Thursday, 28 April 2011

I join the smartphone crowd

This week I got my new phone a HTC Desire Z. I now have the whole internet in my hand! I will be using it as a mini laptop, giving me the ability to actually keep up with friends (on facebook & twitter), capture notes and blog articles wherever I am, take better pictures, check my work emails and I finally have access to all of this whenever I want - no waiting in line to use the family laptop!

My first phone a Nokia 2110 was almost brick like in size and could only be used as a phone - can you believe it!

It seems there are very few things these days that only do the one thing:
  • cars have satnav - we used to use maps
  • TV systems can record multiple programs at once - we used to have video recorders
  • cameras take videos - they used to have film which you sent out and waited to see how the shot came out, how quaint
  • MP3 players can take pictures - we used to have tape playing walkmans on our belts

All our devices like life itself is getting evermore complex and the hoped for nirvana of all these machines making our lives so simple is actually a mirage.

Now don't get me wrong I love gadgets and nice new toys and give me loads of money and I would probably have a lot more BUT maybe its because I'm getting older - grumpy man syndrome - or maybe I am growing up a bit and I am starting to realise that the better things in life are sometimes the simpler ones.

Sunday, 24 April 2011


Today, Easter Sunday, I walked down to church and as I walked I decided to take off my glasses. Without my glasses I can't really see, I can't see any writing, or the faces of people, everything is blurred. I can see but I don't really see. It the struck me that this is what resurrection is all about helping people to really see - to see the way, the truth, the life.

When Jesus was on the earth almost nobody saw who He really was and what He was telling them about. They were amazed by His miracles and knew He was special and a few even believed He was the Messiah. But until resurrection they saw this but didn't really see.

Through the resurrection it was as if they were given true spiritual glasses to really see Jesus for who He is and to hear and start to truly understand what He told them. The amazing power of resurrection is that this seeing or revealing has carried on through time and goes on into eternity. Whether we have experienced it or not we all live in the good of it.

Today all around the world we remember the power of resurrection and to coin a phrase we remember and again are thankful that "Love Wins".

Happy Easter to you.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Book Reading Update

At the start of the year I listed the 19 books I wanted to read. I thought I would post an update, give you some thoughts and most importantly I would love get some your comments on these books if you have read them or let me know what you are reading.

So far this year I have read:

Teams of Rivals - the story of Abraham Licoln's remarkable life and presidency. I reviewed this book back on Feb 12th mine and Abe's birthday!

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell - This is a fascinating book which looks at why and how some fashions, messages, education, adverts, methods of working, even crime waves and crime fighting can be stunningly successful almost overnight. How they go from ordinary to tipping into epidemics.

Frank Skinner by Frank Skinner - a refreshingly honest and entertaining autobiography

Gridlock by Ben Elton - I normally like Ben Elton books but  I didn't enjoy this one.  The first half of the book was both turgid & hyperactive in it's changes of subject. The last quarter of the book suddenly became full of life and then it was suddenly finished. Not his best.

The Shack by William P. Young - A worldwide bestseller that has been criticised by several well know Christian leaders notably Mark Driscoll*. I found this work of FICTION to be moving and challenging and made me want to open my eyes to see more of God and His work in my life. A beautiful story.

And currently I am reading The World Needs More Elders by PJ Smyth which is a booklet on the role, character and key areas of development of Christian leaders and specifically church leaders (elders). It is excellent material that is really refreshing and challenging so far.

So do you have any comments on any of these books? What are you reading?

* just for the record I think Mark Driscoll is a great bible teacher and has built a great church I just don't agree with him on all issues and certainly I think he has gone way over the top on The Shack, he is just a little too black and white on certain things for me. But I must say he has got a great tag line on his Twitter feed "A nobody trying to tell everybody about Somebody"

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Daily meditations

Last year I signed up for the daily meditations from Richard Rohr. These meditations bring a fresh viewpoint on life and God and are often very challenging. Occasionally he shares stories from saints and church leaders from the past which are truly inspiring – my favourite one of these stories is this one:

“Saint Therese of Lisieux, toward the end of her life, had a beautiful image of salvation.  It’s not in her autobiography, so many have not heard of it.  She describes salvation in this way:  All of her life she is a little girl.  She is proud and happy to be a little girl.  Her heavenly Father is standing at the top of a great staircase, always beckoning her, “Come, Therese!  Come!  I ask more of you!”

She lifts her little foot again and again by all the actions of her Catholic faith and religious life, trying to please God.  She is trying to climb up to God.

God watches Therese and sees her desire to come.  Then in one moment that we call grace, God rushes down the staircase, picks her up and takes her.  She knows afterward by hindsight that God has done it, from beginning to end.  But it was important for her to keep lifting up her little foot.  Our struggle, our desire, our “yes” is significant and necessary.  But in the end it is always grace that carries us up the staircase.”  From Radical Grace: Daily Meditations, p.324, Day 336

Why not sign-up to get some different and grace filled thoughts for each day - click here.

Friday, 8 April 2011

I can do that

How often do you generate a list of good ideas and then don't do any of them or at least you don't do them very well?

At a recent conference I heard Rick Warren make a great suggestion. He was saying that at most conferences he likes to have a sheet of paper where he writes down ideas under the heading "I could do that", then when he gets back to his base he looks at the list of ideas and picks ONE and does that one and won't look to do any of the others until that one is done.

If you think about church, training, work, TV, personal reading and study each week you probably receive loads of suggestions and ideas to improve your life. Can you really expect to implement even one of these ideas on a weekly basis? It's just too much to do, never mind doing it well!

I often think if there was just one or two things each year we could really change or improve then we would see significant growth in our lives.

So if you could change, improve, learn one thing this year what would it be - what's the one thing that you can do?