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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

All-Hallowes Eve. . . and all that!

This is the last day of October, and tonight is
All Halloes Eve.


Well, Did I scare you?

There will be the usual discussions about the Halloween parties and kids dressing up, but what do you think about it? Some argue that Halloween, which originated as a pagan harvest festival and perpetuates themes of witchcraft, black magic and pranksterism, is a Satanic holiday. Others disagree, martialling an array of historical facts to contend that the holiday itself has been unfairly demonized by religious groups. What do you think? Is celebrating Hallowe'en tantamount to devil-worship?

One suggestion is that for those who believe that celebrating Hallowe'en amounts to devil worship, then for them it is devil worship, and if they truly believe this to be the case, then there's no way they can ever celebrate Hallowe'en without it being such. However, if others see it as harmless fun or silly custom then that's all it is for them. It does not make us devil worshippers.

Two sides of the same coin, or something more sinister? You decide.

Certainly, here in the UK, there are many instances of Hallowe'en being used as an excuse to extort 'goodies' or cash from the vulnerable, and damaging their property when the demands are not met. Equally, there are many more examples of children being taken around by caring parents, thereby ensuring the safety of both children and 'victims'. But does any of this make it right or wrong?

Like so much in our lives, the potential is there in Hallowe'en for evil, and so it might be argued that for that reason it's best not to involve ourselves in it. Yet equally, is it not true that there is a potential for evil in almost everything that we do? One thing is for sure, the arguments will rage once again, many getting heated and causing mayhem in people's lives. Is this good?

So, where, you might ask, do I stand? Well, personally, for one thing I'm against the whole idea on the basis that I have seen too many instances of people being frightened and threatened. But far more importantly, I'm against it because I do not believe that the concept would have been celebrated by my Lord, and if it ain't good enough for Him then it ain't good enough for me!

What you do is up to you. Only you can make your own decisions in this matter, as in all things, so if you want to take the kids out and enjoy what you believe is just a bit of harmless fun, then who am I --- or indeed anyone else --- to stop you. Just enjoy the moment! Light the candle in the pumpkin, dress the kids up in their costumes and ENJOY!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Time for a quick smile!

I didn't know if my granddaughter had learned her colours yet, so I decided to test her. I would point out something and ask what colour it was. She would tell me, and she was always correct. But it was fun for me, so I continued.

At last she headed for the door, saying with the wisdom of childhood, "Taid (Welsh for Grandad), I think you should try to figure out some of these yourself!"

Who Can't Read!!!

Home-Schooling parents take heart! According to a recent survey in the UK, an average of TWENTY PERCENT of children leave infant school and progress up to Primary School without being able to read. At Primary School some children as much as 9 or 10 years old will be placed in classes with children two or even three years younger in order to help them become literate.

Even without any survey figures I am happy to hazard a guess that this would never apply to children who are home-schooled!

What a sad reflection on the education methods that are used now in comparison to when I was a child. And how sad to think of children growing up without experiencing the wonderful benefits of reading.


We live in a world that surrounds us with initials rather than full words. Companies proudly display their names such as M & S, JJB, BP, and such is the power of advertising that the majority of people will know what the letters stand for. Some time ago it became fashionable for many Christians to wear a wristband with the letters WWJD, standing for 'What Would Jesus Do?'

What's all this about then? Well, I thought that we might adopt the set of letters WWIDFJT today. It stands for What Will I Do For Jesus Today.

So often our days become so busy with the general 'busy-ness' of the moment that when we later reflect on our day we have probably achieved little in kingdom terms.

Here's a little story that illustrates the point:

A few years ago I was walking through a shopping precinct in one of our large towns when I noticed a man dressed somewhat like a vagrant. He was being avoided by so many people as he walked by them. I felt that I should do something for him and so I approached him with a folded £5 note clutched in my hand. "Excuse me", I said to him. He turned to look at me. "You dropped this." I said to him, offering the money to him. "No I never", he replied. I argued with him for a moment and then he fixed me with a stare and said, "Don't you think that I would know if I'd had that money? Do I look stupid as well as everything else?" I apologised for the hamfisted manner in which I'd tried to help him, but he brushed my words aside with a curt dismissal. I was upset that my attempts to help had been spurned, yet when I thought about it afterwards I realised that I was making the move to help without any spiritual prompting. In a way I was doing it more to make me feel better than to give him the benefit.

Since that hard-learned lesson I'm much more careful to ensure that what I do is in line with the reasoning and manner of the way which Jesus demonstrated. That way I can be sure that I'm doing things for Him rather than for me, and that's what matters in the end. We need to make our actions of kingdom benefit, and ensuring that Jesus Christ is at the very centre of all that we do and say is one way to ensure that they will be.

Monday, October 29, 2007

All Cheeses Mature --- so why don't ALL Christians?

When I lived in Africa my Christian life was very active. I belonged to a growing church with an average age of around twenty three, and it was a lively and happy Christian community. Christianity was most definitely a way of daily living, yet upon returning in the mid-1980's to the UK I fund a very different situation here. I belonged to several different churches in this country prior to my joining my current denomination, of which I have been a minister for the past nine years, and yet none of them have the same active Christian life that experienced in Africa.

Here, unfortunately, my experience is that very few people who attend church extend their involvement beyond the Sunday service. If they do, then it is more likely to be a leisure group than a spiritual growth group. Prayer Meetings and Bible Study Groups are very poorly attended, and few people --- if any --- take their Bible to church in order to follow the readings. I wonder why this is? The problem is that if people do not get spiritually involved, and try to become more immersed both in Scripture and Prayer, then they will never mature spiritually.

I am an evangelical New Testament preacher with a great concern for the lost. I am on fire with the Holy Spirit, with ambition only to serve my God in and through His only on, my Lord Jesus. My prayer, which ask you to join with me in, is that each and every person who claims the name of Jesus, including you and me, will ask God to search them, refresh them, and renew their zeal. To be part of a Living Church is to be part of a growing church, and that is something that includes all of us. We are commissioned to share the Gospel message!

Getting ready for tomorrow

November is going to be a busy month for me. In addition to all the usual things that I have to do, I will also be taking a week's holiday during which time I will be going to preach at a Crusade Meeting at Tabernacle Chapel in Terrace Road, Swansea. I preached there in September last year and the evening was videoed for a DVD, a clip from which you can find by following this link. I shall be leaving on the 15th and be there for two days, and I would greatly appreciate your prayers for a truly Spirit-filled evening. At the end of the month I'm travelling to Essex for the Christian Broadcasting Council Awards, again a two-night stay away. Two of my books are entered for an award, so please pray for a blessing for me!

Of course, November is a very busy month for me in terms of getting ready for the Advent Services to be held in my church. Now none of this means that I shall be any busier than many other people, but then my concern has to be how busy I shall be. Of course, this applies to much of the year, not only Advent. The problem is that, with all of this thinking and planning for tomorrow, we can often miss out on living each day to the full.

Many years ago, when I first started work as a 16-year old teenager, I worked in a clothing shop and there always seemed to be new posters to display that ate the year up! It would be posters urging people to order their suits in time for the holidays, or Easter, or Christmas, or for some special event. In January we advertised the SALE; in February & March it was the Easter Event. In June we posted about the forthcoming JULY SALE, and in July we urged people to think about the holidays. About mid-August our posters screamed out about BACK TO SCHOOL! and then in September the spoke of the need to be READY FOR AUTUMN. Then it was time to start reminding people that they should be getting their orders in for CHRISTMAS DELIVERY. Once all that was out of the way, then it would all begin again.

The trouble is that it's all too easy to miss out on the present with all this looking ahead. It sometimes makes me wonder if we are so busy looking ahead for our Lord's return that we miss out on serving Him in the present. Scripture tells us that no-one knows either the day or the hour that Jesus will return, so yes, let us look forward to it, but let us make quite certain that we don't allow our looking forward to hide today's work from our sight

Sunday, October 28, 2007

His Hand is Everywhere

I thought that I would share the following piece of verse with you today. I'm a great believer in angels. In fact, how can we not believe in them if we believe in the Bible as the breathed Word of God, for they are referenced to on so many occasions in Scripture. The problem for many people is that they can only truly believe in what they can see and touch, yet faith is believing in what we cannot see.

The reality of God is that even though we cannot see Him in a literal sense, we can see the evidence of His work everywhere around us. His hand is everywhere; in the beauty of all creation; in people whom we meet; in words we read and hear; in our own heads and hearts. He is everywhere at once, all-seeing and all-knowing. If we reject anything of His creation then we reject Him as well. He is life and love, light and truth. He is there to be worshipped and praised in everything that we do or say. He is the great I AM, the God of all Ages!

Have You?

Sometimes it makes me wonder
about the people whom I meet;
those I find in a quiet church,
or on a busy street;
hurrying and scurrying,
being kind and doing good,
the way that well we know,
God has ordained we should.
Yet, sometimes, we meet someone
with a special word to say,
And when they do we wonder,
did an angel come our way?
We see no angelic wings,
and hear no heavenly choir;
yet something in the way they look,
— familiar, not odd —
Leaves us with a sense
Of having briefly met with God.

© 2006 Colin Gordon-Farleigh
(From In Praise of Him, Again, published by Voice Publications)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

What a GREAT Day for . . .

What a GREAT day for saying 'What a GREAT day'! A few weeks ago Gill and I were amongst an invited audience for a recording of Ken Dodd for a special 80th birthday celebration programme of Songs of Praise. The opening sentence of my blog today is one of the comments that Ken Dodd often makes during his shows, and the reason that I like the comment so much is that it implies an attitude of thankfulness and joy.

In fact, there are quite a few things I like about Ken's shows. Here's a few of them:
  • His shows are free from so-called 'blue' humour.

  • He creates an aura of fun and happiness which keeps people laughing their socks off.

  • If you are feeling down then Ken manages to lift you up.

  • He's not afraid to acknowledge God as creator and giver of all things good, both on and off stage.

  • He never stints on the time he gives you. Even though Ken is only a couple of weeks off 80, he still lets his shows run on and on. Often a show which should run for a couple of hours actually runs on for three or four hours!

  • I like the fact that I can only think of good things to say about him!
We all joined in for the recording of Ken's well-known song 'Happiness', after laughing at his humour for about an hour. It was a great evening!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Great Excitement!

When I opened up my blog today to write the post, I was delighted to find that I had received some COMMENTS! I only started this blog at the beginning of this month, and so this was a pleasant experience for me, if only to let me know that some people actually read it!

I hope that you, dear reader, will comment again in the future, letting me know what you like --- or even what you don't --- about the site.

I must have survived . . .

Sorry --- no post to my blog yesterday 'cos my 'Day-job' in hospital on Wednesday turned out to be a two-day job after all! I had a bad reaction to the anaesthetic and so had to spend an extra day in hospital. However, I must have survived, 'cos otherwise today's blog would be missing too!!!
When I went down to theatre I was very relaxed and calm, thanks, I'm sure, to the prayers that I'd sent up plus, very importantly, the prayers of others for my well-being. How important it is to pray for others. Some years ago, living in Wales, I was suffering very badly with my back and had considerable mobility problems. One day I was arranging to visit a Christian friend the following day and suggested that I arrived at his house at 10.00 am. He looked a little awkward at first, but then explained that it would be his prayer time. "Not only that," he said, " but at 10 o'clock every day I pray for your healing and well-being." I was absolutely BLOWN AWAY by this revelation. To think that someone prayed for me at a set time EVERY DAY! WOW!!! As it turned out he thought about things for a moment and then said that I would be welcome to join him so that we could spend prayer time together, and what a blessing it was.
This is one of the gems in my casket of blessings; one of the things that reminds me how rich I am in heavenly terms. Over the years the casket has become fuller and fuller, and every now and then I can reach in and let others see the gem as well. That way I think that the blessing that was given to me can be continually shared around, bringing blessings to others simply by reminding them how wonderful and how good God is.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A 'Nip & Tuck' day for me today ...!

Later on this morning I will be going in to our local hospital for an operation to repair a hernia. I'm not looking forward to it too much, with all the stories that you hear about rampant MRSA bugs and problems with C.Diff, caused in both instances by poor hygiene in the hospitals, but the good thing is that I will be free from the discomforts of the last few months once the operation has been done.

The first thing I do every day is to place myself anew into God's hands, thereby ensuring that I will be in His will for another day. I pray for the opportunity to be a living witness to the love of God shown us through the Living Christ. After all, what other way is there for a Christian to live? Surely, our purpose is to carry out God's will for our lives and to fulfil the Great Commission of sharing the gospel message.

I cannot imagine being without Jesus in my life. Every time that we sing the hymn 'What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought . . .' it reminds me over again how much it applies to my life. I accepted Jesus into my life way back in September 1969 at a meeting held in the Friend's Meeting House in Bath, which was led by the evangelist Peter Scothern. After my entry into full-time ministry I had the privilege, only a few years ago, of being invited to share my testimony at one of his meetings held in Chester. Just one small step on my journey that I was able to share as part of Peter's journey.

The one thing which I have learned over the years is that life is good with Jesus and empty without Him. No matter what else we achieve in this life, if it is without Christ then it's of no real benefit in the long run. I'm convinced that as long as God blesses us with breath then our purpose is indisputably to carry out the work that we are privileged to do for Him. So, as we are bid, I give thanks in all things, and in all things I praise my Lord!

A Site that's well worth visiting

I checked out Lindsey's blog this morning and, as a result, was directed to what turned out to be a great site, Koinonia Community. A good Christian site that I'm happy to urge you to take a look at, again and again and again. The following snippet is taken from the entry for Monday 22nd October. I'm sure that you'll want to read the rest!
I want to show my children that the stories in the Bible are not mere stories of what people did long ago, but a blueprint for how we should live our lives. I want to show them that it is possible, in the modern world, to live like Christ. I want to show them that miracles can again be commonplace. I want to show them how to change the news. I want to show them that they are an important piece of the puzzle, and an impact on the lives of others. And I don't want to just tell them about it, I want them to see it in action by the way we live.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Something Else From Russia

The Russian choral ensemble, LYRA, based in St Petersburg, are soon to record fifteen of my worship songs in Russian. It's very exciting to see your work translated into another language. Here is the first page of one of the pieces which I thought I would share with you today.

Brrrrrrrrr!!!!!!! The icy finger beckons!

I've just seen a news item about Bewick swans arriving at Slimbridge Wildfowl Trust, having flown in from Siberia. Generally speaking, this indicates that we'll probably be looking forward to a pretty cold winter. In addition to this sign the trees and shrubs are absolutely laden with berries, which is always regarded as a sure sign of impending cold months, the berries being able to provide for birds through the dark days of a long, cold winter. One thing is for sure --- the weather is already feeling much colder in the mornings and evenings, although we are still having reasonable days.

All this talk of cold and winter takes me back to childhood when the winters were really bitter and when frost seemed to be so permanent that it often hung around all day. Some mornings you would find a hoare frost that was so widespread that it covered the ground, the trees and the hedgerows. It looked as though it had snowed in the night, but this covering was FROST not snow! It always looked so perfect. I guess that's why it's so easy to recall now, all these years later. As a child I really loved the Winter. There was always something magical about the longer hours of darkness, coming home from school on the school-bus as it was getting dark, then arriving to find lights on in all the windows. In those days we didn't enjoy central heating in our homes, so getting up on a cold winter's morning often meant that there would be ice on the inside of the bedroom window, fingers of frozen condensation climbing upwards on the panes. It never worried us because that was all that we knew. Not for us the luxury of warm rooms and fitted carpets! We had chilly rooms and cold linoleum instead!!!

Now, all these years later, it's a different kettle of fish though! Now we are spoiled by all the cossetting that our modern lives get. We are wrapped in blankets of warmth from central heating in our homes and work-places and efficient heaters in our cars. That's OK, of course, but the problem is that, due to climate change, we don't often get the really cold winters that we used to, even if they sometimes make us feel that way.

Which brings us back to those swans from Siberia. It's so-o-o-o-o-ooo cold there! Does that mean that the swans have come here because it's warmer than where they've been? Or, as I fear, does it mean that they have come here because it's going to feel just like home? Only time will tell as the next few months unfold!

Have a great day and enjoy the weather where you are, whatever it's like!

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Day the Cockerel Got Me . . . well very nearly!

I used to live in Africa, and I kept a large number of hens both for eggs and for meat. I had a great cockerel in with the hens and was always a little wary of him when I went in to collect the eggs. He always seemed to have a beady look in his eye as he surveyed me from the highest perch he could fly to.

To get to the hens enclosure I had to walk through the enclosure where the 'meat' birds were, and then bend down to get through a small gate which was about four feet six inches high. In I would go with my 'trug' styled basket, lined with straw to avoid breakages. The daily egg count was about thirty-six to forty.

On the day in question I had collected the eggs and was backing my way towards the exit gate when I heard a noise. The cockerel, who had a particularly unpleasant manner about him on that day, was watching me intently. Suddenly he swooped down towards my legs. Now the problem was that I was wearing shorts and so I was an all-too easy target for him! Down he came towards me at speed, and there was no doubting his intentions!!! He aimed himself for the attack and then launched himself into it. The only way that I could defend myself was by placing the egg-trug between his beak and my legs. Accordingly every egg went flying across the ground. Not even one was saved!

Outside the outer fence my wife and son were doubled up with laughter at the sight. I was shouting for them to come in and open the gate for me to escape, but all to no avail, for they were laughing too much and, I suspect, enjoying the situation far too much to want it to stop so quickly.

My Revenge
I managed to escape unscathed apart from a very bruised ego! I called the lad over whose task it was to look after the birds. "Hey, Matambo" I called out, " You can have that cockerel for the cooking pot tonight!" He grinned and said thank you. The following day the cockerel was nowhere to be seen, but Matambo did have rather a fat belly from his meal the night before!

So what's the moral of the story? I guess that the best thing would be to quote the old adage:

Never bite the hand that feeds you!

Every Day is a Good Day!

It's a grey Monday morning as I write my blog entry today, although the weather forecasters say that we might get a little sunshine later on in the day. Actually, I don't mind, because I find that every day can be a good day if you determine that it will be. Ok, so there may be some things in it that you don't really like, even things that seem like problems, but the answer is to approach every so-called problem as a challenge. That way, you can find something good in every situation.

One of the things that saddens me is when I see the way that some people seem to begin to 'wind down' as they get older, amost as if they are sitting back and waiting for the inevitable to catch up with them. What a waste of the days that they have been blessed with! I think that as I get older the difference it makes to me primarily, is that I'm more conscious that the time that i have left to achieve all that I aspire to is diminishing, yet the intent is increasing at a camparable speed. Certainly, when God is ready to take me home then I will go willingly, but not a moment sooner than I need to go. There is, after all, so much to still be done. There's places that i want to visit, and people that I want to meet up with, and so much to achieve to complete my work --- that's if one can ever truly complete the tasks allotted. In my experience the goalposts seem to continually be expanding as the months and years go by. New technology means that we have a greater means of achieving things which were, just a few years ago, out of reach for the average person.

Who could have imagined that they would be able to write in the form of a blog even ten years ago? Many older people have an innate fear of computer technology, and yet the opportunities that have been opened as a result of it are endless.

No, I shall enjoy every moment of my life in the time that i have left, and fill it with challenges and opportunities to serve God in the name of Christ.

I love this poem by Dylan Thomas which I share with you here:

Do not go gentle into that good night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their fragile deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the l.ight.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage aginst the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Copyright: The Trustees of the copyrights of the late Dylan Thomas

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sunday - another working day for me!

Well, here we are at the beginning of another new week (or end, depending on your point of view). Sunday may well be a day of rest for most, but for ministers, vicars, priests, and the like, it's very much a working day. It always strikes me as a strange anomaly that the very people who urge others not to work on Sundays have to work themselves. I constantly remind people of the importance of joining in fellowship on a Sunday in order to worship God and to have their spiritual needs ministered to, and yet I rarely get the opportunity to do so myself.

It's somewhat of a riddle isn't it, as to who cares for the carers, or who ministers to the ministers. Of course, in the process of being a channel to a congregation then the minister also receives a great blessing, but how precious are those Sundays when, despite the job, the minister can sit in another congregation and be ministered to.

Today I shall be away from my home church (pictured above this blog), ministering to the needs of a fellowship in Liverpool. Due to massive problems with their building and a decline due to the area being zoned for regeneration, they will be closing their doors for ever before too long. I feel for the members as they face this, for it's like being forced out of your home after many years of occupation.

So many churches have fallen sadly into decline because there has been a complacency amongst the membership. It's so important for the church to continually grow, that being the way in which it evolves, yet so many members feel that their church is a place where the growth is purely the job of the minister. Of course this is not the case! It's the job of every member to share the word as they live out their lives, and in so doing, to invite others to join the fellowship.

What's it like in your church? How well do you fulfil the Great Commandment that has been given to every Christian?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Where are they now?

As you get older you find yourself sometimes drifting in your mind to past times, places and especially people. I often think about friends from long ago, even though it's decades since we've been in touch or even, as is the case of one very good childhood friend, that they have passed away. Yet somehow memory makes up for the intervening years and blows them away as if they were not there. Once again you can spend a moment with that friend, reliving the same stories and jokes, the same good times and perhaps even the not-so-good ones as well.

We lose touch with people for all sorts of reasons. Maybe we move away from each other, or change jobs, or simply outgrow the friendship, yet the friendship itself seems to be there to remember and pull out of the memory occasionally.

All of the relationships that we develop throughout our life have an impact on the sort of people that we become. Some people, of course, have a greater influence than others. I think that the greatest influence in my own life, outside of the family, was my first school-teacher when I ws at the Infant's School. I attended a school called Cheviot House, and it was run by Miss Bailey, a kindly but firm teacher who was loved by the children in her care. How well I recall the blackboard on wheels that was moved forward for the lessons, held in one of only two classrooms. As a child it seemed to be HUGE! There were smells associated with those schooldays as well that still seem to linger in the nostrils on odd occasions. I remember the smell of wet raincoats hanging in the open passageway that divided the two classrooms, the scent of leather that drifted across from the small glove-making factory across from the window, the fragrance of the wood-block flooring that was scuffed by the feet of so many generations of infants. Then there is the very individual smell of the warm milk, served in half-pint bottles at break-time. The bottles of milk were crated in metal crates that were lowered into a wash-boiler for a few minutes prior to the break. But most of all I remember Miss Bailey, and the warm motherly fragrance that emanated from her when she comforted you after a fall. She's been gone now for many years, yet here, in my blog, she lives once again for a moment.

I wonder who you remember as having been a great influence in shaping your young life, and whom you recall occasionally still?

Friday, October 19, 2007

What on earth ...!

As the middle of the month is already past and the Winter months draw ever closer, my thoughts turn to the Spring and new life. It's a time when we see a lot of activity in the fields and sometimes you may be lucky enough to see a couple of hares boxing in the fields in March. It's all part of their courtship, and almost certainly has to be two males fighting over territory.

I guess that the loser will go home sulking and refusing to see his friends on account of having had a 'bad hare day'!

Come to think of it, almost every conflict in the world comes down to males fighting about their territory, or at least what they consider to be their territory! Yet, when all is said and done, there is actually enough for everyone if only we were better at sharing.
To achieve that, we need to be better at caring.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I had a meeting with Bill

This morning I had a meeting with Bill, one of the members of my church. It's always a rich time of sharing when we get together. He's on fire for the Lord, and is busy enlarging his knowledge of Scripture to help in his witness. There's a lesson here for everyone!

A while ago, a friend said to me that it was reckoned that if you took all the churchgoers out of our churches and just left the committed Christians then most of the churches would be pretty empty. That's a scary thought! What do you think about it? Is it possible that the reason that the church is in such poor condition, in terms of attendance, is because the level of Christian commitment is so low. After all, when you look around at the average church the various tasks in the church are usually done by the 'faithful few'. Prayer meetings and Bible Study meetings are all too often poorly attended, and again, the people who do attend them are, in the main, the same 'faithful few' who do most of the jobs.

How do we address the situation in a loving manner? If only I knew the answer to that then my church would be full every Sunday. This is something that saddens me greatly. There is such joy in knowing Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord, but the joy of knowing Him as friend is amazing. It's because of this that I want to introduce Him to others, knowing that He can be their friend too. And knowing Him is a real life-changing thing. Once you have truly met with Him then your life can never be the same again.

My constant prayer is that everyone whom I meet will have the opportunity to meet with my Lord as well during the course of our meeting. That way I will have given both Him and them of my best, just as it should be.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Pure Gold!

I love the colours of Autumn or, as some of you would say, the Fall. I guess it's partly because I'm a Leo, and that's supposed to mean that I'm attracted to all the golden range of colours. Somehow there's something special about going for a walk on an Autumn day with the carpet of leaves under your feet and the richness of the trees that almost dazzles your eyes. WOW! How often have you wished you had your camera with you to capture the moment forever!

Then there is the fun of it all at this time of year; the sort of thing that stirs your childhood memories into screen once again. There is something about falling backwards into a pile of leaves, or simply rushing at them and taking a kick that sends them scattering to and fro, that makes you laugh with happiness. Children do these things naturally, but when you grow up you become reticent about such actions and hold back from them. Yet when you give in to the urge occasionally then the fun of the occasion comes to the fore!

I guess that one of the lessons that we can learn from this is that it's good to be like little children sometimes. Jesus recognised this when He said "Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like little children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me." (NAS Matthew 18:3).

Perhaps the next time you see a pile of Autumn leaves, as you give it a hearty kick you'll think of our Lord's words and be happy that you've found the secret of eternal childhood!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Come & Sing!

Back at the beginning of September I was invited to Tabernacle Chapel at Arddleen in Powys, Mid Wales for a 'Come & Sing' evening. The reason for the invite was that they had chosen a dozen of my hymns to sing to celebrate this gift that God has bless me with, and asked me to lead the evening.

The whole evening was recorded for Christian Radio and a CD has also been released with a live recording of the whole evening. WOW! How about that!!!

Anyway, if you would like to listen to a sample then you can by clicking on this link. You can order the CD too if you would like to hear the whole thing. It's not expensive and it's well worthwhile.

Every Day is a BONUS!

Today is going to be a great day! Not just a good day, but a GREAT day! How do I know this for sure? Well, the answer's easy. It's going to be great because it's another day that I can walk with Jesus and serve God in the world. It's another day that God has given to me to use, to learn in and from, and to try my best to be of kingdom benefit for Him. Now, in my book, that makes it a really GREAT day!

So what shall I fill it with? We often wish we had a few extra hours in the week to do things that we'd like to --- or things that we need to, and here I am with a whole day stretched out in front of me, not just a few hours, but a WHOLE DAY. I started by looking at a great blog-site and found a terrific magazine which you can either download for FREE or order to come by pigeon-post. I'm going to put the finishing touches for the November/December issue of my own magazine, The Voice, today so that all of the overseas subscribers will be able to get there copy on time.

Then I need to go and visit some Christian friends who are under the weather. There's Barbara, who has just been in hospital (yet again), and her husband Gordon who, although suffering with MS nevertheless manages to soldier on better than many, despite the advancing years; and there's Nancy and Ruth, both in need of some spiritual comfort. One of the things that I enjoy in visiting people is that I get the opportunity to share so much with them, from the general chat to the spiritual, and most of all I get to share a little TIME with them.

Well, I guess that I'd better be on my knees preparing myself for the day --- packing my spiritual briefcase, so to speak --- so I'll speak to you again soon. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the picture that I've put at the top of this blog. You can find pictures/posters like these on my website if you look for the Voiceart pages.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Calling all INVESTORS!

Anyone interested in buying a quarter-share in a race-horse?
Just click on the picture and you just might see him run!!!!!!!!

A really BEAUTIFUL video clip!

Yesterday I received a truly beautiful video clip, forwarded on by my cousin Joan, and headed 'An Interview With God'. However busy you are this deserves a small slice of your precious time --- it's only 60 seconds long. As you watch it, seeing the beauty of God's creation unfold before your eyes, I defy you not to be moved to tears (or at the very least, to have moist eyes!).

To get to the interview, simply click on 'view presentation' on the Interview With God website.

If you like it then please recommend it to all of your friends, Christian and non-Christian alike, for this is food for the soul.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Using my gifts - a new CD!

Sheer Joy Music have just released a new CD of my worship songs sung by a great-sounding choral group called 'Cantoris', who hail from Cheshire. It's wonderful to be blessed with the gift of writing work to praise our God, and when you hear it sung it makes you feel very humble and yet also it's exciting. Of course, the finished Cd is only partly my work, and even that portion is a gift through the Spirit! Without the beautiful singing of Cantoris, the talents of the various composers, and the hard work put in by Chris Taylor who produced and recorded the CD at Rooftop Studio in Liverpool, then there would be nothing for you to listen to unless you were in a church where the works were being sung.

I am thankful for my gifts, and I praise God for them constantly. To Him be the glory!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Early Mornings

Why do mornings have to start so early in the day? It doesn't make sense! After all, I work best in the mornings, so it stands to reason that if only I could spend a little longer resting in bed before I had to get up that I would work even better. All it needs is for the morning to start a couple of hours later than it does now.

As a matter of fact, on the subject of time, why is it that there are only 24 hours in a day, when everyone knows that we could do much more if only there were more hours in the day! Even the weeks and months go by too quickly nowadays. Why, no sooner have you got Christmas out of the way than the months have rushed by and it's time for the next Christmas to begin.

It all seems so unfair. After all, when I was a child the days, weeks, months and years took absolutely ages to go by. There always seemed to be enough time for everything then, not like it is now. There must be an answer somewhere!!!

Well, actually there is of course. The answer is that as we get older so time, in relation to our age, is less. When you are just asmall child then a 6-week Summer vacation is a HUGE amount of time in relation to your years. For the same reason 24-year old grown-ups seem positively ancient to an 8-year old, who is, after all, just a third of their age.

What all this means is that if we are to get the most out of our time then we need to plan it out a little better. We need to ensure that the important things in life get attended to before it's too late.

One of the most important things that we need to ensure we have done is to put ourselves right with God. Reading John 14.6 we learn that Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except by Me." Therefore we need to ensure that we have truly repented of our sinful state and acknowledged Jesus as the Living Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God who was sent to save mankind and redeem them to God the Father.

No matter how early or how late your morning starts, the one sure thing is that you don't know is how much time you have left, so there's no time to waste. So, if you still have not done this one important thing, no matter what else you do today, no matter how busy you seem to be, get this task out the way now!

Friday, October 12, 2007

It's great to 'Stop & Stare'

I used to think that the concept of a blog was simply an online diary. Now, a diary is something which you write down your secret thoughts and observations in on a day-to-day basis for possible publication in the future, but a blog is quite different, for you are writing down your thoughts and observations for immediate publication.

One blog that I particularly enjoy is written by Lindsey in the USA. After a while, as you read through someone's daily blog, you get a feeling of knowing them a little, even though you have never met them (and probably never will!!!). Yet the day-to-day thoughts that are shared allow you an insight not only into someone else's family and social life, but also into the mind of the person as well. Whatever the reason is though, it's a good way to spend a few moments of your day!

Welsh poet William Henry Davies in his poem Leisure asked What is this life, full of care, we have no time to stop and stare. Well, reading a blog for a few moments does allow you to indulge in 'stopping and staring' and simply watching the world go by. And it's a GOOD FEELING! Of course you won't always like what you find, but then on every journey the view is constantly changing, and you won't always be looking at your favourite view. If you are a real country person then the smoke-stacks of an industrial town will often depress you, yet if you are a city person you may remark of the countryside --- as my son once did --- "What's to see? All you can see is bits of green. It's so-oooooooo boring, Dad!"

Well, I hope that you like the changing scenery on my journey as you share it with me for a mile or two, and that you don't find it boring!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Set the people FREE!

From 1972 until 1984 I lived in three countries, yet never moved! How? Well, I started off in Rhodesia which later, for a short period in its history, became Zimbabwe-Rhodesia, and then Zimbabwe.

It was a beautiful country, and I was very proud to be a part of it. As a Christian I did all that I could to help bring about a peaceful transition on the basis that I believe that we are all equal, and therefore this should be reflected in a true democracy. I have to say that I think that Ian Smith was a truly great Prime Minister, a man who believed in all that he did, and a great privilege to have been in the country under his leadership. This is not to say that I agreed with everything --- far from it --- but the way that he has been subsequently well-treated proves that much that was said of him by the overseas press, especially the UK press, was no more than propaganda.

It was a truly beautiful place to be. I had many friends from all areas of the community, and the country had benefited greatly from the UK-imposed sanctions against it, making it self-sufficient and creating a great number of new jobs, in turn bringing a level of wealth to the country that has never been experienced since.

Now Zimbabwe lies in ruins, the work of the dreadful dictator Robert Gabriel Mugabe, the one man responsible for the murder of countless thousands of his countrymen, for the rape of the land, and for the exodus of around three and a half million Zimbabweans from their homeland due wholly to his despotic and evil rule.

The reason that he remains in power owes much to the support of other African leaders and to the failure by various European governments to ban him totally from their lands. I believe that every African leader or foreign government who support him stands with him, guilty of his crimes with him, by association.

How much longer will the world stand by and let the unthinkable happen in countries such as Zimbabwe over and over again? Each time such a thing happens goverments vow that it 'must never happen again', yet happen it does, and goes unchecked whilst countless thousands suffer.

My heart bleeds for a country and a people that I learned to value and love. Please join with me in praying that God will free both land and people from the dreadful evil that grips it under Mugabe's rule.

Sam had a fit of the sulks!

Yesterday evening my wife Gill and I took our little dog Sam for a long walk. Earlier it had been raining, and Sam must have found every bit of mud possible to walk in! We'd driven to the 'walk-spot' and so on the way home we had to put him in the open back of the car from where he surveyed us by placing his paws on the top of the seat to look over.

Getting him home we had to get him up to the bathroom quickly for a bath, something that he's not too fond of. This operation I left to Gill, who's absolutely brilliant with him. After drying him off with the hair-dryer he was allowed back downstairs, but what a fit of the sulks he had!

His usual look of adoration which he gives to Gill was most definitely not there last night, for he sulked for most of the evening. Of course, he's still only eighteen months old, so I guess that in doggy years he's a teenager! That explains it all!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

What a LOT to learn!!!

Because I'm new to the whole Blog thing, there is so much for me to learn. There's even a whole lot of new phrases for my ageing brain to get to grips with! However, I'm very determined to do everything I can to make my blog an interesting one, so I hope that you, dear reader, will post some comments which will help me in my quest.

Because I publish a magazine called 'The Voice' I get all sorts of interesting snippets in, some of which I shall add to my blog page. I hope you enjoy them and that they sometimes make you smile. You can find out more about the magazine on my web site. Do take a moment to have a look 'cos there's a lot of interesting things to find on the site.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Way We Witness for Christ

This is something that I really liked 'cos it tells it like it is. I hope you like it too.

How we live
His name is Bill. He has wild hair, wears a T-shirt with holes in it, jeans, and no shoes. This was literally his wardrobe for his entire four years of college. He is brilliant. Kind of profound and very, very bright. He became a Christian while attending college.
Across the street from the campus is a well-dressed, very conservative church. They want to develop a ministry to the students but are not sure how to go about it.
One day Bill decides to go there. He walks in with no shoes, jeans, his T-shirt, and wild hair. The service has already started and so Bill starts down the aisle looking for a seat. The church is completely packed and he can't find a seat. By now people are really looking uncomfortable, but no one says anything.
Bill gets closer and closer to the pulpit, and realising there are no seats, he squats down on the carpet. By now the people are really uptight, and the tension in the air is thick.
About this time, the minister notices a deacon is slowly making his way from the back of the church toward Bill. Now is in his eighties, the deacon has silver-grey hair, and a three-piece suit. A godly man, very elegant, very dignified, very courtly. He walks with a cane and, as he starts walking toward this boy, everyone is saying to themselves that you can't blame him for what he's going to do. How can you expect a man of his age and of his background to understand some college kid on the floor? It takes a long time for the man to reach the boy.
The church is utterly silent except for the clicking of the man's cane. All eyes are focused on him. You can't even hear anyone breathing. The minister can't even preach the sermon until the deacon does what he has to do. Now they see this elderly man drop his cane on the floor. With great difficulty he lowers himself and sits down next to Bill, worshipping with him so that he won't be alone.
Everyone chokes up with emotion. When the minister gains control, he says, "What I'm about to preach, you will never remember. What you have just seen, you will never forget."
Be careful how you live. You may be the only Bible some people will ever read!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Exciting News!

I've just received the sheet music for several songs of mine that are to be sung in Russian on a new CD which will come out early in 2008. It's exciting to see your work translated into another language, even if you don't understand a word of it!

There will be fifteen of my Worship Songs on the CD, and the five pieces of sheet music that have just arrived have music composed by Greg Scheer and by Andrew Millinchip. (Greg = 3; Andrew = 2). Of course, I'm now even more impatient to get the finished cd! It's being recorded by a fantastic choral group called LYRA who come from St Petersburg.

Yesterday was our Harvest Festival

First Fruits?
Yesterday was our Harvest Festival and many people donated fruit, flowers, vegetables, tins and packets of food to be displayed during the Service. Today we sorted them into bags, bouquets and boxes to be handed out either, in the case of the fruit and flowers, to members of the church who are unwell or frail, or, as in the case of the tins and packets, to be delivered to a charity that doles them out to the needy.

All very well, but when I checked the 'Use-by' dates on the tins and packets I was amazed, flabbergasted and disappointed to find that several of the items were well out of date. In fact one jar of mincemeat was date-stamped 'Jan. '95'!!!

Now, forgive me if I'm being a little fussy, but I always thought that what you brought for the Harvest Table was a gift to God, no matter what the end use would be in distribution terms. That being the case, should it not be the very best that could be given, rather than what was found at the back of the cupboard on a clear-out day?

What do you think?

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Share My Journey

I've never been that good at keeping a diary. Oh, sure, the intention has often been there, but it's either stayed in the ether or else run for a short while before drifting aimlessly to its demise! Blogs are diaries, yet somehow they're different 'cos, unlike a diary, they're meant to be read by other people. So, in a manner of speaking, you could say that a Blog is more like a letter than a diary, yet there's still that special something about it. You can put your thoughts down on a Blog never knowing who will stumble across it and read what you've written. I like that idea, and so that's why I've decided to start this.

It's like most things in life, all part of an exciting journey. As a committed Christian I relish the thoughts and hopes of arriving at my final destination, but the journey itself is so important, for it's the manner in which we conduct ourselves and the choices that we make on our journey through life that ultimately determines our destination. As I travel on what's left of my journey, I hope that you will decide to keep me company --- at least for some of the way.