Friday, December 26, 2008

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Offending Homosexuals..



I always find it disturbing and strange when people get so offended by what the pope says. He is the head of the catholic church; a church which believes that homosexuality is a sin. Therefore, why would people get offended when he re-iterates that point of view?
Should a Christian be offended if a Muslim tells them their faith is wrong? I shouldn't think so. A Christian should know a Muslim believes very different things to him/her and vice versa.
The same for a homosexual hearing the Pope condemn their behaviour. Whether it's good or bad, it should be expected as it's what he believes. Perhaps I'm wrong, but it's what I think when I read the above article on the bbc website. You can read it all here.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008

a draw??

Saw this today on BBC's website. A 2-1 draw, that's a pretty exceptional result!

dmblive.com




Following my post on Dave Matthews new live album, I just found out that they have now decided to join the likes of Pearl Jam, Metallica, Counting Crows and release shows via download on their new www.dmblive.com website.

The first three shows to be released are

4.22.93 (Dave and Tim) - Prism Coffeehouse - Charlottesville, VA
10.24.02 (Dave solo) - Benaroya Hall - Seattle, WA
3.29.03 (Dave and Tim) - Appalachian State University - Boone, NC

They cost between ¢12 and ¢16 dollars depending on what quality you want, ranging from mp3 256kbps and flac lossless.
It's a great new move from them, saves on silly postage costs and will hopefully lead to a big catalogue where one can pick and choose the best setlists from the shows available to own.
I'm not sure if they will take the route of Pearl Jam and Metallica where each new show is available for download a few days after the show. Perhaps they won't go down that road but hopefully they release plenty of old shows and a few from new tours to give us a nice big choice. The great thing about Dave Matthews Band and especially bands like Pearl Jam is that there setlists change every show which leads to the customer genuinely being spoilt for choice.
I guess that's one reason why u2 will never go down the same route as their setlists are unfortunately very static. I'm still very surprised that apart from 'Under a Blood Red Sky' they have never released an official live album to buy.

No Line on the Horizon



Details for U2's new album have been officially released. It's out on Monday, March 2nd, that'll mean in Ireland and Britain it'll most likely be released the previous Friday. No details on tracklisting yet, however amazon.com have it available for pre-order already.
There are 4 (yes, FOUR) different editions available. The most extravagant which is worth a hundred dollars is
...a deluxe limited-edition-collectors item: packaged in a special box, album CD in a cardboard folded sleeve w/ 36 page color booklet and fold out poster. Box also includes 60-page hard cover book plus an additional fold-out poster and a DVD of the new film from Anton Corbijn featuring the music of U2 in a slip case cover.

The amazon link is here; check out the right hand side of the page for the different versions of the album.
I'm looking forward to hearing it.
Here's the official blurb from U2.com.


No Line On The Horizon, the new studio album from U2, will be released on Monday 2nd March 2009.

Written and recorded in various locations, No Line On The Horizon is the group’s 12th studio album and is their first release since the 9 million selling album How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, released in late 2004.

Sessions for No Line On The Horizon began last year in Fez, Morocco, continued in the band’s own studio in Dublin, before moving to New York’s Platinum Sound Recording Studios, and finally being completed at Olympic Studios in London.

The album calls on the production talents of long-time collaborators Brian Eno and Danny Lanois, with additional production by Steve Lillywhite.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Kings of Leon: The o2 Dublin December 19th 2008



First gig for me (& Jane) in the new Point Depot, now called the o2. It still looks like a home depot from the outside, however it's very impressive on the inside. It appears to be much bigger than the old venue, it now holds 13,000 people and despite the fact that we were pretty much in the rafters (the photo attests to that) our view was very very good and the seats were really comfortable.
On to the more important information; the gig. It was excellent. A really enjoyable gig with a very solid setlist. When you look at the list of songs and realise how good they all are it makes for impressive reading and even more impressive listening. They are a very tight band who pretty play song after song without much crowd interaction. I don't mind that so much, especially as all the songs were winners.
Highlights were opener 'crawl', 'king of the rodeo', listening to 13,000 irish people sing that strange accent that Mr. Followill has along to 'milk', actually I'll end up listing most of the songs if I list the highlights. I should add that the light show was extremely impressive.
Let me add two lowlights, 1. no arizona, it's been on the setlist for the whole tour until the last 3 weeks, oh well. and 2. Mr. Followill telling us that we were the best crowd of the tour. Does he really think we fall for that one? 'seriously you guys, it's been a really hard tour (he had previously told us it was the best year of their lives!?) and we have wondered sometimes how we'll keep doing it and keep going through the motions, but then we come to a place like this and well....we wish this was the last night of the tour. This has been the best show and you've been the best crowd'.
Us Irish suckers lapped it up and applauded our greatness. Perhaps I'm too cynical so maybe it was a highlight for them, I hope so. I know that I loved it and was thoroughly impressed.


1. Closer
2. Crawl
3. My Party
4. Razz
5. Molly's Chambers
6. King of the Rodeo
7. Joe's Head
8. Fans
9. Revelry
10. Milk
11. Four Kicks
12. Pistol Of Fire
13. Wasted Time
14. Sex On Fire
15. The Bucket
16. Notion
17. Use Somebody
18. On Call
19. Cold Desert
20. Trani

------------------------
21. Knocked Up
22. Charmer
23. Slow Night, So long
24. Black Thumbnail

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Dave Matthews Band Live at Mile High Music Festival



Dave Matthews Band just released their 27th official live album. Yep, that's 27. Not as bad as Pearl Jam's 290 official live shows, but for some reason there's a difference. Pearl Jam's are so much cheaper and easier to obtain from Ireland than the Dave Matthews Band releases.
For some reason I always get suckered in to buying the live Dave Matthews Band shows. This new one is without the sax player LeRoi Moore who was injured at the time, he has since passed away. The excellent Jeff Coffin from Bela Fleck and the Flecktones stood in for him and he makes a difference. It's not better or worse, it's just a different style of playing. Rashawn Ross guests on the trumpet, I don't care for him playing along. He ruined the Dreaming Tree in the 'Live at Piedmont Park" release and I'm not a huge fan of the trumpet anyway. Tim Reynolds also plays with the band on electric guitar. He's just exceptional. He adds so much, especially when he's relatively discreetly like on songs such as 'Don't Drink the Water'. The show doesn't have Butch Taylor who has played regularly since he joined the band in the studio to play on a few tracks on 'Before these Crowded Streets'. He played every show from summer 01 until April 08 when for some unknown reason he quit (ironic his last song to play with the band was 'stay'). A lot of fans are relatively glad he left as they weren't too enamored with him. However, I think his absence is a loss.
This cd repeats a lot of the songs from the previous live release; eight in total. It has one unreleased song, an incredible cover of 'Sledgehammer' by Peter Gabriel.
It's not the best Dave Matthews Band live release (perhaps I'll do a top ten some day) but it's very good nonetheless and if you're someone who doesn't have any live Dave Matthews Band cd's it's definitely a very good place to start.


Disc one:
"Don't Drink the Water"
"You Might Die Trying"
"Eh Hee"
"Two Step"
"Proudest Monkey"-->
"Satellite"
"Cornbread"

Disc two:
"Sledgehammer"
"Stay (Wasting Time)"
"Old Dirt Hill (Bring That Beat Back)"
"Jimi Thing"
"#41"
"Tripping Billies"
"So Damn Lucky"

Disc three:
"So Much To Say"-->
"Anyone Seen the Bridge?"-->
"Too Much"-->
"Ants Marching"
"Gravedigger"
"Louisiana Bayou"
"Thank You (Falettin Me Be Mice Elf Agin)"

Monday, December 15, 2008

Electric Six - The Acadamy, Dublin. Saturday 13th December




I bought tickets for this gig back in July, but it was touch and go as to whether we'd be able to go. As I've been super sick and Jane was starting to come down with the flu we weren't going to go but we decided at 7pm that we'd regret not going so we'd drive in so we could leave if we needed to.
When we got to the venue Jane asked one of the staff could we sit upstairs in the vip section; for some bizarre unknown reason he said yes. Sweet. I would say that God has our backs cause we were sick but I don't know if he's particularly an Electric Six fan.
The gig itself was fantastic. As rediculous and entertaining as one would except from E6. I saw them last year in Maynooth College and was so impressed. This one was just as good. Dick Valentine is an exceptional front man and kept us fully entertained. They played a great setlist; more songs from their first album that their latest album which is pretty impressive. Some of his banter in between songs is so ludicrous it's amazing that people believe it and clap for it. Such as informing us that the drummer is Larry Mullin Jnr the third and that Ireland should be so proud that we helped elect America's first Irish American President. It was amusing watching the band trying not to laugh as he talked rubbish to us. The setlist isn't in order, but it's all the 18 songs they played. The picture isn't from the gig on Saturday it's from the last time I saw them. He's doing push ups during one of the songs!


Dance Commander
Naked Pictures
Danger! High Voltage!
Improper Dancing
Gay Bar
Synthesiser
Rock N Roll Evacuation
Dance Epidemic
I Buy The Drugs
Night Vision
Germans In Mexico
Showtime
Down At McDonnelzz
Gay Bar pt. 2
Formula 409
We Were Witchy Witchy White Women
Dirty Ball
Your Heat Is Rising

crch-chrch-chrch

These past few weeks I've had a nasty skin condition called Eczema. Anyone who's had it will testify to it's nastiness. I used to get it as a kid but never as bad as the last while. It flared up exceptionally badly over a week ago and I've been off work since. I hope to go back on Wednesday. I'm off to see a skin specialist today.
The thing I have found so hard to deal with over the past few weeks, especially the last two weeks is that I know if I stop scratching I'll get better. Pretty much simple as. The trouble is, I can't stop. Well, I find it very difficult to. I've had some good days of not scratching but at night time it just gets ridiculous. It's like my body goes on auto-scratch-pilot. I then get in a tizzy of "Oh, man I can't be doing this cause I'll get worse" and then I scratch more. I even then get stressed thinking God is disappointed in me for scratching when I know not scratching will make me better.
My only sanity the past couple of weeks has been my wife. She is so much more patient, gracious and kind than I had dreamed of. Applying cream to a crying from pain/frustration 29 year old husband is not something she had thought she'd signed up for 7 months ago! Not one word of complaint has she uttered from her mouth. I just thought everyone should know how wonderful she is.

Oh, the subject title is my attempt at spelling what a scratch may sound like!

Monday, December 8, 2008

One million trees for Israel...

Ever since Mr. Bentley graced our screens I've flicked on to God tv to check it out. Please don't judge me on that fact. Sometimes there can be some pretty good messages, but lately I've been seeing quite a lot of talks that have caused me great concern. Perhaps the Lord is opening my eyes to what has always been there or else it's getting worse.
They have just finished their 'missions week'. What would one think a missions week would consist of? Raising money to help child soldiers in Uganda, helping women and children in the 'worst place to live'the Democratic Republic of Congo's North Kivu province, helping street kids in Sao Paulo? i could go on. The answer is none of the above. What missions week is about is planting 1,000,000 trees in Israel to prepare for Jesus to return. Yep, thats the plan.

Saints, the time is now to petition the Father for breakthrough in your own life… in your families’ lives… in your neighbors’ lives… in the lives and ministries of the GOD TV family around the globe. As the world faces grave financial crisis, the Father has promised to keep us from the eye of the storm, but we need to trust and set our hearts upon Him.


So how do we get this breakthrough?

1. Pray fervently that the Father would bring breakthrough in these coming 40 days.
2. Give generously as Missions Week continues, we are ready to plant trees across
Israel in your honor as you strengthen GOD TV with your generous gift and ensure
the Gospel is taken into more homes, in more cities, in more nations.
3. Wait expectantly… for the breakthrough that we together are trusting the Father
for!


Now I understand that God tv needs money and that people can be blessed by it. But planting a tree in my honour when I pledge money so we can welcome Jesus with a pretty garden? It boggles my mind, that is unless I'm missing something key about the significance of planting trees with some of the money instead of actually helping people. Apparently it's a prophetic display to welcome the king.

I believe that when your tree is planted, you will see multiplied blessings as your tree grows to maturity.


What kind of blessings? I've been seeing a lot lately on God tv about blessings being financial. One preacher stated proudly "Do you think I flew here in Delta Airlines? No, I flew here on my own jet, cause the Lord has blessed me!". Ridiculous. What about the man who doesn't own a private jet, or a car, or even a house; is the Lords favour not upon them? A young orphan taken captive by the LRA in Uganda is that punishment from God? If he comes to know Jesus as his Lord and Saviour will he become materially rich? I think the miracle of being rich in hope is enough, and maybe some of that preachers money that went towards his private jet could help put some food in that kids belly and clothes on his back.

Whether it is legit or not, I know I have been challenged, and that is the challenge to not sit and be satisfied with sending some tv station money so they can get their hands dirty in the mission field. I have to take part somehow and perhaps the biggest thing I can give is my time. Sometimes it can be easier to reach into our wallets and give money rather than reach into our schedules and actually spend time with the broken around us. I do pray God's blessing and wisdom upon God tv and what they do however I'll be giving my money and time to things I feel are more kingdom like.

Monday, December 1, 2008

What comes out when you're squeezed?!

It's been a while.
The last few weeks have been tough. Work has been really hard as well as a schedule that has been filled to the brim. And I'm covered in the most horribly itchy and dreadful scabs and sores! yep, a break out of eczema. enough to send me insane trying to not scratch. Still I have never felt closer to Jesus and for that I'm so incredibly thankful.
Two things I've been really thinking about.
1. It's times like this when most of who I am is exposed. I've been squeezed a lot (metaphorically that is!) and I keep praying that Jesus will come out - not me. When people reject me will pride come out, or humility. When I'm extra tired will I get grumpy or will patience ooze out. You see where I'm going with this. Think about it for yourself. Is Jesus all over you in ever season or just in certain areas at certain times?
2. It's times like these when I realise that it's not a matter of having to love people, it's a matter of getting to love people. Because of what Jesus has done I need to have the attitude that it is more than a privilege to serve and love people. It's not just a command, it's something that brings delight to our Father when we treat his children as he wants them treated by us.

I'm trying.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bell x1 Vicar Street, Dublin November 11th 2008



Vicar Street is a great venue, especially for seated gigs. The only slight problem is you sit at a small table with three other people. I was with Jane so we were wondering who the two strangers would be that would sit strangely close to us. We were sitting there having a lovely time with our drinks when behind us I hear a familiar voice say “I think this is table 26”; we both turn around and there’s two friends, Ross & Lucy who we haven’t seen in ages. It was such a wonderful surprise. We had a great time catching up and being encouraged hearing their story of their journey with God over the last while. Good times.
The gig itself was absolutely brilliant. We loved it. The first 3 songs nearly sent us over the edge. A lovely way to start a show. They played 7 new songs, they’re the ones with a star beside them in the setlist I have written below. Mr. Noonan was playing a strange little guitar called a casio dg20 for a few of the new ones, the only other time I’ve seen one was on flight of the conchords! It’s a computerised guitar is the only way I can describe it.
Standout new tracks were 'blowins', 'one stringed harp', amelia' and 'is that all there is?'. All the familiar tracks were stellar.
If you don’t know Bell x1, get to know them. They are a cracking band and it’s great to hear their new material and like it. It’s got a familiar yet different feel to it, which is positive to know they’re progressing and not just sticking to the same old formula.


Pinball Machine
Just Like Mr. Benn
Rocky Took a Lover
How Your Heart is Wired*
The Great Defector*
My First Born For a Song
Blowins*
Bad Skin Day
One Stringed Harp*
The Ribs of A Broken Umbrella*
Flame
Amelia*
Eve, The Apple of my Eye
-----------------------
Next to You
Is That All There Is?*
I'll See Your Heart and I'll Raise You Mine

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Cardinals - Dublin, November 8th 2008



I love Ryan Adams. He has only disappointed me once, a gig a few years ago that was horrendous, but I blame that on his album 'Rock n Roll' which is equally horrendous so I shouldn't have expected anything else. 1 bad album out of 10 (13 if you include whiskeytown) isn't a bad return.
Another time I saw him was without doubt one of my favourite gigs of all time. Tonight, while it was not as good as that, it didn't disappoint. It was a very solid performance from a band that has obviously gelled very well and has written some killer tunes together. A great sound, pretty honky tonk but one can't really go wrong with that as we all love a bit of twang now and then! Highlights for me were reworked versions of please do not let me go, desire, wonderwall, come pick me up, and i see monsters. A few more older solo songs and maybe a Whiskeytown song would have made this a truly stellar performance. My wife loved it, I'm starting to wonder has she more honky tonk in her than she's letting on! Here's the setlist. 27 songs is good going for a gig.


1. Cobwebs
2. Everybody Knows
3. Born into a Light
4. Please do not Let Me Go
5. Fix It
6. Natural Ghost
7. Goodnight Rose
8. Off Broadway
9. Wonderwall
10. I Taught Myself how to Grow Old
11. Sun Also Sets
12. Come Pick Me Up
13. Grand Island
14. Go Easy
15. Sink Ships
16. Crossed Out Name
17. Stars Go Blue
18. Let it Ride
19. Desire
20. Evergreen
21. Cold Roses
-------------------------
22. Freeway to the Canyon
23. Like Yesterday
24. La Cienega
25. Stop
26. Two
27. I See Monsters

God loves you...

I've been wondering lately about the sincerity of this statement. When I say it, I mean it. I know that God loves everyone, God wants everyone to come in to relationship with him and his Son and the Spirit.
However, I've been wondering can a calvinist truly tell someone that God loves them?. Now, I've been told that God has a general love for people such that he causes his rain to fall on the just and unjust and his word is available for all which is a sign of his love. But does he actually love everyone?
To a Calvinist God loves the elect (when they turn to him), while as John Piper would say about the non-elect "I think we need to go the full Biblical length and say that God hates unrepentant sinners". As Mark Driscoll says in this video "God Hates us".
I wonder then when a Calvinist looks upon his/her theology can they with integrity tell someone that God wants them to come in to relationship with him when in fact, God may not because he has decreed from the very start that he will eternally hate them, crush them and pour his wrath out upon them.
I for one find it a very depressing outlook on who our Father in heaven is and a reminder of a complete distortion of what the holiness of God truly is. It's like holiness and love are seperate in God when in fact they are not.
Sometimes it feels like some think that God was reconciled to man on the cross such that God had to be changed from being against us to for us when Jesus died for us. It says in 2 Corinthians 5:19 that in fact we were reconciled to God. our view of God had changed. God despises our sin and yes we don't deserve anything good from him but what is so amazing and miraculous about him is that He does love us and pursue us and implore us to come in to relationship with him.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

McCain in PA

I flicker between being intrigued by the US Election and being completely bored of it. One of my favourite clips I've seen is this one.

I couldn't agree more with how much McCain messes up.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Gap Camp

I came back late last night from a few days speaking at a camp for teens.
What a wonderful experience. It was such a privilege to be able to share with the young people some truths that Jesus has been revealing to me over the last while.

I was asked to speak on the Father Heart of God. Jonny who helped run the camp figured that topic would suit me down to the ground and he couldn't have been more on the case.
We had 5 sessions to explore the topic.
The first session we looked at the parable of the lost son which is in fact more about the fathers heart than the son's waywardness. It was so great being able to share with the young people the outrageous abundance of love the Father has for them.
One of Satan's biggest ploy is the convince us that God isn't for us and that God doesn't like us, we looked at how Jesus knew who his father was and wanted his audience to get it. to get the outrageous unconditional underserving love the Father has for us. God doesn't want our rehearsed religion when we turn to him he just wants us, a true relationship with us.

The second session we looked at the older son in the story of the prodigal son and his bad theology. His thinking that the Father was a check box, rule keeping kind of guy. He had kept all the rules but still didn't understand his Father. He's a tragic case and one we fall into all the time, not just accepting and being in the midst of our Fathers presence, instead of this we try to earn his love etc. When we know our Father we can't help but want to see other people see that love and come into the realisation of it - rather than begrudge them and think they don't deserve it until they do certain things.
we then mainly focused on Jesus and why the Father sent him to earth to be in our darkness and to ultimately die for us, and raise from the dead to set us free from the bondage of satan. We looked at the importance of understanding God in terms of the trinity and how everything flows from that relationship. The eternal purpose of the Father has always been to include us in the trinity, to adopt us as his children. Jesus did not come to this earth to reconcile God to man, he came to reconcile man to God. What that means is that he didn't come to convince God that we were ok, convince a God who doesn't really like us to let us into to heaven, NO; he came to convince us of the Fathers absolutely unending love for us and change our views of him to see him as he really is. That can only bring us to our knees in repentance, to turn around like the prodigal son and know the Father embraces and welcomes us with joy.

The third session was on suffering and were our Father is when it hurts. Ultimately we looked at the fact that God's will is not the only will that effects what goes on in the world and we explored a few scriptures which examine this fact. Our Father is with us in the midst of our pain, he can bring goodness out of it, it doesn't mean that he causes it. God has never needed to use evil to bring about good. The question is how do we respond to our sufferings when we know our Fathers heart for us and how can we let God work through us to minister to others as well as ourselves. Are we willing to let God love us and heal us?

Fourthly we looked at spending time with God and the importance of it. We looked at how Jesus used to spend time alone with his Father. We need to spend time with our Father to know who he is and to rest in his presence. When Jesus heard John the Baptist died he wanted to spend time alone, a few thousand people followed him, he felt compassion and fed them. However after this he still went and found a place on his own to spend time with his Father. I love how Jesus used to do that. He knew what his Father thought of him and he needed to be around the source of all goodness and truth to empower him in his ministry. we came up with some practical ways in how to spend time with God.

Lastly we talked about what worship is. Worship is a way of life and a reflection of what we think about Jesus. We spoke about the use of music in worship and how it can help us experience Jesus. Above all worship is about declaring who God is; he is good and holy and always worthy of our praise. It is not about how we feel but about God. We explored it and then we went into a time of worship where the young people got to lay at the feet of Jesus the things that he had spoken to them over the last couple of days. A time to praise him for who he is and what he has done and a time to allow him to minister to us. It was powerful.

I'm praying that the young people take away the truth of what God spoke to them and believe it and allow it to sink in. And above all that they will live their lives to bring glory to him and bring the love and light of Jesus to those around them. He is so much bigger and greater than we can ever imagine.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Miracles

My wife and I were talking over lunch today; I took the day off work to hang out with her. No one better to hang out with, good times.
The conversation turned to Jesus, as it tends to do quite a lot. We were wondering if my friends handbag that was stolen was returned amongst many other things. Praying for someones handbag to be returned can seem so inconsequential to us; but to Jesus it's not. Mind you, this handbag had a passport and a green card in it, so it was pretty valuable.
We've been seeking out who Jesus really is in our lives and wanting to experience so much more than a Jesus who is a ticket to heaven. Last week, we had a wonderful experience. We were due to fly out to Houston, Texas on a Friday for my dear friends wedding, however on Wednesday I get a text from Jane while I'm at work to tell me she has the chicken pox. Not cool. It was pretty bad, we prayed about it that night cause obviously we both really wanted her to go.
Thursday I went to work and when I came home the reality sunk in that Jane wouldn't be able to go to Texas cause she was covered in spots and looked pretty mingin! That evening we were praying and I was saying how I felt so bad for praying for healing of chicken pox when there are people out there who need healing from things that are far more serious than that. God reminded me though that he cares about Janes chicken pox and it's not his will that we get sick. We have been thinking so much lately about how most things done in church can be done whether God is there or not. Not that they aren't effective, but where is the actually reliance on God. The reliance on God to do something that we CANNOT do. So we were thinking about it for our lives so we asked God to show us a miracle. To take away the chicken pox overnight. We wanted to see the work of our Father the healer.
Friday morning we woke up and yep, the spots were gone. I was amazed. Jane felt a million times better and we were just astounded at God's power and that he cares about us that deeply.
We had an absolutely brilliant time in Texas.
The reason I'm writing about this is that I don't think it right to keep it to ourselves. Now there are so many factors going on as to why people are healed and not healed and another time, she or I might not get healed; but that is not due to the lack of power on God's part that is due to the complexity of a universe of free will and I'm not writing this to argue such points.
I just want to give testimony to what God did and want to thank him for it.

Monday, October 13, 2008

upside down kindgom

I listened to a Greg Boyd sermon this morning and it was so powerful. It's called "The Kingdom: it's really upside down". You should listen to it for yourself. Whether you agree with Boyd's theology or not, you can't fault with his passion for Jesus and his wanting to bring the kingdom and inspire people to bring the kingdom of God wherever they go.
The main premise of the talk was on Luke 14:1-11 and he spoke about reaching out to the poor and those in need. I will not do it an ounce of justice by writing about it here. Take a listen here. If you don't have the time to listen to all 50 minutes, make sure you listen to the last 20 minutes. I was crying like a baby in my car at 8am this morning driving to work. Jesus calls us to so much more that we give. Listening to a man weep about his kid who had no friends in school or about how his church, unbeknownst to them where unkind to a disabled girl and asking for forgiveness gives a huge picture into the heart of God.
It's a hard prayer to pray for a will that is inconvenienced by what God asks of me; but i want it. I want God to whip me out of my comfort zone so that along with my wife we can bring the kingdom to those in the margins.

Which is more scandalous?

Luke 7:36-50 speaks of Jesus having his feet washed by a whore in Simon Peters house. An incredibly intimate moment and a service that would have been characteristic of a duty a wife would perform for her husband. There is a huge lesson in how Jesus speaks to Simon Peter, criticising his inaction and attitude; but the question I ask is which is more scandalous, that Jesus would dare to affirmingly accept the woman? or that the woman would dare assert herself in such a way?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

2 must have albums in my world

So good to finally get some good music this year.




I'm loving the new Metallica album. Full of meaty riffs and cracking guitar solo's. A million times better than St. Anger. The only minor blip on the album is track 7 "The Unforgiven III", I'm not too keen on it; but the rest of the album is a breath of fresh air in the realm of good proper rock.




The fourth album from the Kings of Leon and they arguably get better. I'm loving this album. You can see some huge influences from U2 on he album, that doesn't bother me though. As Bono says "every poet is a thief". The only slight blip in the album is again track 7 "17", I'm not mad into it, but the rest is 10/10. I'm going to see them in december with my lovely wife and can't wait.

Monday, September 29, 2008

New Books

I love new books. I got a good few today which I'm looking forward to reading. I was introduced to Bill Johnson by my good friend Ferg. Jane (my lovely wife) is reading his "Face to Face with God" book which she is loving and I'm looking forward to reading to. I've also been listening to some of his podcasts and he comes across as a man with integrity who is so in love with Jesus and wants to see his kingdom come.








We've really enjoyed reading some Don Basham especially Deliver us From Evil. I bought his little handbook on Holy Spirit Baptism to see what he has to say about it. Should be interesting!



I've heard so much about smith wigglesworth, I figured it was time to buy a book to see what he has to say.




i read a Derek Prince book on worship recently which I loved and I've really enjoyed listening to some of his podcasts. He seems to be on the case with spiritual warfare so I bought this book to see what he has to say.



Lastly I got a book on The will of God and Decision Making. It's written from a Calvinist perspective and as I'm still trying to get to grips with the God of Calvinism which I find very contrary to the God I understand from scripture I though I'd read another book from their point of view.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Herecy hunters...

Sometimes I think we forget what Romans 2:4 says; God's kindness leads you toward repentance.
I had a chat with a guy on Friday night who was intent on putting down anything that appeared to be of the spirit and was outside his box of christianity. "The emerging church" he said, "is heresy". I asked him what the emerging church was, of course he couldn't answer. I asked him did he know any of the leaders names, he couldn't answer that either, I asked him had he ever prayed for anyone 'caught up' in the emerging movement, he couldn't answer that either. It was a difficult conversation! He did go on to say that they 'water down' the gospel. I asked him what that meant, he said they don't preach enough of the blood and cross of Jesus and the wrath and anger of God. I asked him what leads us to repentance. He said the blood of Jesus, I agreed but I said what aspect of God's character leads us to repentance. I told him what it says in Romans 2:4, that it's God's kindness that leads us to repentance. It's not a fear of hell that should lead us to him but a joy of heaven and knowing his father heart towards us.
Why are so many people intent on judging people and crying heresy at the first sign of something not fitting into their box of christianity? The conversation ended with him walking out of the house we were in in a storm when I told him I loved the Shack. This was another sign of end times heresy according to him.
I was so sad for him. He is so caught up in pride and religion that he can't see the Father heart of God and is intent on judging anything that makes him feel uncomfortable. Yes we need discernment, but we need to be very very careful in throwing stones.
When he was giving out about the seeker friendly gospel and as he said "social justice, what's that??" There needs to be a balance. Yes we need to know the depths of our sin and the power of the cross, BUT people need to know about the love of the God who has dealt with their sin and the kindness of a Saviour who would die for us. A God who has chased after us from the beginning of time, who is desperate for us to join in the relationship that is within the trinity. God loves us with the same love he loves his Son with (John 17:23). Amazing.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Jesus is their friend too!

Following this post, I was incredibly amused to see the video below posted on youtube. David Crowder Band* are a crackin band in my opinion and this adds to their awesomeness in my book. Apologies for the lack of quality but it's worth a look. That bass solo is kickin!

Did I Mention...



I'm LOVING Charlie Hall's new album. Buy it.


Scenes

Chill and cold and flakes of snow,ice and sleet, frost and cold
Each storm cloud and thunderbolt, lifts my mind to You
Every work and every power, every second of every hour
Fall of dew and sweet rain showers, lifts my mind to You
Summer wind, fire and heat, autumn leaves and blooms of spring
Ocean waves and mountain streams, lifts my mind to You

I see You in every scene, I bet You are thinking about me,
I have such a short memory so You keep reminding me of You



As I lay me down to sleep, as I walk on city streets
As I laugh with friends and feast, it lifts my mind to You
As my children play and run, in the news with wars and guns
In the church where songs are sung, it lifts my mind to You
Deep inside the beggar's eyes, as for sweet love I fight
On the radio at night, it lifts my mind on You

Painting pictures of your love, You lift my mind up,
reminding me of You, my heart comes alive

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Blessed be the name...

Who is the Almighty, that we should serve him?
What would we gain by praying to him?'
Job 21:15

Last night I was singing the Matt & Beth Redman song "Blessed Be Your Name" at our youth group. It's a great song of surrender and truth. Declaring that God's name is to be blessed and he is worthy of praise in the good times and the bad. At the end of the song is the couplet that says "You give and take away, my heart will choose to say Lord blessed be Your name".
I love to sing this line. I want to say to God that he can have his way in my life and I want to surrender to his will. However it frustrates me when the lines attributed to Job (Job 1:21) are taken as universal truth. That when every tragedy happens we are told "well, the Lord gives and the Lord takes away". When an expectant mother loses her baby, when a man looses his wife, when a whole family is wiped out by a hurricane, when a marriage falls apart - "the Lord gives and the Lord takes away".

What picture does this paint of God? I think people can tend to loose sight of the fact that Job later repents of this theology.
Job also says "Your hands shaped me and made me. Will you now turn and destroy me?" (Job "10:8)
and "I hold my head high, you stalk me like a lion
and again display your awesome power against me....
Are not my few days almost over?
Turn away from me so I can have a moment's joy
(Job 10:16,20)

Why are these same passages not quoted as theological truths as with Job 1:21? Job says in 10:20 that joy can be found when God is turned away from us, and in 10:16 that God stalks us like a lion. Is this true? Of course not. Why then is it assumed that everything that is taken away from us is at the hands of the sovereign Lord?

In Job 42:3 Job says "Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me to know."
and he repents saying in 42:6
"Therefore I despise myself
and repent in dust and ashes."
Job realised that his blueprint theory of God was wrong and he had judged him in error. I love how despite Job's error in his thinking about God, God still does not reject him. Job was raw and honest and even though his theology told him he should reject God, he didn't. He worshipped God because God is God. I love that about Job, he was angry and desperate before his God and still he worshiped him.
We have an enemy who prowls around like a lion. It is not God, it is the great Satan who is our enemy and out to get us and bring disaster and pain and suffering to us. In ALL this God can bring good out of such tragedies and he does for he is God and worthy of all our praise. He is a God who can genuinely be trusted that he is out for our good.

New Testament use of the Old Testament Quiz

Peter Kirk at his blog Gentle Wisdom
had this quiz that looked interesting. I figured I'd see where I stand. The book seems like it's another in the line of the "four view" series which I greatly enjoy. Although this one is 'three views'. My results are below. I don't trust the accuracy of these kind of quizes, especially when there's only 7 questions, however they're fun to check out.



NT Use of the OT -- Test Your View!
Single Meaning, Multiple Contexts and Referents view You seem to be most closely aligned with the Single Meaning, Multiple Contexts and Referents view, a view defended by Darrell L. Bock in the book “Three Views on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament” (edited by Kenneth Berding and Jonathan Lunde, Nov. 2008). This view affirms the singular nature of the meanings intended by the OT and NT authors when OT texts are cited in the NT. In spite of this essential unity in meaning, however, the words of the OT authors frequently take on new dimensions of significance and are found to apply appropriately to new referents and new situations as God’s purposes unfold in the larger canonical context. Often, these referents were not in the minds of the OT authors when they penned their texts. For more info, see the book, or attend a special session devoted to the topic at the ETS Annual Meeting in Providence, RI (Nov. 2008); Walter C. Kaiser Jr., Darrell L. Bock, and Peter Enns will all present their views.
Fun quizzes, surveys & blog quizzes by Quibblo


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Does Satan believe his own lies?

I wonder does Satan ever lie to himself that he's going to win in the end! I wonder does he fool himself that sin hasn't list it's power and death hasn't lost it's sting. Does he genuinely believe sometimes that he can overcome God or does he know that the death of Jesus was the seal of his defeat.
I ask because I know sometimes we can fool ourselves. When we lie to someone we somehow justify it in our minds and believe it was ok, even if for a minute. The girl/guy who struggles with an eating disorder believes that they are fat when they're not. The guy/girl who looks at porn thinks it's harmless and their partner wouldn't mind; deep down they know this isn't true.
Can this be the same for the great Satan?
Either way Satan has ultimately lost and his fate will be sealed shortly. In the meantime though we are to fix our eyes upon Jesus as he roams around tying to decieve us. He does a good job of it too.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

Musing...

The other night while trying to sleep I was thinking of my wife who was beside me and just looking at her. I wasn't thinking of specifics, I was just thinking of how incredibly blessed I am to have this amazing woman in my life and was marvelling at all her little mysteries that make her the angel that she is.
Obviously I couldn't help but thank Jesus for how much he has blessed me, and it got me thinking. I wonder does God ever just think about us. No plan, no reasoning, just thinking about us. I always imagine him as so busy and his mind is racing and when he thinks about me he's thinking about the plans he has for me or how he wished I'd been honest with him that day about what was on my mind, or that I'd just apologise to him instead of running away from him. But what if every now and then God just sits and thinks about me. He calls one of his angels over and he says "Have I told you about Ferg? He's a special one." and he muses upon me and loves that he's made me and dotes on me like a Father would. Then him and Jesus and the Spirit just talk about me for a while and laugh and share stories about me.

Sometimes you just need to know...

Psalm 18:19

He brought me out into a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me.


Zephaniah 3:17

The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing."

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ambiguity in worship

Today I was going through songs for worship tomorrow night. As I was flicking through my folder I came across "I could sing of your love forever" a staple worship song that has been sung in churches for well over 10 years and will continue to be sung for another 100 years no doubt. It's a great melody and a good song however I always forget just how ridiculous the bridge is.
"Oh I feel like dancing,
it's foolishness I know,
but when the world has seen the light,
they will dance with joy like we're dancing now"

When read, it's sounds like a good old cliche bridge in a upbeat worship song, however when sung it's nearly like a dirge. It's sung like the last thing one wants to do is dance. I hope the light doesn't have that effect on people! God bless Martin Smith but I definitely think that this is one time when it doesn't particularly make sense for him, or us!
Check out 2:46 in the video to understand what I'm talking about.

Love it...


I was right, well apart from Robbie Keane scoring BUT Liverpool won 2-1. So happy with the result, it's a big deal to beat united for the first time in the league in 4 years.

Come on the pool...


1 point from 24 against Man Utd is a shocking return. Liverpool play Man Utd today, Gerrard and Torres are fit, although I think they'll be on the bench. I reckon the team will be
Reina, Arbeloa, Aurelio, Carragher, Skrtel, Alonso, Mascherano, Riera, Benayoun, Keane, Kuyt.
I really hope he does play Riera our new signing. We could do with a good left sided player. Kuyt has been playing excellently; not many goals but he's a work horse. Anyways, I have a feeling that we just might do it today. Keane to score his first goal for his new club and Liverpool to score their first win against United in the league for 4 years.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Joseph

After deciding not to help out with the youth group my wife leads in; I felt that I should change my mind. The young lads are great and I figure it's a privilege for me to get the opportunity to show them what living for Jesus is about. To have some kind of impact in these lads lives is pretty huge. It makes a big difference from work too - working with teenagers who actually want to be around me!!!
Anyways the theme for the next few weeks is Joseph which is very cool. He's a great character to pick. However, as the church I go to is a reformed baptist church I fear that when we get to the end of the story that it'll be taught that God orchestrated everything that happened to Joseph for his own glory. For the story of Joseph when one is disassociated from it; it can make sense and sound great. The problem is, what if a teenager is there who is feeling suicidal, or a teenager is there who is being horribly bullied at school, or being abused at home are they to think that this is something sent from God to build their character? Are they to think that God is to be completely trusted, despite the fact that he leads them in to situations where they will be abused so he can get glory from it somehow?
The two verses that are usually used in the story of Joseph to bring this way of thinking about is Genesis 45:4-5
4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, "Come close to me." When they had done so, he said, "I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! 5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.

And Genesis 50:20

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

These two verses don't say that God decided to use his brothers evil intentions from the beginning of time; never mind creating his brothers evil intentions from the beginning of time or before the time that his brothers developed their own moral character. The verses do suggest that at some point God saw the opportunity to incorporate into his plan for his people to use the evil intentions of Josephs brothers. If Josephs brothers had chosen a different moral outlook God would have used a different way to bring them into Egypt; however God in his infinite wisdom chose to use the brothers freely chosen moral traits to fulfill his plan.
Scripture never says that God makes people evil, however it does say that he can use evil people to carry out his plans. His can use their dreadful intentions for good. God using evil for his own purpose is one thing, but to say that God ordains and predestines evil to occur to fulfill his sovereign plan creates huge moral dilemmas. God does NOT need to create evil to bring about good.
I may be surprised in what is taught over the next few Saturday nights; BUT even if I have problems with what may be taught, I respect the guys teaching it, I'm not there to rebel or cause trouble and I'm still privileged to have the chance to impact these guys lives.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Atheism...

Sarah Palin - 2 things...

2 things I can't quite get my head around this week.

The first one is the fact that Sarah Palin the VP candidate for the republican party is welcomed by conservative Christians who hold to a complementarian stance on women's roles. They have argued that the bible only talks about women submitting to men in the house and the church and they cannot lead men there. However I find it ridiculous to think that the teaching that does not allow women to lead in the home or the church can then allow a woman to lead a nation! what's with that?

The second thing is more of a minor thing but it still slightly intrigues me. Does anyone think that being a firm pro-lifer and being a member of the National Rifle Association is even 5% hypocritical? Being a pro-lifer which indeed I am is the belief that abortion is wrong; the killing of a baby in the womb is wrong. Being a member of the NRA is the belief in the right to bear arms. The right to own a gun, a gun which is there for protection in the home, which in turn could be willingly used to kill someone; even in self defence. Is there not some way that this is also a right to kill a person? even if they are guilty of entering your home etc etc, you are still wanting to be in a club that believes that this is right. Just because the constitution says you have a right to bear arms doesn't mean that morally you do. I'm not saying whether it's right or wrong, I'm just wondering is there a slight hypocrisy going on.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Angels

I've been hearing a lot about angels lately. As a christian I believe in angels. They are biblical and I've in fact seen some. Angels are ministering spirits that do the work of the Lord. There are also angels who do the work of Satan. There is a heavenly battle going on that we don't really know much about; although we do know who has won (that would be Jesus).
Anyways, the reason for my little post about angels is that it seems they are all the rage now. Angel stickers on cars, angel key rings, angel dolls, angel cards and now something I have recently heard about called angel therapy. A girl my wife works with has been into angels for a while and now I've discovered that a few people where i work are into them. One in fact is an angel card reader.
I find it extremely worrying that people are so taken with angels. It's seen as something harmless and something spiritual while not being religious. No responsibility, just nice little messages from your guardian angel. Aparently these angels are the angels of the bible and they do the work of the 'creator'. However they don't point to Jesus, they point to themselves as the helpers or oneself as the author of ones destiny.
As we are told in scripture that there is only one mediator between God and man, that man being Jesus Christ, the reason I find it worrying that people are turning to angels is that the angels they are looking to are not angels from God. I have no doubt that these people who 'communicate' with angels in fact do so, the problem is is that they are communicating with dark angels. Paul says Lucifer himself can disguise himself as a angel of light. These people do not realise that they are messing with something very sinister disguising itself as something beautiful. I read a great quote that says (forgive her slight misunderstanding that God is full of rules)
"For those who choke too easily on God and His rules, theologians observe, angels are the handy compromise, all fluff and meringue, kind, nonjudgmental. And they avail themselves to everyone, like aspirin," Nancy Gibbs.

I did a google search on the 'dangers of angel therapy' and 'a christian response to angel therapy' and so on and did not come up with any good information highlighting the dangers of this practice. If anyone knows of a place with good info please let me know. And if anyone has themselves noticed this trend I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A tough draw...



The Champions League Draw was made earlier today and I'm officially scared. I don't blog much about my love of football. Perhaps I should, perhaps most people would be bored by reading about it though.

Liverpool (the team I support) have a hard draw. PSV, Marseille and Athletico Madrid. Our current form hasn't been good, however I'm very optimistic purely because the last three games are games we should not have won, but we did. That has to be an encouragement as last year we would have only drawn them. Our spirit has been very good and I'm hoping it'll transform into some good play and consistency on the pitch. We will probably get through the group stages, but there will be the usual last minute goal or two at anfield to keep me on my toes!

Cheslea will definitely get through to the next stage. Arsenal could be a casualty; if I was a betting man I'd have money on them not progressing. Man United have it harder than they'll expect, Celtic might actually be quite pleased with their draw, although United will progress. The Champions League is a cracking competition and I'm looking forward to it starting. I don't know if I'll get to see many games, but I'll be following it very very closely. Here's the draw.

Group A
CHELSEA
Roma
Bordeaux
CFR Cluj

Group B
Inter Milan
Werder Bremen
Panathinaikos
Anorthosis Famagusta

Group C
Barcelona
Sporting Lisbon
Basel
Shakhtar Donetsk

Group D
LIVERPOOL
PSV Eindhoven
Marseille
Atletico Madrid

Group E
MAN UTD
Villarreal
Celtic
Aalborg

Group F
Lyon
Bayern Munich
Steaua Bucharest
Fiorentina

Group G
ARSENAL
Porto
Fenerbahce
Dynamo Kiev

Group H
Real Madrid
Juventus
Zenit St Petersburg
Bate Borisov

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

New music...

At last, some new music has come in to my hands.

My favourite worship leader Charlie Hall, has just released a new album called 'The Bright Sadness'. I just got it this evening and as with all new music, one can't just throw it on the stereo to listen to it. For this one I need to wait till I'm in my car driving to work in the morning to give it a full attentive listen. There is something so raw, honest and passionate about Jesus loving Mr. Hall that makes me want to write songs like him. He is a genuine inspiration. I'll write a little review when I get to digest the album.

The second album I got was a live cd/dvd of David Crowder Band's latest tour. No doubt it'll be a great cd. Sometimes it's hard to tell whether you're just listening to a great song when you see him live or whether it's a worship moment. I guess that's up to the individual to decide. One very very cool thing on the dvd is that the band show you how to play the songs.

The third cd I got is the new Hillsong cd 'This is our God'. I usually go for the Hillsong United cd's, but this one looks like a good one. No idea why I think it does, but it does. I'm looking forward to listening to it, especially as some of the United stuff is incredibly anointed.

The last cd I got is P.O.D's latest album 'When Angels and Serpents Dance'. I gave it a listen today and really enjoyed it. More melodic than their other stuff which may mean it'll lend itself to my wifes ears!

Oh and did I mention that anyone reading who doesn't have any Charlie Hall needs to go out and buy his records.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Metallica - Marley Park, Dublin August 20th 2008




At last I got to see Metallica. I turned up at Marley Park with no ticket a frustrating long hour and a half searching for someone with a spare one followed. I made 'friends' with some dude who was about 55. My new friend turned out to be a policeman who got me in for free!! It pays to be nice.

Tenacious D supported them and they were very entertaining, although I was mildly disturbed by their continued comical references to Satan. Most of their songs aren't particularly good, but they're funny blokes.

Metallica came on at about 9 and played for a solid two hours. They played a cracking setlist. Very old school. They didn't play anything from my favourite album 'Load', and they played just one from 'reload', the memory remains which wouldn't have been the one I'd have picked from that album. But anyways, highlights for me were starting with Creeping Death, or how James Hetfield would say it "Careeeepingg Deeeaaathhh-A'. What a way to start the show. 'For whom the bell tollz' next, i LOVE that song, great cliche crowd participation. Ride the Lightning was the business, some dude beside me nearly lost his life (pardon the pun) when they started to play it. Sanitarium, from the first harmonic note; it made me want to beat the head of someone. Obviously in a christian way! Cyanide is a new song, a good one too. Great bass line. I did think Frantic from St. Anger was a good song, it is but the rest of the album bar one other song is rubbish. Fade to black - what a tune. 'Are you ready my friends?' James hetfield is like a parody of himself; he should be in spinal tap. 'Metallifans, we have a big Metallica family in Dublin - we love you!'. Master, Master, where's those dreams that I've been after - i LOVED that song. Fist pumping galore!! Good to see them whip out whiskey in the jar for us Irish folk. Great cover of the Thin Lizzy classic. Nothing Else Matters amused me, because all these big giant hairy blokes around me screaming their heads off when they heard the first notes being played of a ballad! Sad But True, One and Enter Sandman all in a row is enough to give a man a heart attack. I won't mention Last Caress or So What cause I'm not a fan of those songs. Seek Destroy was a good cliche way to finish.
All in all I LOVED the show and would definitely see them again.


Creeping Death
For Whom The Bell Tolls
Ride The Lightning
The Memory Remains
Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
Cyanide
…And Justice For All
The Four Horsemen
Fade To Black
Master Of Puppets
Whiskey In The Jar
Nothing Else Matters
Sad But True
One
Enter Sandman
------------------------
Last Caress
So What
Seek And Destroy

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I'm back...

it’s been a while. I’ve been away for two weeks in Germany at Teenstreet. I came home and was straight back in to work to a difficult week. I wish I had more time to blog but my wife comes first in my free time. Hopefully I’ll find more time to get back in to my habit that I hope is a good one of a few posts a week.
Here’s a few things I have learned or been reminded of over the past couple of weeks

God is WAY bigger than we think
Jesus is always wanting to speak truth to us
The Holy Spirit is powerful and sometimes unexplainable
My wife is a little prophetess
God ALWAYS wants to speak through us
I’m amazed at the lengths God has gone to to get our attention and constantly remind us of how in love with us he is
We were made to worship something. I pray that it is always God
People have been hearing the wrong view of God for way too long
Demons are real, and God wants to use us to cast them out in Jesus name
There is no condemnation or shame in Jesus
German food is not cool
Ryanair are also not cool
Irish weather is cool, but in a bad way
God can use anyone to accomplish what he wants
Never underestimate people because of their age (old or young)
There is something very powerful about a close community of people praying and worshipping together
Never expect God to do the same thing twice – faith faith faith and knowing and believing his words of truth
Satan LOVES to lie, steal and rob us of our freedom in Christ

I’ll be back with more thoughts on how the olympic counsel should have a test for robotic insides. I have my suspicions about Mr. Phelps!

Peace and blessings my friends,
Ferg

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Fight or Flight or...

This week has been really difficult in work. As deputy manager I have had to deal with a lot of conflict. As I have mentioned previously I work in a residential care home for young people. Apart from the young people being difficult, we had a few members of staff make some pretty bad decisions which had to be confronted by myself.
I won't go in to any details of the actual conflict but something I observed I found interesting. When conflict arises or people feel in danger it has always been said that our physiological response is either 'fight' or 'flight'. I saw this in action this week, something else I've seen in action is 'playing dead'. One staff member was very good at this. She didn't argue, she didn't run away, she sat in the room and tried to be ignored. Like when you were a kid and you knew it was time for bed you'd try to make yourself invisible in the room so you could stay up later.
It made for some interesting psychology watching people react to the situation. Next time you're in a difficult situation don't just think you can fight or run, you can also play dead. Especially if it's a wild animal that is faster and stronger than you!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

A Response to Todd Bentley...

I haven't commented on Todd Bentley and the revival in Florida. The heresy hunters and the skeptics and cynics have had plenty to say about what is going on in Florida. I read a response to an e-mail that Bill Johnson received. The e-mail said...
"How in God's name can you endorse Todd Bentley?"


Bill Johnson responded by saying...

“Have you spent time with Todd?
Do you know him?
Have you watched him with his wife?
Have you seen how he treats his kids?
Have you spent any time with his staff?
Have you been to his ministry?
Has he been to yours?
Have you laid hands on him and prayed?
Has he laid hands on you and prayed?
Have you grieved over tragedy together?
Have you celebrated victory together?
Has he sought your counsel and has he travelled great distance just to meet with you privately for advice?
Have you ever recieved his counsel?
Have you ever been in the room when God shows up on him, used him in stunning miracles?
Have you seen him operate in word of knowledge and the prophetic?
Have you met with his council of elders?
Have you personally benefited from his gift?
Has he benefited from your gift and ministry?
Has he ever honoured you for who you are in God?
Has he partnered with you as a friend?
Have you sacrificed for his welfare, for that of his family?
Have you sought God with him?
Have you ever worshipped the Lord with him?
I didn't think so. I have. And I'll continue to support those who I have walked with in life and ministry. He's my friend. More importantly, God calls him friend. And if you and I were ever friends in that level, and people hated you and turned against you, and started web pages to tear down your ministry, and criticized you to your friends, and wrote against you in Christian magazines, and criticized you on the radio and wrote emails to other conference speakers and authors, I'd still be your friend.

By the way - criticism in the form of a question is not a question. But to respond to your statement, "How in God's name can you endorse Todd Bentley?" It's easy. I do it in God's name.

Bill


Whatever you think of Todd Bentley, pray for him, that Jesus would work through him.

Honey & Frankincense

Honey is sweet and pleasant smelling. Frankincense is a resin; a yellow unattractive lump.

Honey is not acceptable as a burnt offering to the Lord

you are not to burn...honey in an offering made to the LORD by fire.
Leviticus 2:11


Frankincense is however.


And thou shalt put pure frankincense upon each row, that it may be on the bread for a memorial, even an offering made by fire unto the LORD.
Leviticus 24:7


This is a reminder to me of how I approach the Almighty God in worship. If I come like honey, sweet talking God and trying to look pretty and acceptable; I will become like honey on his fire. A sticky black mess.
If I come like frankincense, knowing I am in and of myself unworthy and unattractive and neutral smelling without his fire; I will become a beautiful fragrance as a result of HIS fire. His refining fire.
We need to be ourselves when we come to him.

Verse of the day...

2 Kings 2:23-24

23 From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some youths came out of the town and jeered at him. "Go on up, you baldhead!" they said. "Go on up, you baldhead!" 24 He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the LORD. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths.


Next time anyone mocks my friend Hoey for being bald and we just happen to be near some the woods - I'll tell him what to do!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Flight of the Conchords...

If you don't know them, check them out. Highly entertaining. I can't decide which is my favourite song.

This one...




Or this one...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Ted Bundy & porn...

Those who know me well, know that I have a 'slight' interest in serial killers and all things psychologically deviant. It fascinates me. Perhaps it's as a result of my studying abnormal psychology, or perhaps it led me to study it. chicken and egg i suppose.
Anyways, myself and my wife were watching a program on Ted Bundy last night and it reminded me of an interview he did with James Dobson the night before he was killed via electric chair. In it he states
"You are going to kill me, and that will protect society from me. But out there are many, many more people who are addicted to pornography, and you are doing nothing about that."

Bundy claimed that pornography had played a huge part in his becoming who he was. He stated that, while pornography did not cause him to commit murder, the consumption of violent pornography helped "shape and mold" his violence into "behavior too terrible to describe." He alleged that he felt that violence in the media, "particularly sexualized violence," sent boys "down the road to being Ted Bundys".
Perhaps I should send in those comments to newstalk following my discussion with them about pornography! I know they there were many more compounding factors for Bundy's deviance, however it is frightening how society so readily accepts porn as 'normal'.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Father...


Was listening to the radio today, I don't think I need to say what station, and a Catholic priest was on with a humanist and they were debating certain issues relating to funeral services. The topic itself was interesting, but what was more interesting was the humanist calling the priest 'Father'. Here's a guy who doesn't believe in God (he said he didn't) and he was calling the priest 'Father'.
This is something I really don't understand. In some ways I can understand how the humanist just calls the priest 'Father' because that's what Irish people do. We've been taught from a very early age that priests are called 'Father'. This is not always taught directly, but it is always implicit.
The main thing I don't get is how the Catholic Church can stand over this. Matthews 23:9 says
And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven.

This seems pretty clear to me what Jesus means. The context has nothing to do with family relations so it's not a concern that we are not to call our biological fathers, father. It is a warning not to pride ourselves with titles.

Catholic scholars point to 1 Corinthians 4:15 to justify why they call priests father.
Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.

Paul is not telling them to call him father, he was just reminding them of the special relationship he had with them as he had introduced them to the gospel. He was emphasising his love and concern for them, it was a not a proud notion of regard.
I wonder do Catholic apologists forget that Paul says "you do not have many fathers" in the very verse that they use to justify calling EVERY priest father. I think that adds up to many fathers.
I don't mean to offend but I will not be calling a priest I come in contact with Father. At this moment I also think that the 'Protestant' term reverend is not particularly appropriate either as there is only one who is to be revered. Perhaps Sir will do for these generally well meaning men of the cloth!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Listen to Newstalk!!!

Today I got two phone calls from Newstalk radio station.
The first one was from the Moncrief show telling me they were putting together a book for charity that was including some of the more amusing text messages sent in to the show. The guy told me mine was one of them and asked me if they could use it. I was pretty chuffed and obviously said they could.
The second call was from Lunchtime with Eamon Keane asking me when I would like to use the voucher I won for muppet of the week where I suggested Prince (I wrote about it here). I told him I figured vouchers would come in the post and I would just bring them with me to the restaurant. He told me that actually I had won a nights accommodation in the Beacon Hotel as well as a champagne meal for two in the Tonic Bar in Blackrock.
They were two phone calls that made me pretty happy!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Deliver Us From Evil



I'm currently reading a book by Don Basham called Deliver Us From Evil. So far it's brilliant. My wife read it, loved it, and recommended it to me. It's a very easy read on a very difficult topic. It's the story of a pastors reluctant encounters with the powers of darkness. Basham, like most christians did not believe in demon possession. He believed it was something that didn't occur these days and I like how it seems that the Lord led him to the discovery that there is so much more going on behind some peoples infirmities than we can see. It seems like there is a lot of ignorance in relation to this issue and one that I think we as Christians need to have an awareness of. There is definitely power in the name of Jesus. I might give a synopsis and my own opinion of the matter when I finish the book. I've had some interesting experiences myself!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

It cannot be denied...

That YOU love this video. That's right, you may deny it to all around you and say foreigner bite, but you know it isn't true and this song makes you tighten your fist, pull it close to your heart and say 'yes, I wanna know what love is!!'. That key change at 1:10 is nearly too much! Enjoy (and don't be ashamed!!)...

Friday, July 11, 2008

A heart like David or Michal?

I’ve been wondering, praying and reading about differing aspects of worship. What worship is, how we can do it and why we do it. I have heard a lot recently about what worship isn’t; it isn’t a time were we enter into the presence of God, it isn’t a time where we hear from God, it isn’t a time of spiritual warfare and it isn’t a time were we are to be particularly expressive as we may distract people!
In some ways it’s been really good to hear these things as it has made me really seek God as to what the role of worship is, individually and more important corporately.
I will explore more about the hows and whys of worship and it’s role in posts to come but in this one I want to talk about a woman called Michal and a man called David.
We don’t know much about the woman Michal, except that she was the daughter of King Saul and fell in love with David who became King after Saul. Michal loved David and even at one point helped him escape the wrath of her father. She became his wife.
We know plenty about David in the scriptures, above all he was a man after God’s own heart and was a worshipper. When the ark of the covenant was being brought into his city, he praised and worshipped the Lord. It says he "danced before the LORD with all his might".
Michal was disgusted. It says “she despised him in her heart”.
Why was this? Why was she so affronted by his leaping and dancing?
I think Michal was a little princess in a metaphorical sense as well as the reality of her postion as Sauls daughter. She also used her head too much. She was probably affronted at Davids lack of dignity. He was King of Israel and should act like it. She felt like a fool watching her husband act like one. David’s response in 2 Samuel 6:21-22 is so wonderful.

21 David said to Michal, "It was before the LORD, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the LORD's people Israel—I will celebrate before the LORD. 22 I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor."

David nails her. Reminding her that her father and his “dignified” royal family were given the boot by God. What right does the daughter of an overthrown king have in telling the CHOSEN king how to act before his Lord? David was not afraid to delight in his Lord and the fact that he was favoured by God. `
I think so often we can become like Michal, concerned with how things appear rather than focusing on what God truly wants us to experience. Why are so many believers restrained and inhibited in their worship of King Jesus. It seems like a lot of people who focus on knowledge and the learning of God have forsaken the EXPERIENCE of God.
Are we willing to become undignified before the Lord? I so want to have a heart like this, a heart that doesn’t care what people think. One that isn’t ashamed of Jesus. A faith that will stand up to the Goliaths around me and give praise and adoration to the God who saves me from my enemies. A man who raises his hands, dances and sings praise to my Lord even when those around me don’t feel the freedom. God is worthy of all we have and sometimes it’s good to show others that.