What's Love Got to do with it?

What if we've missed the point? What if Love Wins is enough? And why Rob Bell may just be right.

Right On our doorstep

Think that slavery is a thing of the past? Think that the UK is too civilised to be part of trafficking? Think again

5 reasons why being married to Brit is great (or 5 reasons to marry an American)

5 things you will never know until you marry an American

Masturbation Month

Giving up masturbation for a month. Why we need to save the kittens.

XXXchurch! Whaaa?

Why I love porn (ministries).

21 Sep 2009

Pulling together

Sometimes, though very rarely, I get those moments when you realise that there is something specific about life you are supposed to be learning. Something relevant to you, right where you are, right amongst everything you are going through, right smack in the face.

And I had one of those moments this week. A few different things all came together at the same time to teach me a lesson I needed to learn.

Let me picture the scene for you.

My fiancee (that was for you Brittany, see I do remember) and I are doing a kind of sweets fast. No sweets or chocolate etc at all except for one day a week. We have attempted this before and it feels good to do somethine like this together. But the point is that I love chocolate and I to not eat any during the week is a real challenge. One, that if it was up to me I would have abandoned long ago. But I know from fasting before it will be worth it.

That doesn't change the fact that when I am alone and Brittany isn't around the temptation is very high to buy myself a deliciuous bar of Whispa Gold (thank God for Whispa Gold, that is all I will say). It would taste so good and yummy and would make me feel so good. I have no doubt about that.

It's the next time I am with Brittany and she asks me how I am getting on with our fast when trouble begins. The temptation is then to lie and say I have had nothing to eat. But that could lead to more lies and even though it may seem trivial over a bar of chocolate it could start to snowball.

But the temptation to taste chocolate is too much for me on my own. And if it was down to me I would give in. But thankfully it's not. Thankfully I know I can text Brittany and when I do she will reply with encouragement. I know that I am not alone in this. I know that when I am struggling I have someone who I can talk to, someone who will help me see what I'm not seeing.

The last few weeks I have also started up with accountability with a friend and having someone to turn to when the heat gets too much as far as temptation with lust and porn in involved, is so freeing. Anytime I feel like turning on the computer and searching for porn I know that when I text my friend he will be right there to offer me encouragement and help me see past the moment. And hopefully vice versa.

Thirdly, it's been great to start meeting up with some new friends and talk through Blue Like Jazz together. It's what church should be. Studying and talking and learning from each other. Even though we don't always agree we know that we can do that without it turning into a fight. We know that we can come to a safe place and be open and know that there will be people who can help us.

These three things together have helped me to view the importance of community. We aren't supposed to go it alone. We are supposed to help each other, not judge each other and we are meant to love each other. It's been great learning this recently. It has been freeing.

I have wasted so much time in the past trying to go it alone. I have tried to pretend that I don't need help. I have always been like that. But this week I think I have reached a turning point. I think now I will stop before I face a challenge and think would it be easier to go it alone or do I need help.

This isn't anything new. From day 1 God knew that we wouldn't be able to cope on our own. That's why he created Eve for Adam (I think it's interesting that it was the man that needed help)

In Colossions Paul ends the book talking about all the people who are helping the church. He lists all these people who care and who are praying for the church. Because they know that we all need help. There is a community feel to this church. It feels like you can be yourself and you don't need to be afraid of being laughed at or hurt.

I like this. And I think when church starts living this out we can all grow and we can solve so many problems in our own lives and in church. When we can be honest with each other and know that there will be help without being judged, we can start living like we were meant to be.

In community.

17 Sep 2009

BLJ Part 2- Problems

I didn't quite get around to writing last week about our first week reading Blue Like Jazz. But I am ready to wrong that, though I will be skipping right ahead to chapter 2.

It could be quite pointless writing all this. I mean why read what I have to say about the book when you can just read the book itself. Which you should. But please join in if you like. The more the merrier. Feel free to comment and agree, disagree, call me a Heretic or just say Hi.

So to business.

What I love about Chapter 2- 'Problems'- is that it has helped me understand the human condition better. If you are a Christian in Northern Ireland then you know that we are all sinners and need saved. Well at least that's what we are told. And ultimately I believe this and I affirm this. However I never felt comfortable with it. I never liked this. It felt like when I wanted my friends to know about God that I had to start a conversation with this statement and that's just awkward.

It's not a great conversation opener to be honest. Telling people that they need saved is kind of arrogant if you think about it, as if you have the answers already. But I think this is actually a really beautiful thing. The fact that we are far from perfect and that we need rescued from ourselves.

And the reason I think it is beautiful is because I agree with Don that the problem with the world starts with me.

I could sit here and write all day about issues that are wrong in the world. People who are doing terrible things to other people. Lives which are being torn apart by war and hatred. Governments which are abusing other smaller and weaker countries for their own power. You don't need to go far to see just how messed up the world is.

I mean I am fine. I can get up in the morning and I am a Christian and I can go to church every week and read my Bible every day, or at least intend to. And those things I saw on the news last night are nothing to do with me. And I can write a blog which is ultimately not helping the world at all. And it's all fine because I am saved.

But therein lies the problem. Because when I start seeing the world like this then I am actually becoming the problem. My Christian life can become very selfish and all about me that I can forget that there is a world out there. Not that I am saying I am the solution because if I am, then God help us all.

But we can't make a difference unless we realise that we are all in need of rescuing. If nothing more than from ourselves.

So when it comes to telling people that they are sinners and they need rescued, it's actually the most freeing thing we can come to understand about ourselves. When we throw our egos out the window then we don't need to stop trying to feed them so much. We don't need to keep chasing after things that we think are going to make us happy.

I know that when I write here a part of me wants people to read it and think I am a great writer and very clever. I want my friends to see how amazing I am. I want them to compliment me. I want them to compare me to Rob Bell and I want them to tell my friends about me.

And I am a living example of how I am the problem. Because I can't love others when I am spending so much time trying to please myself. It doesn't work. And so I need to be rescued.

And I have been and I am so thankful to a God that has shown me that the world doesn't revolve around me. So this is why I think one of the greatest things we can learn about ourselves is that we are sinners. Not because God wants us to beat oursleves up. Or needs us to give him praise.

But because he knows that we are chasing something that will never really give us what we need, when we try and live for oursleves.

If we understand this then maybe we can understand oursleves better and understand what God is really like.

10 Sep 2009

Following Don

Wow. It's been over a month since I last wrote here and I really don't like that. So I am going to write more and to help me I am going to blog once a week on the book Blue Like Jazz by the amazing Don Miller.

Since we are starting to read this book in a sort of small group I have joined, I thought it would be a good way to keep track of my thoughts and just as important the thoughts of the other guys in the group. And if you haven't read it, get yourself a copy (you really need to own this book!! Seriously stop reading and get a copy......why are you still here?!!) and please feel free to join in the fun by commenting on my posts on each of the chapters.

I can't tell you how much this book changed my life and I know that may sound cheesy or cliched but its true and I am excited to read it again for the..well I have lost count, but its worth reading over and over.

So I am excited to get started and if you want to follow along you are more than welcome.

Until later then....

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