like it paint a picture of humanity as if it were possible from within to just bring about harmony. As if there’s something different about human nature from various attempts over history. Bringing with it false hopes ad false dreams so easily frustrated by an anthropocentric view of us truly being the centre of the universe.

What Christ offers is true peace from without and within. It’s true peace – not the peace that the world offers – because it’s theocentric in nature. It doesn’t say that humanity is without hope, but it does say that the hope is intrinsically connected to returning to the Creator of the universe. It doesn’t say that races cannot ever co-exist but it does say that a new mind and new spirit from above will be required to bring this society about. This truth is good news … if we’re willing to only see it, (which only comes by God’s grace) but it’s bad news for those desperately seeking for it to be based on our own self-given merit and worth.

I believe the opposite of peace is not war but division. That’s why the Prince of Peace has come to end all wars by bringing reconciliation – a reuniting, of something that has been divided by sin. One of the definitions of sin ironically hits the nail on the head. This concept is from the idea of seeing sin as missing the mark and if we keep missing the mark there literally is something always missing. Scripture narrative is the tragedy of mankind’s rebellion to His creator and thus missing the mark whether through fear or pride. And so must this ever be the case until we are reconciled with Him.

So the peace of Christ doesn’t offer the mirage of conflict resolution which acts as conflict evasion. The peace that Christ offers as reflected in the Beatitudes is one of reconciliation with the Creator through recognition of poverty of spirit, subsequent mourning comforted by God and being under His control to be a fresh perfume in the world hungering after that which is pleasing to Christ displaying the tendency of mercifulness with purity of heart in replicating the mission of the Son – making peace between God and man that brings real peace between man and man. Now as the last Beatitude assures us, this mission is in a culture which rebels and refuses to accept this light and this truth. Their refusal to come to terms with the basic missing element to bring peace – right relationship with God – means that they are forever pursuing in the dark something that only the light can offer.

Post Note: Please pray for peace .Over this month the Daily Thoughts will be based on the theme. We’re scheduled to be having a day on the subject and the prayer is that people can be reconnected with God and thus have the character to be peacemakers and join John in rejoicing over being sons of God.

For His Name's Sake
da man cd

Chain blog rules:
1) If you would like to write the next blog post (link) in this chain, leave a comment stating that you would like to do so. If someone else has already requested to write the next link, then please wait for that blog post and leave a comment there requesting to write the following link.
2) Feel free to leave comments here and discuss items in this blog post without taking part in the actual "chain". Your comments and discussion are very important in this chain blog.
3) When you write a link in this chain, please reply in the comments of all previous links to let everyone know that your link is ready. Also, please try to keep an updated list of links in the chain at the bottom of your post, and please include these rules at the bottom of your post.
"Peace" Chain
Link 1: "Peace - A Chain Blog" by Alan Knox
Link 2: "
Peace - A Chain Blog" by Joe (J.R.) Miller
Link 3: For Peace Sake by me

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

To Hell With Hell

Don’t know if I’ve talked about hell before, and this is not going to be an explanation of what it is and it isn’t. This entry comes about though, as I am reliably informed that people seem to think that their existence here on earth is hell. I can sympathise to a degree with their plight. A lot of people around the world are living in varying degrees of hardship, persecution, torture, suffering and torment that few would be able to cope with. For all that though, I still think this is a cheap view of hell, even as we have a pretty cheap view of heaven as our mortal finite concepts and imaginations only give brief glimpses and hints as to what beauty awaits us should we be found in Christ on His return.

In any case, for all the misery that people are enduring to different extents in different contexts I get the impression that the role of a peacemaker (part of the deal of those who follow Christ) is to bridge the gap between the perception of their hellish existence and a path of seeing it from a godly perspective which doesn’t always alleviate the physical circumstances necessarily but allows the spirit of love, joy, peace and righteousness to inform the view of that circumstance. In this way it’s the chance to see the answer to the prayer of the heavenly kingdom seen on earth as we replace the person’s sense of hell with our best Spirit-driven efforts to announce and reveal heaven on earth. So to hell with the hell that people endure and let the righteousness, beauty and joy of the presence of Christ pervade the lives of those to whom we come in contact through our word and witness. That means it’s as much a glass of water, a listening ear and relief of pain as it is the proclamation of God’s love expressed in Christ’s sacrifice.

Now let me get this clear. My heart does break at hearing the kind of things people have to go through and the lack of love, respect and basic necessities people endure through, but it’s very true to me that while there’s life there is a glimmer of hope in that situation. That is why it’s not hell to me. Also when I note how some cultures and communities rise above their plight and are able to carry on and persevere through the trials – check those who went through slavery – then there’s no reason to accept the status quo. Real hell would be not even having that opportunity or glimmer to see things from God’s perspective. Real hell would be never having a chance to see that brighter future in Christ. Real hell would be eternity without God.

This though also runs into the issue about what heaven is like and the arguments that people put to me as to why it would be boring ig everything was perfect and how we need the evil to appreciate the good. I’ve never found these arguments to be particularly convincing. Sure if I never had a problem I wouldn’t know God could solve them, but that’s only because I wouldn’t need God to solve them and presumably our relationship would revert to how it was with Adam and God pre-Fall and what Jesus indicates in His time on earth. I so want to open up people to the fact that we were not meant to be this way, and this way is not going to stay with us forever. There’s got to be something in a perspective on perfection that helps us realise ourselves and just how hard the discrepancy is. I believe that is available in and only through Christ.

I also think this informs us as to the whole issue of living this life to see the kingdom come but also living in the light of the fact that this is not our resting place, this is not our abiding home, but there is one to come and we so want to see it and invite others to live today in the light of that eternity.

For His Name's Sake
da man cd

Monday, August 25, 2008

For A Laugh

I cannot recall the last time I watched an entire stand-up comedy show on television. You know the likes of Richard Pryor, Lee Evans, Bill Cosby, Billy Connolly, Jack Dee or whoever. Now on one really wacky outing I purchased a Robin Williams stand-up routine on DVD. That was years ago and not too long after I gave it away. I remember back a few years and a friend treated me to go to a theatre and watch Harry Hill and that was good.

One of my good friends at the moment is
Andy Kind who is a stand-up comedian by trade – and a good one as far as I know. I admire stand-up comedians and one of my current heroes looks to them as almost modern day prophets who can actually convey a lot of observational truth on the state of the world.

Tonight for the first time in a long time I sat through a stand-up routine –
Chris Rock: Never Scared. Chris Rock is not Richard Pryor or Eddie Murphy or Bill Cosby. I can see why he’s so popular and highly rated, he’s a clever guy. I didn’t find what he did laugh out loud hilarious and watched on with some bemusement as to how the audience was ‘rolling in the aisles’ at the material. I guess my American cousins would wander why I find some of the stuff I find so hilarious that way. For all that I understood why it was funny and yet beyond that I saw how the material when you scratched the surface and sometimes raw on the surface was social and political commentary that was thought provoking as well as humorous.

I still need to understand why there’s a need for such a propensity to profanity. There’s something as well about the return to sex-related jokes that seems to always be a winner. Talk about basic instincts – it’s as though because it’s so raw and so close to home and so in touch with the human experience that it’s the easiest thing to get a laugh out of. Right there with the profanity and the vulgar there’s a reference to sex and violence that depicts a lot of society and cannot ever be addressed without the push to make us laugh about it.

I don’t want to have to filter so much rubbish to get the gems from such a performance. I would love to see people just being creative without having to hit those marks. I would love to admire the cleverness of these men and actually take a journey that’s positive and life-affirming and building, possibly towards the heart of the gospel and kingdom living. I understand that because of the way of the world this may not be that likely, but that’s why I pray for comedians like Andy Kind and his mate Tony Vino, so that they can push through some light in the dark world of comedy.

Isn’t it ironic that something that produces a reaction that should leave us feeling better about ourselves, something that is so appealing in a child – laughter – isn’t actually used as a medicine to heal but a method to make us laugh at how ridiculous life really is. When I read about laughter being a good medicine and contrast it with what it takes to make people laugh today I so long for people to enjoy the real fullness of joy to be found in God’s presence where you can have a laugh and it’s at no one’s expense, but for everyone’s uplifting.

For His Name's Sake
da man cd

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Learning Life in the Spirit

So you’re still waiting for the Dark Knight entry. You think I’ve forgotten it. You think I’m not going to do it. You’re wondering what’s taking so long. You’re wondering if it’s going to be worth it. Well keep waiting then in the fullness of time all shall be revealed. Needless to say, I have not forgot. I am going to do it. It’s taking so long because it’s a teabag of an idea that needs to soak in the hot waters of my mind a bit more before the brew is complete. Whether it’s worth it or not will be up to you to decide, but it’s not designed to be my magnum opus, just some thoughts on the movie. Anyway …

Today I’ve started reading two books that threaten to further destabilise any hope I had of retaining my old superior ways of engaging with God. The first book looks at the problem of legalism and how it negates the New Covenant relationship I have with Christ based on grace.

The second book is called Surprised by the Power of the Spirit by Dr. Jack Deere. I’m not one to completely take on board the thoughts and views of any writer, speaker, teacher or preacher. I endeavour to separate good from bad and allow good to challenge, provoke, stimulate and encourage me as it should. I don’t always succeed in the endeavour and sometimes I completely miss God in the whole affair. One thing I have picked up over time, however, is a growing awareness of my serious character flaws that God has healed although my journey towards its realisation is still in progress.

One of those areas is my pride often revealed in my desire to be right about the Word. It only crops up all too often, however, that the more I read the Word the more I realise that I don’t know the Word at all and that it’s best to just submit myself to this fact first and foremost and then allow that to reshape me. One particular area is in regard to the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

It is a contentious area of teaching and application and open for much abuse and neglect. Something I am only too aware of now is that I ignore the ministry of the Holy Spirit at my peril. Likewise I pontificate about the ministry of the Holy Spirit at my peril. One thing I must endeavour to do is earnestly search the scriptures and God in prayer to understand more of the work of the Holy Spirit in my life and the life of the church and apply that whenever I can.

I believe it is through the Spirit that God calls me, equips me, inspires me, provokes me and transforms me into the image of Christ. I believe that the power that raised Jesus from the dead can enable me to live above sin. I believe it is that same power that can conquer deep-rooted sin in my life and release me from bondages that I realise now prevent me from really operating in the freedom in which Christ has set me free. I believe it is this same power that convicts and converts me periodically – sometimes daily, sometimes hourly, sometimes minutely, sometimes seasonally. And yet for all that I believe I am only too aware that there is so much more for me to understand and to know – not just head knowledge, but whole life application – that will allow me to consciously, deliberately and intentionally engage in life in the Spirit that sees me producing fruit that lasts and brings honour to the Father in the name of the Son.

I feel daunted at times by the size and implications of all this, but then I am reminded of the holy love that sent Jesus to die on the cross for me and I realise that this journey is one of righteousness, peace and joy – to embrace and live life in the Spirit is to truly respond to the love so amazing and so divine that demands my soul, my life, my all.

For His Name's Sake
da man cd

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Stevie Helps Me Love My Enemies

Your patience on the Dark Knight review is exemplary and so to help you exercise this patience further I ask that you hold out a little longer. The reason for the delay is … well you’ll see when I eventually come out with it, it’s worthwhile.

Anyway I’m here at the laptop and it’s past the midnight hour and I had Stevie Wonder in my head since I got back home from a study session we have on Wednesday nights on spiritual warfare. I was singing
Send One Your Love and then segueing that into From The Bottom Of My Heart (trust me, if you arrange it right you can segue the two almost seamlessly). So no sooner had I got on the ol’ laptop having made the wife a cuppa and did some petty little domestic stuff in the kitchen.

I, of course, get me blog out of the way, that is the
brand new blog entry on the Stoke COG blog, and then after during all that I get me Stevie Wonder playing a wide variety of tracks like I Go Sailing (brilliant track – check the lyrics for some powerful stuff about where to get a real thrill for me), Feeding Off The Love Of The Land (this has got to me one of the greatest conscientious songs that mankind has ever penned) and With Each Beat Of My Heart (grossly underrated love song that outweighs most stuff that’s been put out by anyone … ever). Just the tip of the iceberg really of the great stuff I’ve been listening to.

Anyhow I was listening to this live version of
For Once Of My Life that he does with Diana Ross. As I watched it something that came to me was that I’d like to know how to love like Stevie Wonder. I don’t mean that in a fawning way as though the sun shines out of his posterior, but there’s something really big-hearted about a brother who can extend love and graciousness to a number of people who wouldn’t necessarily be the top of my list of people I’d like to do business with. That must really be love for the enemies in action right there. Embracing, encouraging and edifying someone whose character you’re not too keen on has to be something spiritually gifted from above.

This is not all that unusual when I consider that Jesus expressed this same love to enemies of God, i.e. us in extending sacrificial love, befriending me and highlighting the grace of God in the cross, so it shouldn’t be a problem for me to reflect that in a love that’s as much for the enemy as is it for a loved one.

Now all I need is a lot of help in living that out!! Still I can do all things through Christ.

For His Name's Sake
da man cd

Monday, August 04, 2008

Fishing For The Journey's End

Having a chat with a good colleague at work – just discussing fishing and how pointless it is to spend all that time to catch fish only to throw it away again! Not even to eat the thing! Other pointless pursuits I highlighted included F1 and the inanity of going round a track in a car making noise and getting nowhere.

I did concede that others may consider me sad for taking pleasure in 22 men kicking an air inflated ball of leather around grass in the hope to get it between three sticks and in a net. For all that though, football makes sense where fishing doesn’t. On the same topic hunting is a bit pointless as well if the best you’re going to do with the catch is to stuff it and mount it. What’s the point? You’re better off doing it for the reason we used to do it – because we need to catch the thing to eat it.

The thrill of the hunt is pointless if the result doesn’t match. That’s also my issue with people who say enjoy the journey as though the process is the thing. The process is not the thing; the process is pointless if it doesn’t have an outcome. The journey doesn’t make sense unless there’s a destination and if the destination is an anti-climax to the journey then the journey likewise feels a bit of a let down. I’m all about the destination. I’m all about having a point of doing the things that I do.

The beauty of following Jesus is that not only is He the goal – the destination of the journey – but he’s the journey as well!! I get to know Him on the journey so that I can reach Him at the end of the journey. That to me makes sense, especially in the light of having a destination that culminates and highlights what the journey was all about rather than being an anti-climax.

For His Name's Sake
da man cd

Sunday, August 03, 2008

About Authrine

Yesterday my wife celebrated her birthday.

She is not getting any younger, but someone’s forgot to tell her looks. Even last week someone thought she was in her early 20’s and was stunned when she informed them of her real age. I am incredibly blessed among other things to be married to a woman who looks so young and sometimes acts that age as well.

I never blogged about her yesterday because we spent most of it together … if you know what I mean … and for the first time in ages I went out for a meal with the wife of my youth and it was fun. Authrine was and is first and foremost my friend. Sometimes in the hurry and scurry of life with her priorities and my priorities and our schedule it’s a challenge to remember that, but last night afforded me the chance to be reminded of that and that was great.

I had the privilege of giving a tribute to my wife at our family service yesterday and God has been so good that it was effortless to talk of how blessed we are to have Authrine in our lives. She is a tenacious, compassionate, large-hearted, loyal, creative bundle of energy who leaves an impact on the lives that she hits and most of it for good. She’s not perfect but I’d spoil her if she was. I’ve seen her really blossom in the time that I’ve been with her to this point and because of her commitment to Christ I’m assured that she will just go on from strength to strength in her walk with Him and reflecting a character like His.

I know it’s not been easy for her over the last 8 years in England for one reason or another, but I do know that it’s been great for her in stretching her faith and her wings to be able to soar in friendship, service and love for others. My prayer for her life is just for her to continue to grow and never rest on her laurels but pursue peace in herself, with her church, friends and family and finally with those blessed by her acts of service.

Thank you Lord, for her, help me to support, encourage, cultivate and celebrate the most beautiful woman in the world.

For His Name's Sake
da man cd

Friday, August 01, 2008

And So In Closing

I first got into emails in 1996 and when I ended them I thought it was a bit boring just ending correspondences with ‘yours sincerely’ and even ending it with Christopher Dryden. So I got into a whole pseudonym business and ended it with ‘later, ned’ then I got out of that phase and currently as you may notice I end my posts on this blog and on most of my personal emails with For His Name’s Sake, Shalom, da man cd, which at least removes any sense of ambiguity. So I had a good chuckle reading this post about the ways we end our emails as super-spiritual Christians! Good ol’ Prodigal Jon – even if you’re not a Christian it’s worth having a chuckle at some of his insights on what we Christians get up to and what kinda traditions we’ve built around this following Jesus business.

For His Name's Sake
da man cd

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Waddaya Mean It's The End Of July Already?

I was walking along to withdraw some money to get some gas and electricity for our crib – we’re on a card system you see so we have to pay as you go. As I was walking along it occurred to me that with it already being the end of July then there’s only 152 days left in the year and I haven’t done as much blogging as I’d have hoped to have done.

I guess it’s easier if I’m just putting on web-site links or YouTube posts that I come across but to actually commit to ongoing original thoughts and slap them on the blog itself is a discipline that is not as easy as I first thought. So I admire all those who blog compulsively whether several times a week or in some outstanding cases once every day.

Not to feel down at the realisation, I’m still determined to make the most of the 152 days that remain. That’s not to say I’ll commit to blog posts every day, but it is becoming easier to slap down some notes on a daily basis even over the weekend. Perhaps the next step is just to transfer some of that material onto blog and hopefully with net access being sorted at home I can make it a regular discipline.

Today is the last day of my leave and the two weeks overall has been better than other periods of leave. I’ve had the chance to reassess some things in me life and although I haven’t been able to complete all that I’d like to do, it has been very useful and relaxing in some areas, so I’m grateful to God for that. I have no intention of returning to work with all guns a-blazing, indeed with August being the funny month that it is, I can afford to use it to build up to some major stuff starting in September. What I really want to persist with more than anything is continuing conversations and creating opportunities for those conversations to take place in group and individual settings. The podcast may have to wait for a while, but it is something I can be working on getting the infrastructure better to ensure it’s an ongoing thing rather than a one off.

The time for reflection and reviewing who I am and where I’m at has been really useful and in terms of impact on future behaviour I really want to kick on and achieve some tangible targets – more blog entries, more teaching noted, more daily devotions noted, more time spent doing the things I do best and avoid wasting my time over non-essentials.

I am working on getting the Dark Knight blog entry done before the end of the week (yeah, I know that’s tomorrow, or the day after if you want to be strict about it). Beyond that one thing I really want to give God big thanks for is Google Reader. What a concept! It’s been ever so helpful to me recently in being able to see what’s going on in my key areas of interest in one central location without having to search or go on Favourites all the time and to have a record of it all available whenever I log in and have it updated regularly is just bliss!

Also something to give God thanks for is the grateful return of football. I watched Man City in a UEFA Cup qualifier this evening and it was so good to have it on, even if Man City were wasteful and should have won a lot more comfortably than 2-0. Life just isn’t the same during the time when the footie is off. I’m none too optimistic about Liverpool’s chances, but more on that nearer the time. Well that’s your lot for now. More to come in the very near future,

in the meantime, be not discouraged at a grey and cloudy day, or when the rain pours and ruins everything – it’s just another opportunity to rejoice in another chance to breathe. I heard some reports today about people who have been paralysed from the neck down just because of stress, so that always put things into perspective about having the eyes to see just what God has done for us and how grey and cloudy days or rainy days are still as full of promise and richness as a sunny day as long as God grants us the sense to enjoy it.

For His Name's Sake
da man cd

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Catching Up With All Those Thoughts

So you would have thought with having a two week break that I could make some time to catch up on some more regular blogging and letting you people genuinely know what is up with the gentleman whose initials are third and fourth in the alphabet. Oh but no, there’s always something that crops up as a reason why I can’t blog. So the reason why I haven’t been regularly blogging is because for about a month or so up to last Friday I really had no net connection as the router went all funny. So that was a pain in the neck. Now your argument is I could have blogged from work – done it before, probably do it again no problems right? Wrong. It’s not that straightforward – of late the domicile bliss of being in the room that I share with the wife sans wife and being able to just chill with the laptop on my … lap (that really is ingenious) multi-tasking as ever and just reeling the thoughts that come to me or having the chance to share that which has come to me. On the multi-tasking front for example I am listening and watching a random mix of tunes from my Xsecular file and at this minute it’s Seven Days by Sting. As well as that there are 10 net windows open with various links that I’ll get round to noting and the ever helpful Google Reader from which I’ll glean what nuggets to make a note of. There’s some catching up to do – to the region of 491 entries to wade through – but that’s the beauty of having this time doing something I enjoy. As well as those there is also the Word document on which I put down whatever notes I’ve made during the day. Of late these have been rather filled as I’ve had the chance to put down the copious web links and some notes that have been cropping up as well. The beautiful thing about the notes is that I’ll start on a stream of thought or a correspondence I want to do and I’ll stop it halfway through a sentence and leave it there for days at a time as I pursue something else and complete that as well. It’s good fun, really.

Anyway, so the wife finally sorted out the net business and got me back online from home on Friday and after giving God thanks and praise and extending a rather perky peck on the cheek for the wife finally completing her deed I’ve sought to make up for lost time. So here are some of the notes I’ve been making with links and the such like that has been rolling in the mind of the da man cd in the interim period from the last entry til now.

From 15-07-08

· The bigger picture goes to the question do Christians need to monitor their intake on television, radio, internet, etc.? I’m reminded of the proverb to guard the heart with all diligence as out of it flow the issues of life. Earlier on today, I was only too aware of how vulnerable I am to attack in going back to some stuff that I haven’t touched in months. I was only too conscious of the fact that I could take little bits and bobs to satisfy the flesh whilst building a desire for it again. In the intervening months I’ve had such a good time loving Christ and desiring to be sold out for Him, that I’m too aware of how precious that is to me and how dependent I am on Christ to maintain that, even in the light of the challenging marital circumstances. I want to be so awash with godly stuff that when the buzzers go off in me head then I’m able to take the hints and follow the Saviour into the proper thing.

· I am convinced by David Tennant’s portrayal of the Doctor – he does a good job and I’ve never seen him do a cropper. While thanks may go to writers and directors, et. al. the brother still has to come through with the performances and this he does to a really good degree.

From 17-07-08

John Piper has not joined a gang – brilliant stuff!

· I look at the word source. I refer to it in my understanding of the role of a man. Back to the whole bit about us being here to look after the garden ensuring that the fruit it is to be producing comes through and enjoying what is produced. I then link it with the concept of fatherhood and look at the word and its meaning. When I look at how the dad is the source of the family from which everyone gets their name and identity I then connect to how we know we’re God’s children because our behaviour suggests we’re linked to the source. It makes me chuckle thinking that the Dryden Family is a production of Chris Dryden. If Authrine is unfruitful, if Abigail is rebellious, if Deborah is unruly then we can turn and look at the production values and who the producer was. Likewise the Executive Producer expects the production team to run on values in line with that which was set out at the beginning.

From 18-07-08

· God is Roman Abrahamovic and we are managers of Chelsea – he is the owner, we are the managers. He has brought us to look after his club and ensure that it fulfils its promise of winning trophies and producing good football. It’s his club but we manage it and have the resources at our disposal to put together the team that produces the necessary output to meet the overall targets.

From 19-07-08

· Recalling something I heard from the Josh Harris sermon as part of NA2008, I am intrigued at the whole concept of reformation to see that there’s something about taking God’s Word seriously and also there’s something in the inevitability of God fulfilling what His Word says. In the same way as a believer we live in the light of knowing God and seeking by His Spirit to have a spiritual reformation that will get rid of everything unpleasant to God.

From 24-07-08

· This is why I love spending time searching the web and getting involved in such stuff as to get my mind engaged in spiritual stuff that has implications on my social and cultural engagement. For example after touching on the subject of race and manhood over the weekend, here’s a fascinating blog entry on
racism, the gospel and politics. This in itself refers to another fascinating blog entry on voting for Obama. In the light of the article you’d get the impression there’s implicit value in taking part in the political process of voting, but I’ve not had the argument made clear to me beyond reasonable doubt and yet the more we consider things, the more implicit is that the issue is worth defending on gospel grounds.

· Right or wrong I’ve tended to associate Pyromaniacs with articles against something usually someone on the emerging side or maybe a prosperity gospel proponent. So it was refreshing and illuminating to have that stereotype shattered by
this article on my kinda subject – discipleship.

· Combining two themes – politics and Pyromaniacs, here’s something they have to say about
what the church can say to government. That has implications for the church’s missional portfolio and what we say in our communities.

· I wonder why the cinema industry persists in spacing opening dates for their films when the technology is there to allow us to know what is in a film even before it’s released in its first country. Why not just release it everywhere at the same time?

From 26-07-08

· So getting back to basics with the family is a challenge anyway. To make it even more challenging here’s some advice on saving the family from being
distracted to death.

From 27-07-08

Moving metaphors – good stuff to remind me of who God is.

From 28-07-08

· Good
critique on the Jesus invitation and deeper reflection on where He is

· As I explore the gospel further
articles like this by Tim Keller are highly instructive

· As an example of how useful Google Reader has been, I never gave much notice to the
Gospel Driven Church, but this article on what their church is all about and how it does what it does was a fascinating insight into how church is done. As well as that the motivating driver for the pastor of the church and writer of the blog resonates deeply with my own desire in my context. Here’s where his church is at as well.

From 29-07-08

· I wonder how many churches would
take this position and pay the cost of faithfulness to God?

· This is a good entry that has good practical implications on how I can do life better if I learn to
anticipate things, ask the right questions and work towards the right answers to those questions.

· I love posts like this that remind us of
the real reason for meeting and what should result from it.

· This is a powerful article on the
differences and similarities in what is faced in the United States of America and the Union of South Africa. It makes me consider what would be the key issues to address for the church and community context in which I live.

· I was reading a comment about why churches won’t become multi-cultural and the point was that it’s not about classism or racism but it’s because there is a mutual understanding that different cultures worship in different ways. That is a very dangerous comment to make. The deal of multi-cultural church is not to withstand the forces of prejudice and discrimination, it is to show the world how the gospel does cultural blending and brings a body of people committed to the sovereignty of God as expressed in a Kingdom culture that supersedes all other culture and sub-culture. This does not negate the value of the cultures in which we live, but it does say wherever cultural norms and values clash with kingdom values – and every non-kingdom culture by definition has elements that clash with kingdom culture – then these most bow down, submit and be removed in favour of kingdom culture. One blatantly apparent way in which various cultural norms contradict kingdom culture is in this separatist perspective on communal worship that says because I’m not comfortable worshipping in your cultural way I’ll leave you to it and I’ll do my thing over here and perhaps we can meet up every now and then. That doesn’t promote body-building at all. How can true gospel community arise in these circumstances? How can I ever benefit from the gifts you have to offer if the structure never affords me to spend quality time with you in that context? There again is the tricky issue of working out gospel community and kingdom culture in the light of the various pressures to conform and withdraw from each other for ‘perfectly reasonable’ premises which threaten the very real unity of the body.

From today

So if you thought this was a long post you need to understand that these are just selections from the stuff I’ve been noting over the two weeks. Just goes to prove how good it would be to get into a funk and rhythm of blogging so it doesn’t all pile up and then I have one of these heavy download sessions. Let’s hope and I’ll act on the hope that the change will come for everyone’s good!

Something I’m hoping to blog on soon and preferably before the end of the week is my take on The Dark Knight. Now if you’ve seen me Facebook profile then you’ll already know what some of my initial feedback was on it, but its worth a blog in itself so look out for that. As well as that whilst in holiday mode and hoping to escape tomorrow and Friday to catch up on some other stuff there should be more blog activity on this blog and the others that are up and running including the debut entry for the Daily Thoughts blog.

That should do for you for now. In the meantime have yourself a good ol’ time wherever you are and know that no matter how bad things may appear the bigger reality is not that things could be worse but that things are going to get better for it’s not a issue of cup half full or half empty, but followers of The Man will know it’s about having cups overflowing and with goodness and mercy pursuing us.

For His Name's Sake
da man cd

Monday, July 14, 2008

Really Proud Of That

I didn’t think I’d been away that long! Evidently I had, but nonetheless. I was provoked to blog only to point to an excellent blog entry about the manifestations of pride – if the list was of 100 I would only be guilty of 63 … but I guess that’s enough for the pass mark of having to be careful of the pride in me!! Dear God help me. Dear God help us. Good writing and referring, well worth reading – so read it!!!

For His Name's Sake
da man cd

Monday, June 30, 2008

CD Weekend Wonders

I’ve had an interesting weekend. On Friday night into Saturday morning I experienced my first NightChurch. This is a really good scheme to connect as a place of peace in the middle of the busy club scene in our city offering refreshments and an opportunity to get respite and if anyone is interested in exploring a bit of faith even in the midst of a night out then the space is given. I’ve heard so many positive reports about it and I was intrigued since I heard of its inception last year.

So I finally had my debut and came on a night that wasn’t actually that busy. I saw a guy I respect heaps in Greg Sammons who you should check from
his Cross Rhythms fame. (No this isn’t a name-dropping exercise where I share all the names of the people in show business, although … no, I will not yield to that temptation.) I had a good chat with him and another respected co-labourer in the mission Sean Kennedy. Talked about Sabbath, rest, heaven and stuff like that which I actually found stimulating.

Then I had the chance to sit in on a conversation that Kennedy and others were having with a guy from the army who evidently had an experience that made him more aware of the fragility of life and the possibility that forces beyond himself may have a say in our eternal destinies. Not that he would sign on the dotted line to the whole Christian juggernaut, but the fact that he was conversing was encouraging and intriguing. So that was NightChurch and it’s amazing how light it is at 3:30am. Whilst walking home I was just mesmerised with just how light everything was – it felt like morning … and it was I know, but you know … anyway. Loved the debut at NightChurch and am fully supportive of the scheme. I suggest you check their
Facebook page even if you’ve got absolutely no interest in it at all – just pop in, leave a message and say that I sent you!

Right I’m going to get into the rest of my weekend in a minute, but I don’t know if I’ve recommended some blogs worth reading. One definitely worth taking your time to trawl for good writing and sharing of this journey of discipleship in really earthy ways is written by
Don Gregory: Adventures in Truck Driving.

Now when I say earthy I mean he writes in a compelling manner that the bloke who’s come into the chip shop and ordered a portion of chips with curry for Bill and some sausages and chips for himself whilst waiting in his white van, could relate to as well as someone like meself who’s not going to order that in a chip shop. (Although undoubtedly if they’ve got a deal of chips and a veggie burger with a drink for £2.50 you’ve got my vote and indeed you have my order as well as my £2.50.) Anyhow, I recommend this blog wholeheartedly as it’s one of the few written by someone that I not only know of, but have seen in the flesh and he’s just as good in the flesh as he is in type and that to me is pretty good. Enough of the plug, just check it, enjoy it and then come back here and console me with words that when I grow up if I try really hard I can be half as good as Don!

His latest blog entry more or less sums up my own thoughts on the latest happenings over in Lakeland. It was interesting to read that, because I was having the same conversation today about the deal in this Christian walk being about fruit that lasts – fruit that when people dig their teeth in they taste and see that the Lord is good, not just for a sensational moment n time but for a worthwhile journey through life.

Now before I get back to weekend highlights another blog worth checking is
Stuff Christians Like. I love good humour when I come across it and especially the kind of stuff that can laugh at some aspect of Christendom that aren’t sacred at all and can be laughed at. I recall some of my own church background that is just waiting to be poked at and laughed at not for the sake of it but to realise that beyond all the cultural baggage we have should be an earnest honest desire to not mistake Jesus for the baggage. In any case I’ve enjoyed this site whenever I’ve had the chance to read some of the stuff that Prodigal Jon puts up.

OK back to the weekend that was. So after traipsing in after 4am I thought there was no point in going to bed and so I sorted some things out and before too long the rest of the household was up and about. Something about staying up for so long can make a guy cranky and sadly I went into crank mode as a number of ‘unreasonable’ demands were made on me. Thankfully the people were out of the house before I got to Hulk-busting proportions of crankiness. After a few hours of sleep I was up and ready to meet my friend Charlotte.

Now of course you remember Charlie, of course you do,
for you cannot forget this blog entry. I hadn’t seen her since that time so it’s almost been two years and in that time she’s changed quite a bit. Shorter hair and she’s lost weight – not that she needed to in my opinion, but c’est la vie. In as much as she was an angel back in my time working with her she was an angel on this visit. It was brilliant. Just to have her knocking around and sharing time with the family was such a cool thing and I got the impression she enjoyed the time with us as well which is cool. It is appropriate that at this point I highlight the book that she recommends which is The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. (‘ere Charlie, it wasn’t Seabold as you said, there’s no a in the lady’s name, fancy that!) I’m sure Charlie won’t mind me revealing to the world that it made her cry and cry such was the moving nature of the book. Now personally I’d take the recommendation of an angel seriously if I were you, so read it and read it NOW or later perhaps.

More importantly though the angel did something that clinched her position as an angel and that was supply a big ol’ cheesecake AND chocolate cake as well. Such was the popularity of both that they were gone quicker than you could say ‘would anyone like a piece of my friend’s cake’. I love it when people are a blessing and Charlie is undoubtedly a blessing as everyone at the church now knows. The funniest bit was when my mate, mentor and church boss Hughie was querying as to the identity of the angel and didn’t remember her last time at the COG Centre. When he discovered that she had cake his amazing memory kicked back into place! Convenient, non? So for cake, conversation, care and compassion I was really blessed by having Charlie come see us and hope it won’t take another 18 months before I see her again.

Now I’m not always that revelatory in this ‘ere blog. I don’t clean out me dirty laundry and let y’all into the murky depths of the Dryden character, but it is fair to say that I’m grateful for any help I can get in living this kinda life. A particular challenge of late has been getting the hang of this being a good husband gig. Now as you’ve read and I’m a funny guy (don’t deny what you know to be true) and I love making the good lady have a laugh. As I’ve discovered, however, being the funniest man you’ve ever met is not sufficient to make a healthy marriage. In the light of that revelation, which has only taken me five years to work out (we ‘celebrated’ five years this month) my brother (he being the talented and clever one of the two of us) gave me
this link to a guy who’s spot on about the whole marriage business. Now whether you’re married or not, whether you’re bothered or not, whether you’re a believer or not I spent Sunday morning discovering that it don’t matter, if it’s good advice, it’s good advice and this brother dispenses with good advice. I now have the not inconsiderable task of putting that into practice to help me in living this kinda life, but with God on my side and being married to the most beautiful woman in the world I’m sure I can make it! So big thanks to my brother (he being the talented and clever one of the two of us) for being the one who is the talented and clever one of the two of us.

To complete a good weekend I attended a baptism on Sunday. I do like a good baptism. There’s nothing like a good baptism to remind you of the whole reason why we do this God-business in the first place. Now for those reading of an unpersuaded mind, the baptism I’m referring to is the full immersion of someone who to the best of our ability has made a conscious decision to make a public declaration of joining this journey to Christ in Christ by Christ through Christ. It was such a privilege for Abigail and I to witness the dunking – it makes me inanely grinsome just thinking about it now. I often recall my own dunking experience when I watch others getting their dues, but actually on this occasion I was not so nostalgic, which is a good thing. Recalling it now, though, it was such a nondescript event that it felt a bit anti-climactic. Then, of course, there’s the whole nature of the trials and challenges that kick-off even though the public declaration is of something that’s taken place beforehand. Oh what fun it was for me. I’ve been to quite a number of baptisms this year already, let me see … four already, which is quite a lot for me. Usually I’d got to two or three in a year, so to attend this many and the first half of the year just coming to an end says something. It’s a privilege as I’ve said, but the greater joy is being able to share life in all of it’s ups and downs in the new life in Christ. That’s why it was such a privilege to see my son take the dip last month and the subsequent fun things that have come out of the woodwork since then. My prayers are with him as he spends some quality time abroad. In the meantime keep praying for da man cd family and friends. God’s been good to us for all the rough ride we’ve had this year and I’m looking forward to what more God has in store for us in the time to come. As ever my intentions are good in terms of blogging more often and there maybe more news in the pipeline as to the growing blogging empire of da man cd – stay tuned.

For His Name's Sake
da man cd