Sunday, 29 April 2012

Mission possible or getting the balance right.

Sat looking out over our back garden, the rain today is lashing down, and has been all morning so far. Our garden is a mess, over grown, and it seems like it will be a thankless task to get it done and sorted. But we have Mission Possible on the horizon, next weekend various friends are coming over to lend a hand, eat some food, drink some beer, and more importantly help with the garden clear up. It is for me a God send as i cannot stand gardening, our friends will help out, and in return be fed and watered, it's a good deal for all concerned. It's a mission that will be accomplished.

This month our group of churches are running podcasts on the book of Acts, and some of us have recorded a 3 minute study on the subject, mine is on Acts 5 and deals with a harsh reality, that as people we do not want to deal with, but as Christians we run hiding from it, try and justify what it means, and how we can make it more palatable for a world that is looking for answers. Getting the balance right between showing God in all his power and glory, is an art that at time i sadly do not possess. Tending to lean one way or the other, it's not a crime, but it does do God a disservice of sorts.

We all want to look at the God of love in the Bible, we all like the gentle Jesus meek and mild, and the Jesus who wants us for a sunbeam (so wrong on so many levels). But what do we do when we are confronted with a God who actually is going to call us to account for our actions? We can run and hide, we can deny god as judge, which far to many Christians do. God is a God of balance, the universe, life, it's all a balancing act. If we accept Gods grace we automatically accept his judgement on the issue in hand, we are saying "okay God i want you to forgive me, because i know i have done wrong", then God in his grace forgives us, but to forgive us he passes judgement on the matter.

Acts 5 tells the story of Ananias and Sapphira husband and wife and very well to do. The church had just been born and people were flocking to join it's numbers. Then hubby and wife tell lies to the disciples, they hold back what they had no reason to lie about (money) and are struck down dead. It's harsh it's brutal and judgement is passed automatically ( read it, its only about 14 verses long). We try and worm our way out of this story by making all kinds of reasoning behind it, we try and take the onus from God for his actions, and try and sugar coat the pill. The fact is God is in the business of judgement as much as he is in the business of grace.
It is a balance, if we deny some of the actions God takes to make them sweeter, we detract and take away an element of his power. If we labour too long on death and destruction we take away his grace. Balance is key, balance is what makes it work. Our friends will help us do the garden this weekend, and it's also Pam's birthday, balance. The Garden gets done, our friends come over to help and to celebrate her birthday. Think on this Mission impossible, is actually mission possible if we get the balance right. In areas of our life wether we are Christians or not, balance work , rest and play are what is needed.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Potholes and Manholes

Being on a motorcycle is a great thrill, it requires skill, determination, experience and a certain amount of luck. Your concentration levels need to be high and the determination of some car drivers to be blind to your presence on the road is a pain. But onto the title, potholes and Manholes. When our road system was designed, I'm sure the designers thought to themselves lets make it purposely difficult for those people who insist on being on 2 wheels. You rarely notice the Manhole in a car, but on a bike every single one is always in your riding line especially on corners and roundabouts. When wet they are lethal, and require skill to navigate them. Potholes are much the same hit one wrong and you can say hello to the tarmac, and watch your bike slide up the road. This has been done by myself on numerous trips sideways up the road and has resulted in broken bones and A&E visits.

So why do i carry on?, simple really it's in my blood i come from a long line of bike riders and it's something i enjoy with all my soul. Being a Christian is like riding a motorcycle, it requires skill, determination, and the steady hand of God. Experience because we learn how God operates, what he expects, his ways etc. Determination because sometimes when things go wrong we wonder "why God why?" and need to rethink certain things we believe, certain ways of doing things. Also when we have been on the road for a while, we can get lazy with God, we take our eye of the prize and drop the ball or fall in someway. In the same way that on a bike you need to be 100% commited to what you are doing and the line you are taking. The same thing applies to God we need to stay focused on him, on what we know of him, what we understand of him. At the bottom of our road is a mini roundabout, when i turn right at said roundabout, there is a man hole cover right in my line of riding, followed very closely by a pothole the size of a moon crater (well thats how it appears to me). Even though i know it's there i keep alert and treat it with respect, because i know one false move and i'm kissing tarmac. If we stay concentrated on God, keep our eyes on him, stay alert. We will not spend our time kissing dirt or in A&E, but have a long fulfilling relationship with him. We will have trials and problems, but they will never be more than we can handle. Even if at the time they seem insurmountable, they are all overcomable in God

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Life is a Rollercoaster

Fear not dear reader, i have not been listening to Ronan Keating songs. But this week has been a hell of a ride. Passport problems, people messing about with Pam's bike and mine. It's been interesting to say the least. My anger at times this week has been immense, when people mess with things i care about, and if your'e  a biker you understand this. Mess about with my pride and joy, pouring oil over the tyres etc, you have no understanding of the level of contempt i have for the idiot who is doing this.

Then i have had problems due to past illegalities, with getting my Passport sorted out, so this weekend i am meant to be in Germany with my Brothers from the club, but will be at home in England, what goes around comes around. So all in all i have had the week from Hades and am still in it to a certain degree.

But what have i learnt, in truth probably very little what so ever, but i have seen people help and support me, through all of this and have made me smile and laugh, so for that i'm very thankful.

This brings me to the spiritual dimension, over this week i have had a few debates with other Christians where i have been called names, and branded in one case demon possessed, because i dared to say that being a Christian did not exempt me from lives difficulties. The so called prosperity gospel is a twisting of the bible to make people feel good if they are receiving. If they are not God has let them down, God has forsaken them. None of which is Biblical, in fact it's a very dangerous idea, that if you are not rolling in blessing then, you are some how in sin. This is wrong WRONG WRONG on every level. If you do not have the valley's then you never learn how to appreciate the mountain tops, you never learn what is important, and what is temporal.

My friends mean the world to me, they make my life what it is. Wether they are believers or not, they all make the tapestry of my life what it is. If i go through valley's, if i stumble and fall, they help me out, they rally around me and pick me up. Being a Christian for me is not about being perfect, because i will never be perfect. It's a path i'm on, i'm aiming to perfection, I'm aiming to be the best i can be. Yes i will screw up, yes i will let people down. But those that matter, know my heart, they know me. They know Andy can be a pain in the butt. More importantly my God knows, he knows everything about me, good, bad, indifferent, and the darn right nasty, because i can be at times. My walk, my pilgrimage is based on honesty, between God and me, and to be honest thats all that matters. Yes it's good to be liked, it's good to be loved. But it's more important to Love, to show love and to say hey i'm here for you.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Where the rubber meets the road.

There is a Meatloaf song called "where the rubber meets the road" from the Welcome to the neighbour hood Album. Today for various reasons i have been pondering the whole concept of the rubber of my faith hitting the road of life.

Life can sometimes be trying, it can be a chore and one heck of a struggle. But through it all, we survive, we strive and we get it right (eventually). Our friendships help shape us and our thought patterns, and enable us to grow and more importantly help. Today i appear to have achieved very little, on the surface it seems very shallow and inconsequential. In truth it has helped a number of people out, and enabled them to see things differently. So what do we do when God ask's us to hit the road. Do we slam the brakes on, because it makes us uncomfortable?. Do we not even bother starting the wheels in motion, handbrake, on keys in our pockets, and God surely you would never ask me to......... Fill in your own blanks.

Our faith requires us to start, to put it into gear, to drive. We have a responsibility to let the rubber of our faith hit the road of life. It maybe uncomfortable, it may make us wonder at times. But it's a ride we are on, a wise man told me once "buckle up" our God is in the business of moving. We move with him or stagnate. Lets make an effort to let the rubber hit the road, sand check out the Meatloaf song.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

One of those days

Ever had one of those days when it was just manic?, well today has been one of those. If it could go wrong it did, if it could have gone right it didn't. The hair i have if i could have been bothered would have been pulled out. Then to round off the day i'm pondering what, why and who cares.

As a Christian i sometimes fall into the trap that everything should be a rose garden, even though God never promised me that in any shape or form. If i'm honest i wondered at times today where was God in all of this, and it's been a struggle. Was he moving away from me, was he not listening?, or was it more to the point that i was letting the situation get to me. The answer was i let it get to me, God never moved the goal today i just lost sight of it. Circumstances do affect us and at times they over whelm us, but how we deal with them is what matters. I'm blessed to have some phenomenal friends, who care for me and help me out. Sometimes that help comes from the most unlikely place, as it did tonight.

So what am i saying amongst all this inane rambling, it's something i have said from the pulpit time and again, Look up, rise above the problem and look at it through different eyes. Yes it hurts, yes it can be a pain. But if we look from a different angle, the problem is never as bad as it seems. God is never going to push you beyond what you can take, it's really that simple.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Are you a good Methodist

A short time ago, i was asked if i was or felt i was a good Methodist. This came after a Sunday morning worship setting. The question did not confuse me but got me thinking, what is a good Methodist, and after pondering the question i have no reply. But i changed the question in my mind to, what is a good Christian, what makes you a good Christian. In my life i have been privileged to know people who for me represent the Kingdom of God, and how it is played out. Now this will embarrass those people but i will name them, because they have influenced my life for the greater good. If you are not named, it's not that you do not matter it's that you have not known me long enough. We can all name the big names who have influenced us, and for me that person is A.W. Tozer, a man i never met. But what of those people who make my christian life a joyride with all of it's up's and downs. These people have influenced me one way or another, and I'm going to publicly say so. Anna Williams is the person who had the tenacity to try and get me back into fellowship and succeeded. The Noronha clan  is another who through their grace, enables and teaches me great things for the kingdom. Mark Gilborson is a man i admire and respect because his ability to make me think is brilliant. Then we come to my old sparring partner Bob Hyde, a man who many years ago took a chance on a snot nosed Evangelist, put up with complaints, and moaning but saw something in me that made me partly what i am today, he is a genius and a great friend. Then we have those who are outside of the kingdom. Satan slaves who make me think about what i say, Skyra members whom i love, my family whom are non believers, but make me think about the kingdom. This for me is the crux of the matter, all of these people and loads more make me think about what it means to be a good Christian, what it means to think about and represent Jesus on this planet. I let them down, and they don't bitch. i let God down and he does not bitch. So what does it mean to be a good Christian, the ability to reel off masses of scripture to prove a point. The ability to be judgemental and less than gracious, the capability to run and hide when the chips are down?. For me it's none of the things i mentioned, it's the ability to take part in the world i live in, to show a loving God to a Godless world, to let people see that perfection is not what it's about. To let them know they are loved beyond reason or measure, to show them something of the Kingdom and it's king. Yes i fail, yes i let them and God down, but through it all God listens and acts and reacts to the situations i find myself in. I will never be perfect, never be what some people think is the ideal of a Christian. But i will be honest about my God, the situation around me, the people i interact with. So am i a good Methodist? NO I'm not, am i a good Christian probably not, but i'm honest, too much sometimes. I'm in love with my God, and despite some of the people love them. So i guess i'm  good in part, but human. Those things that bug me will never be as big as the God i serve or his love for me. I'm a saint in his kingdom and for that i'm grateful beyond belief, and for those of you who have an influence, i'm more than grateful that i know you.

Monday, 16 April 2012


New to this whole thing, but i think it needs to be done. Then my insane ramblings will be seen by the few not the many. If your offended easily it's probably best you close your eyes, i shoot from the hip, and in the words of AC/DC i was born with a stiff upper lip. Thats it for now.