Archive for May, 2006

But as for me.

This phrase jumped out and hit me over the head the other day. I was reading through Psalm 71, a psalm that really emphasises God’s work throughout the whole of the Psalmist’s life, right through from being a baby in the womb to his old age and grey hairs. It’s a Psalm I often flick through to remind me that God is the story of my life, that He has been at work and He will continue to be at work. A Psalm that leads me through my childhood, my teenage years and beyond, reminding me of the constant presence of God weaving His faithfulness around my days here. The plea is for God to carry on doing his work, the circumstances around the Psalmist seem hopeless, people are laughing at him, taunting him with tales of God’s abandoning of him. And yet in the middle of the Psalm come these four words, “But as for me…”. The strong desire to continue despite the circumstances around him, the clinging to trust in God rather than unbelief, the deep cry of the soul. But as for me…

So anyway I looked around a bit and found some other places where this phrase is repeated in the Bible and again found the verses that leave me wrecked every time I read them. The end of John 6, people abandoning Jesus all over the place, and I can almost feel the piercing gaze of Jesus into my soul as he asks. “You do not want to leave too do you?”. The answer, that sometimes is almost too hard to gasp out, is no. No I do not want to leave. There is no where else to run, you have the words of eternal life, you went through Gethsemane for me, you rose from the dead and smashed all the barriers between me and you, you hold me, you comfort me, you challenge and confront me, you hide me, you are the story of my life, you are my Lord, my Friend, my Shepherd.

“From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6)

*But as for me*

But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”
Joshua 24:14-16

But you, O God, will bring down the wicked into the pit of corruption; bloodthirsty and deceitful men will not live out half their days. But as for me, I trust in you.
Psalm 55:22-24

But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.
Psalm 71:13-15

But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.
Psalm 73:27-29

But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.
Micah 7:6-8


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Joining up.

Well I managed about 48 hours of resistance until I did This. (Edit: the link works now…) Becci Brown is the one to blame or praise. However, it is one of my favourite occupations, paying attention to the fine detail of life. Go on, you know you want to join up too.

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Can’t wait.

Ok, Ok, so many updates, so little time. Paul Simon is bringing out a new album. The rumour on the street is that it is Quite Good. And so it should be, coming from the genius that is. He was promoting it on Jools Holland last night. Here’s a preview. Father and daughter is my current favourite track. Mainly because it reminds me of my Dad. Aw.

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Neighbours genius

Ok, so I know I’m behind on these things, but for those of you who haven’t been blessed by Nathan’s linkage. Click away and experience the true joy of Neighbours. Genius.

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Dear Diary…

Dear diary. Today has been an eventful day.
It all started with my car limping down the hill to the nice people at the VW garage so they could make it better. Apparently it thought driving across London twice in a weekend was a step too far. It is poorly sick and needs lots and lots of money spending on it to make it better. (I mean really, when garages phone up and list many things that are wrong with your car and then ask, “do you want us to work on it?”, what do they expect the answer to be? “Well no, I’d rather leave it with you for the rest of it’s life to rust away”. Or “No thanks, I’ll just try and drive it in faith for a bit and see if you are right about it not working”. At least they were apologetic about the vast list of repairs to be done.) Ah well, ecologically sound methods of transport for me for a few more days.

I cycled with the wind into Brighton this afternoon to go to the sealife centre with my friends Ben and Debs and their little girl Sophia. (and yes I did toy with the idea of calling this “supporter time” and claiming it as work, but even my conscience wouldn’t let me.) I LOVE the sealife centre. Mainly because you walk around looking at weird weird fish thinking…”God, you are weird, I mean look at that fish. It’s so strange. How did you think of doing it like that? And why does it have so many tentacles, and why does it’s face bulge in that way?”. Infinite creativity makes for a lot of odd creatures.

Anyway Sophia seemed to enjoy it all. Especially talking to the nice stingrays.

Later I cycled against the wind (much much harder) back to Hove station to get the train that stops at 26 stations to Portsmouth. I mean, 26. I could recite them all here but I won’t. Suffice to say, I bet you’ve never heard of Warblington, Nutbourne or Fishersgate before. All these places seem to consist of a small field with a horse in it. I’m not yet convinced of the necessity of a train for the horses yet.

In Portsmouth I said goodbye to some lovely students at their end of term BBQ and introduced their future Relay worker to them. Ceryn seemed to adjust well to the general Portsmouth madness (indicating that, yes, she too might be a little strange in the head). After a couple of hours of fun, and shivering in a very English manner around the BBQ, I got back on the train that stops at 26 stations. A mere two hours later I made it home.

Other things of note today; I started planning my life again with paper and felt tip pens. Colour makes for good productivity; Paul Simon has a new album out soon; Neighbours is the best way to bond in any conversation with students and God is still real and still worth following to the end. Read Jeremiah 32 if in doubt.

I love the comedy exchange between Jeremiah and God, a shorterned version is:
Jeremiah: God, you’ve judged us, we’ve sinned, we have been captured and have to leave the land. But you’ve asked me to buy a field? A field? (you can almost hear the disbelief and slight confusion. Why buy a field in the land we’re leaving?)
God: Ah ha, you see the field has hidden meanings. It means I haven’t given up on the plan, I’m going to bring some people back. And ensure they get it right this time, I’m going to do good to them and never stop smiling because of them. OK. That’s what the field is all about.
Jeremiah: Er. Ok.

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Honest chats.

Sometimes I find it hard to believe my job, today I more or less got paid to hang out with some friends for a day. Obviously the context was an encouraging day with fellow staff workers chatting about life, work, God and anything else that comes into the conversation. It was good to know that there was no set agenda, no things we had to discuss, just some talking to people who know that it’s a lonely job, who know that it’s hard and who know that in the midst of all that there is a God who loves to pour out the grace of rest and reality upon us. I don’t know why I’m surprised that just chatting through life with people suddenly makes me realise that I want to carry on. There is something very important about good honest friendship. Coffee shops are also an important feature of such days. Today’s was pretty perfect with many big bowls of cappucinos and wooden tables to sit around.

This was followed by opening a small door to the past and meeting up with an old friend from Uni. We had much discussion on the meaning of life, the universe and everything. I’m not sure I had any satisfactory answers for him, but then I don’t think that was really the point. We talked about belief, how you can know anything at all, where you come from affecting your beliefs and the whole strangeness of Christian subcultures who leave no room for the doubting, the questions and the what is going on moments. Having to talk through why I was still on this road home was hard. Experiential arguments are not enough, feelings about things are not enough, staying here because I’ve always been here is not enough. And yet I cannot leave. Jesus compels me, calls me, shouts at me off the pages of the Bible. It comes back to him.

It was good to talk through the meaning questions again, to remember that beauty exists whether you acknowledge the creator for it or not, to be challenged on assumptions I make, good to think through why I stay on the road and good to chat in the depths after little contact over the last few years. Obviously now I want to jack in my job and go away to some mountains to talk to goat farmers all over the world about how they make sense of the universe. I want to study endless reams of philosophy and history and work out how we can know anything. Hmmm. Maybe soon.

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Can’t really believe this website. Entertaining anyway.

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