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
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