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.

Counting Crows Ambassador, Dublin. July 10th 2008



Went to see Counting Crows last night. A solid gig. Better than expected and much better than the last time I saw them. 23 songs is a great number by their standards, it used to be about 16. Less talk, more songs as Mr. Duritz said himself last night. A pretty varied setlist with at least 2 songs from each album represented. The sound wasn't the best and it was also pretty frustrating that the singer constantly varies the melody. People want to sing along, so make it easy for them please! There is a tangible sadness all over that man which comes through so evidently in his songs. Sometimes you want to slap him and tell him to chill out and get over it, and other times you want to sit him down; I wouldn't hug him cause he sweats like your mother, but I'd love to tell him that things don't have to be like that. There's a man called Jesus who wants to fix you if you'll let him. 20 times and probably counting (no pun intended) and I STILL haven't seen time & time again live. I've seen every song from every album (except some from the new one) EXCEPT one my my very favourites Millers Angels and Time & Time Again, maybe some day!! Here's the setlist...

When I Dream of Michaelangelo
Up All Night
Hangin Tree
Mr. Jones
Black And Blue
Cowboys
Good Time
High Life
Catapult
Sundays
Insignificant
Colorblind
Washington Square
Children In Bloom
Round Here
Goodnight L.A.
Come Around
Big Yellow Taxi
A Long December
Hanginaround
---------------
On A Tuesday In Amsterdam Long Ago
Hard Candy
Holiday In Spain

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Delirious? The End of an Era


"Rock n Roll is everything,
everything to a lonely man,
and never will i bow to you"









"Save me from the kingdom of comfort where I am King, from my unhealthy lust of material things"

Fitting that these are the first words from the last Delirious? Album. They just announced on Sunday that they are going to cease at the end of next year. Truly an end of an era. Delirious, most notably Martin Smith and to a lesser extent Stu G have been the forerunners in worship music over the last 15 or so years. Martin Smith is a man who is so obviously in love with Jesus that it flows through his songs like new wine.
"so many songs I've sung, but there's none more beautiful than You".

They have decided to call it quits as Martin asked to leave so he could spend more time with his family and also to pursue his charity work. A hero, and a true example of what it is to serve Jesus. I'm sure it was the hardest decision to make; giving up rockin it out to thousands of people and doing something which I'm sure he adores. This move he is making truly does make him a History Maker.

"So hold me today, as I carry your cross,
Into the desert to find who is lost.
Look at my hands, they're still full of faith,
God keep them clean till we finish the race"

Prince Caspian

“ ‘Do you mean that is what you want me to do?’ gasped Lucy.
‘Yes, little one,’ said Aslan.
‘Will the others see you too?’ asked Lucy.
‘Certainly not at first,’ said Aslan. ‘Later on, it depends.’
‘But they won’t believe me!’ said Lucy.
‘It doesn’t matter,’ said Aslan.”

We went to see Prince Caspain last night (a record two trips to the cinema this year!) and LOVED it. A great movie. A few differences from the book, but I guess that's to be expected. Edmund is a much more likeable character in this movie than the last which is in keeping with the book. He has a sense of honour. Peter was pretty annoying in the film and he appears as a petulant boy which is quite unlike the book where as soon as he took his old sword he had the presence of the High King of Narnia. Susan was in a lot of the fight scenes which she wasn't in the book. She's pretty good in the move, I always look at Susan with a hint of sadness though because of what lies ahead in the Last Battle. Lucy is awesome. She's a much better actress than the first movie and her child like faith in Aslan is wonderful. Perhaps it's my perception but Aslan just commands emotion!! You can see in the eyes of the children that he exposes the depths of their hearts while at the same time looking at them with intense love. And he fights for them and the people of Narnia. He's not a tame lion, but he's good!


“To know that would have happened, child? No. Nobody is ever told that. But anyone can find out what will happen. If you go back to the others now, and wake them up; and tell that you have seen me again; and that you must all get up at once and follow me—what will happen? There is only one way of finding out.” –Aslan

Monday, July 7, 2008

Wimbledon 2008


I have to mention Nadals win yesterday at Wimbledon. As far as finals go, it is one that will definitely rank up there as one of the best. 4hours 48 minutes. Nadal up 2 sets, Federer to come back to 2-2 and then Nadal to win 9-7. Some feel sorry for Federer, I don't. Nadal won and the I think the baton has been passed...

Saturday, July 5, 2008

PORN!!!!

So yesterday morning I was sitting in work at about 9:30 and turned the radio on and quickly tuned to newstalk. Brenda Power was on, and her show is called 'Your Call' were topics are brought up and people ring in and discuss. It's generally quite intelligent discussion and pretty interesting topics. When I turned it on they were talking about porn. I listened to about 5 different people talk about how great porn is and how it is benificial for relationship etc...I was infuritated so I sent a text to the show to tell them I thought quite the opposite. My phone rang quickly afterwards and it was 'Kate from Newstalk'. She asked me would I be willing to go on the air to give my point across. No problemo! The producer rang about 5 mins later and tells me to wait for Brenda to invite me on, I wait and hear the show going on in the background. A guy called Martin is talking about how porn is great and teaches him and his wife 'awesome positions' and anyone who thinks porn is bad is stuck in the 50's.
Fergus you're on the comment line whats your view of porn.....'gulp'. I told her I thought it was incredibly naive of us to think that porn is harmless and has no effects on people. She asked what the negative effects are. I told her I think it objectifies women and causes men to lust after them in their mind and take ownership of them which they have no right to do. It can be detremental to relationships. The other guy Martin says he and his partner love watching porn together. I asked him is he really telling me that he is completely fine with his partner lusting about another man and that it doesn't make him at all insecure? He said 'sure everyone does it, it's normal'. Brenda then agreed and said 'yes Fergus, it is a normal thing to do, to watch porn'. I told her that this is the very thing that is wrong with society. Just because people do something regularly does NOT make it normal or acceptable or good for society. Ask Martin how he thinks his partner feels when he lusts after another woman and turns them into a masturbatory object. She did, and he agreed that the premise for porn is masturbation and he pretty much shut up. She then asked me what do i do when an attractive woman walks down the street, do I look at her or do I look away. I told her, that of course I can acknowledge when someone is attractive, BUT I do try to train myself to look away. my eyes are for my wife NOT to for someone else. I told her it's a slippery slope from second glancing an attractive woman who walks past to then imagining her with her clothes off and so on. And I want to keep my mind pure for my wife and don't want images of anyone else there.
She then asked me about romantic novels and women reading them and engaging in the romance of them. Again I told her it's what it leads to. I would hate to think that my wife would read a novel and sit there doing either one of, or both of two things. Wishing I was more like the guy in the novel or fantasising about the romance involved. I'm sure there are plenty of things my wife would like me to change but again our problem in society is that we internalise everything and fantasise about how we wished things could be, instead of communicating with our partners and trying to build and work at our relationships.
She read out a few texts saying how old fashioned I was, and calling me a liar and so on. Pretty much no one agreed with me. Still it was cool to be able to get my point across. She kept me on for about 15 minutes until it was time for the news. Hopefully Jesus will use the words I spoke to bring people out of bondage, or to at least wake them up to the dangers of porn and the effects it can have on them and their relationships.

Friday, July 4, 2008

The Role of Women

I’ve been thinking so much about the subject of women in ministry lately. A lot of discussion has been going on at denny burks blog between complimentarians and egalitarians. It’s very hard for me to learn there as most people don’t come to learn, they come to enforce their opinions on others which is so difficult to read. I unfortunately have found that the egalitarians among them are much more gracious and personal in their talking than the comps.
Anyways, I’m really trying to figure out just what complimentarians believe. I know they believe that women can’t teach, but where is the line? There seem to be huge inconsistencies within the church. Churches often preach, teach, and quote Scripture that says women should be silent in church (1 Corinthians 14:34) and not be allowed to teach (1 Timothy 2:12). Yet, the very same church will affirm a woman’s right to teach Bible studies, Sunday school, children’s classes, speak on mission trips, seminars, and also lead the music. I don’t understand this.
If women can’t teach in your theology, so be it. But at least be consistent with it. Or tell me why a woman cannot teach a man who is 19 in a congregation, but can teach a 17 year old in Sunday school, when for Paul, men where from the age of 13 and up. And why can the very same woman who is not allowed to teach men in her home church can go on a missions trip and teach men in a foreign country. I’d love to be enlightened. I do want to follow up this post with a biblical explanation for why I believe women can teach and minister in the church. But for know my point is that women should be taken care of, strengthened, built up and their gifts used for the glory of Christ.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Children's Court...

Today, I spent the morning in the Children's Court in Dublin as one of the young people in our care was up on some charges. It is not a nice place. Most of the young people I saw where trying so hard to play up that they were as tough as nails, but beneath their eyes were very hurting, confused and sad children.
A third of the young people who present themselves to the childrens court, do not live with either parent. And at most 20% of them are currently in education. There is something seriously amiss with our society that this is the case. I have no idea on how to break this kind of cycle but it is heartbreaking to spend time in the courts to see what kind of kids are there.
The girl in our care is desperately trying to tell us she needs help, however she refuses any help we give her. The bail conditions imposed are completely attainable, but it is a huge probability that she will break them; purely because she wants to reject us before we reject her (as she will see it). I'm praying that somehow the cycle in her life can be broken and she can experience some sort of freedom.