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

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

You Ever Get Those Times When ...

You ever get those times when with the best will in the world you want to do something. Your mind’s made up and you won’t turn back. You’re set. It’s going to happen. Let’s get this thing going.

Well such spirit led enthusiasm bubbled up within me as the month of June dawned and I was set to blog every day of the month in a bid to get me writing discipline together and to finally share that fasting series that I’ve been meaning to do since April!

So there I am with the best will in the world and what happens? Well doesn’t the router at home just go all coco-pops leaving me with the only net access at work. Then the work access is a bit mixed up. Then work actually picks up to the stage that there’s no open opportunity to actually post the many thoughts and the like online. Still I have endeavoured to write some notes and so this blog entry will serve as a bit of an outlet for some of the thoughts etc. that’s been crack-a-lacking with me over the time since the start of the month til now. It will involve links to other things as well, so by all means go ahead and check those. But this is a sharply edited version of that which you would have received had circumstances not conspired to thwart the BEST WILL IN THE WORLD.

So here we go.

June 3 - So I was reflecting today on the things about life and thinking about pleasing God in everything. This is part of a deeper reflection and contemplation on the Beatitudes and the kind of characteristic that Jesus says is part of His deal in being Kingdom people. Reminded of the part about being meek and the natural follow on in terms of hungering and thirsting after righteousness. Now Proverbs 16:7 informs me that when a man’s ways please the Lord he makes even his enemies at peace with him. Then in Proverbs 3:5, 6 I’m also told trust God with all my heart and acknowledge Him in all my ways. There’s got to be a link there somewhere and that’s got to be related to the concept of God wanting all of us so that all our ways are pleasing to Him which requires all of my ways being committed to Him. That means my family way, my church way, my work way, my leisure way, my toilet way, all of my ways – all of the routes of life I choose to take as time goes on, all of it needs to be committed to God and following that I can then be assured that even those who oppose will not have an issue with me because the way as directed by God will only be right – that is right by God.

June 4 - Psalm 146

June 5 - Now I don’t agree with everything Rob Bell does or says. Anyone who’s been around me long enough will know that I’m at least wary of his take on Christianity as potentially a cop out to liberalism by another means. What I cannot deny however is that this homey is a Jesus-lover which will do me. Now
check this clip out and really take on board what the brother is saying. Then as you take it on you may be in a prayer meeting like I was and after a night like I had last night where I was really wrangling with God about the reality that I want to love the things He loves and hate the things He hates. And in this prayer meeting this connection of living in the light of who God is and living by the Spirit means having a passion for the things He has means taking seriously the fact that EVERYTHING IS SPIRITUAL. Paul goes onto say that even in the basic activity of eating that it should be done to the glory of God – i.e. it’s a spiritual act. Then he’ll go onto challenge us to present our bodies as living sacrifices holy and acceptable – this activity, i.e. ensuring everything is put to God is our reasonable profession of worship. Wowsers – that means everything is spiritual. That means the magazine I read, the television programmes I watch, the web-sites I visit, the hobbies I have, the conversations I engage with, the thoughts I dwell on, the money I spend, the music I listen to, the time I spend … there is no part of my life that is exempt from God’s analysis of whether it’s pleasing to Him or not. Now that’s not meant to be a burden or a horror, because if you’re living by the Spirit the Christ-consciousness that follows surely makes it a stimulating challenge to overcome what we want to do by sinful nature to do what God would want in our Christ-nature. When we get into it and really enjoy the ride of being in the Presence constantly, acknowledging Him in everything, experiencing fullness of joy and being lead along paths of righteousness for His Name’s Sake then we realise there’s no better way to live – as in if we live the Beatitudes we’ll realise there is no better way to live. And that means our mentality all the time has to be – EVERYTHING IS SPIRITUAL.

June 6 – As the songs were playing it focussed me on the centrality of Christ in what we do – how what we do is based solely on Jesus’ blood and righteousness. The first song that played was the Gaither Homecoming version of Worthy Is The Lamb which sent me to Revelations 5 which covers the event and when read with chapter 4 before it, this text becomes even more encouraging as we see the new song made in praise and adoration of the Lamb who slain. It makes a mockery of the term ‘slain in the Spirit’ when we consider what it was for the Lamb to be slain and as a result it’s reasonable that we give Christ everything. So the list reflected a lot about Christ is the priority of what we do – how He is the prize, the goal, the motivator, the source of strength and the power that lives within that enables us to do all we can to magnify His name and proclaim for others to share in the same experience of just how great He is and how our souls were filled with joy after He touched us and made us whole.

June 8 - So yeah, again, God is using the timeless truths in the lyrics of songs I recall from my childhood to draw me closer to Him again, proving the benefit of growing up on healthy songs. That’s the reason why I’d be a bit concerned if all the daughters were getting in the system was Iggle-Piggle and Makka-Pakka. I’ll surround them with more good stuff that I had growing up and indeed when they grow old they will not depart from it.

June 10 - 117 Dumb Statements: God helps those who help themselves. What a load of baloney I mean when you check the first beatitude you’re stuffed right there. God is evidently rewarding those who are in no position to help themselves due to their abject poverty in being able to do so in the first place.

June 11 - Good quote on the
importance of doctrine and theology.

June 13 - Inspirational
YouTube link for the day – the longer I serve Him the sweeter He goes.

June 17 - Trust me as a teacher my heart’s desire is to be a good teacher for God and be able to put together ministries with opportunities like John Piper’s at Desiring God –
this looks exciting and gets to the heart of the issue of loving God, loving His Word and loving seeing people connect with all that.

This project might be interesting especially in the light of someone else we know doing a series on Psalms as well. Oh ho good stuff for da man cd! Linked to that it’s worthwhile checking what’s going at the blog project itself.

wanna get this – it’s really good stuff.

Indeed let’s get it on
UFC style with Jacob and Esau

Kirk Franklin Song
Chains – in terms of the ministry of seeing people who are captive set free, this is a more than appropriate songs!

Now for all that there is no guarantee that there will be more on the way, but at least you have an idea of some of the things that is going on in the head of ur man cd.

For His Name's Sake
da man cd

Monday, June 02, 2008

Alright God I'll Do The Dishes

So it’s almost 23:00 and I’ve come home from a brilliant Men’s Meeting to find the bedroom in a state of repair as laminate flooring is being put down. Then I get to the kitchen to see a wonderful array of crockery awaiting a man’s touch to bring order in chaos. Then in looking for me two bakewell tarts and two apple pies I discover that one of the bakewell tarts has disappeared and know it's new home.

As I survey the wondrous scene of blissful domesticity I go to grumble when I get a thought. The thought is of God asking who do I think clears up the mess of my sins and I say grudgingly that He does. Then He cajoles me to answer the question properly before which I point out to the Almighty Creator that it’s one thing to deal with the sins of the world, it’s another thing coming home from a long and tiring day to realise you can’t feel comfortable in your own bedroom neither will you be able to get to sleep without sorting out the mountain of plates and assorted other crockery that will need to be sorted tonight as I’m out and about early tomorrow.

At this list of overwhelming evidence the Lord again points to the cross and my stubborn, sulking child is replaced with a knowing gratitude and humility at the pain that my Saviour endured without a word of complaint. I consider the stripes by which I’m healed; I consider His crushing for my evil-doing and sin-nature. I reflect on the wondrous cross and resolve that I reckon I will do the dishes, have me dinner (yeah my eating patterns are almost as wacky as I am) then retire to the bedroom and give thanks for Calvary before getting the sleep that He’ll bountifully supply and should He see fit I’ll get to start another wonderful adventure with Him all over again.

Having said that, if you do have another bakewell tart, Father, you know it will find a good home in me tummy.

For His Name's Sake
da man cd

Sunday, June 01, 2008

You're Having A Holy Laugh

So while we’re on a journey of checking out this man’s profile and then what that man got involved in, through all this I come across this guy Steve Green and a fascinating journal entry about holy laughter. That is all.

For His Name's Sake
da man cd