Thursday, 26 August 2010

Jesus Culture

For a while now I have been listening to some outstanding worship CDs from Jesus Culture.

One of their songs has been a great comfort to me during a tough time.

Low and behold they are appearing up the road in Wolverhampton next month, suffice to say, we are going, along with a fair sized posse of people.

And yet, I am a bit nervous. "Big American Church / Ministry tours UK" presses all sorts of buttons.

Firstly: I want it to spend an amazing time in God's presence, as I have when listening to the CDs and worshipping quietly, and don't want to be disappointed. I literally have been overcome with emotion while watching the DVD that came with one of the albums, during the Revelation song, the spontaneous worship that comes from it, it was extraordinary.

Secondly: I don't want the teaching side of it to be poor. Visits to some events/churches in the past have always been let down by the teaching, not least a tendency towards the prosperity gospel.

Thirdly: Linked to the teaching, I don't want to be asked for money, or be asked to "sow into a revival", or to "lay up my treasures in heaven" or anything like that. I am there to worship God, not join a band of "covenant partners" who get mailshots and gift aid forms.

Fourthly: I want any prayer for healing or desire for miracles to be done in a way that empowers and encourages those gathered. I don't want to feel it is over-hyped, and I want the stories / testimonies to sound really robust and clear.

So I have to sit tight and wait and see. I would recommend anyone who can get to one of their tour dates to do so. Their worship opens up a whole raft of sponteneity and spiritual gifts and brings such a freshness to some really old songs.

If their CD is anything to go by, this could actually be a life changer.

That is a bold statement and hope like that is reckless and yet shows an underlying expectation I have, an underlying desire, for more of God. I have glimpsed something through their worship that I want some of. My faith is not in some band or youth meeting or "generation of revivalists" or whatever they choose to call themselves.

My faith is in God. My heart is for God. And there is something about what happens when they worship that I want to experience and I want to let shape me and change the way I worship God.

The big challenge is opening myself up to let that happen requires me to take off some of my defensiveness about other ministries / moves of God / tours I have experienced which I have found disappointing, oddball, or in some cases downright dangerous.

Yes, I will be reporting my experiences!

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Jonathan Aitken comes to Shrewsbury

I am really excited.

A few Churches here have grouped together to underwrite an initiative at our new theatre.

Jonathan Aitken is coming to share his story.

For some of us it is a big event before our Alpha Course starts.

For others it is an opportunity to host a social event and bring friends to.

For still others it is an interesting foretaste of what we can achieve when we work together.

The following morning he is going into the prison (now a category C prison) to share his story with the men there.

For me personally it is a bit nerve wracking as I am heavily involved in making it happen.

All in all, a very exciting project to be part of!

Friday, 13 August 2010

A new football season...

Tomorrow is the first time I have been able to make a game this season, due to a wedding and our midweek small group.

That means I missed Shrewsbury come from 1-0 down to beat Bradford 3-1 and then come from 3-0 down to beat Charlton 4-3!

We're going up to Macclesfield in the hope that our run of form continues, as a decent result could see us topping the table by 5pm on Saturday.

I find it interesting how short a players stint at a given club is these days. The local paper recently did a table for the most appearances in the last 10 years and about 110, which would mean 3 seasons, got players onto the list.

Only 2 players from the last 5 years were on the list, as we seem to change almost everyone every summer now.

For the Bradford game our starting line up had 8 new signings in, hence the first team is barely recognisable from one season to the next.

If a player is poor, then fair enough they need to be shipped out, but it becomes difficult to have any kind of affinity with your players if you know how quickly it will change. Likewise you do wonder how a group of players can really gel with so many changes.

In the last 10 years we have had 6 managers: that makes it difficult to build for the future.

It is interesting how consistency and playing together reaps rewards beyond individual capability too: as Spain realised with so many Barcelona players who knew each other's game inside out.

Sometimes change can happen just too fast. Sometimes you have to stay to reach a higher level of performance that only comes through time. I remember reading a study that said the biggest growth in Churches came when they had been led by the same person for over 5 years. Maybe Churches and football clubs have a bit in common after all!

Tuesday, 3 August 2010


A week in the Lake District.

No email.

No internet.

Minor mobile phone use: (mostly to try and locate my wife!)


Peace in the hills.

Peace on the Lake. (Not walking!, rowing)

Sometimes holidays can be a great adventure. Sometimes I just like to chill. This was a la carte chilling, carefully woven, delicate, and real nourishment for the soul.