I'm still in Your hands - 13/08/2017

This month has been tough, losing such an incredible friend after a short illness. The mixed emotions churn me up on the inside and out. One the one hand I can picture him sat worshipping at Jesus feet in heaven - the place he was made for, and that makes me smile. On the other hand I am frequently reminded of the huge hole that he has left behind in my life and of so many of my friends and family.
Probably naively, I think I was starting to assume that I 'understood God'. I definitely don't. I'm not sure I'll ever understand what's happened this summer. I do however believe that God is still good, that He still holds us in the palm of His hand.
Simon taught me so much during his life, and I'd like to share just two of those things with you:
A prayer journalWhen I was in my early 20's I heard loud and clear from God - a picture of how much He loved me and always would. Simon asked me if I had a prayer journal and advised me to start one. Somewhere... Continued

There is power in the name - 14/07/2017

When things are going well I pray often, but on reflection those prayers can tend to be a list of pleases and thankyous, and are often just a one way conversation where I have my mouth wide open and my ears wide shut.
This week I have no idea what to think, or what to say, and frequently I have no idea what to pray. When I do pray, I waiver between crying out to God in despair and praying in faith knowing that God is bigger than all these earthly circumstances. If I’m completely honest, I feel like the former whilst trying to convince myself of the latter. I think that this is how God wants us to be when we pray - open, honest, bearing it all for Him to see. He doesn't expect us to feel 'in control'. 
I am certain that horrendous circumstances like these are never ever sent from God, but I am also certain that He never wastes a hurt, and he takes every single opportunity to teach us. This week I have learned:- How fragile life is- How precious family is- How big my God is-... Continued

The Fathers Confusion - 17/06/2017

I'm a Dad in training, and have been for the past 5 years. I don't think I'll ever really know what I'm supposed to be doing. Being a Dad is really just an exercise in making up as you go along.
It is impossible to know what each individual day will have in store, but usually contains an equal mixture of laughter, tears, dirty clothes, baby wipes, cuddles, spilt drinks, bumped heads, grazed knees, and 'I love you Daddy'. I wonder if things will ever calm down a bit? Perhaps, but maybe things will just get more complicated.   The thing about being a Dad is that I want to be there for all of this stuff, to get involved in all of the mess and the mayhem. It's confusing.   My kids know that I love them, but it doesn't stop the chaos. It doesn't stop them making a mess, shouting at each other, or being demanding and ungrateful from time to time. I  think that mirrors my relationship with God much more often than I'd usually like to admit.  My days with God usually... Continued

Guest blog: Calling all angels to come and sing with us - 18/02/2017

This week we have an improvement on my usual ramblings. I have asked Amie to share some her thoughts on worship during her time working in Italy. Choosing to find time to worship despite being in difficult surroundings is really difficult but really rewarding. 
Please keep Amie in your prayers, it's hard being a Christian away from home !
I often need encouragement that God is still moving, it's stupid because I know he is, but sometimes we just need to hear about those"wow moments" to keep us going. So I'm going to share with you my most recent"wow moment", and how I interpret it.
Most of you will know, I'm away for 4 months in a ski resort. The likelihood of me finding a church or Christian friend were pretty low. But I have found a church, it may be a Catholic Church, but it still my safe place, where I can just sit and be. Thank you Jesus!
This week, whilst in the hotel doing some jobs, I realised I was on my own. Typical Amie style, I... Continued

Remedy - 17/12/2016

  I heard an interesting fact this week, 95% of people say that they have something wrong with them.  Interesting, but not surprising   Actually, the interesting point was that this means 5% of people claim to have nothing at all wrong.  I wonder why they are pretending.   ----------   10 years ago I was studying Biology in university. I remember learning about a tiny bacteria called Helicobacter pylori (HP for short). About 40% of people in the UK have HP in their stomach so it is very common.  In nearly nine out of 10 people who have HP, it does not cause any problems. Where carriers develop symptoms they get stomach ulcers and it is entirely unpleasant.   The good news is that if you have HP there is a simple remedy - antibiotics. They work quickly and effectively.   The difficult bit is not the cure, but knowing that you need it in the first place. -----------   It might sound like a tedious link, but this... Continued

He came here - 28/11/2016

At the start  He was there He was there   At the end He’ll be there He’ll be there   BUT   The glory of it all is he came HERE       On Saturday we put up our Christmas tree, too early probably, but it’s only a month away really isn’t it ;-)   Our two kids had very different experiences of decorating the tree.   Bethany climbed the ladder, helped me get the tree and decorations out of the loft. She carefully unpacked the fairy lights and baubles, and then hung them on the tree in a way that only a 4 year old can manage. There were baubles all clustered together, tinsel and fairy lights all over the floor, and in our nativity scene we managed to have a sheep in the manger instead of baby Jesus.  She loved the process.  In fact, every time people come around to our house she proudly shows them all the hard work she has done to get the tree ready.    James on the other hand was asleep... Continued

Perspective - 09/11/2016

Sometimes when we are really close to something it can look huge.
If you get too close to the telly, all you can see is the pixels and not the picture.
This morning we have all woken up (or stayed up) to hear about the new president of the United States. There seems to be a whole jumble of fact, opinion, speculation, lies, superlative, and mistrust being banded around every different source of media. I don’t like it.
Of course it is important to be invested in the decisions which will shape our futures, but we need to get it into perspective.
In the beginning God created
The heavens
And the earth
The earth was formless
And void
And darkness
Was over the surface of the deep.
And the spirit of God was over the waters
And God said:
“Let there be light”
Everything that exists today is here because God created it.
The place we hold within the universe is tiny in comparison to all that God has created.

But,... Continued

He knows my name - 27/08/2016

Lots of things about God don't make sense to me. Why is one brother sick while another is well? Why does one person die young while another lives to 100? Why does He speak loud and clear in some situations, but sometimes we have a big decision to make and we just can't hear His voice?
I've wrestled with these things for a while now and honestly, I'm no nearer any answers.
I think that the only question worth asking is 'do you trust God?'. The bible makes it clear that He loves us unconditionally and that He makes all things work for the good of those that love Him.
Today we are in hospital with Bethany as she has some minor surgery to remove her tonsils. While I am confident that she is in safe hands with the doctors here, the thing that fills me with more confidence is that we trust God and know she is in His safe hands.
Revelation 1 days this about John's vision of Jesus:v16: In His right hand he held the starsThen immediately afterwards...v17: He places His right hand on me and... Continued

Home - 11/08/2016

Wow what a fortnight.Two weeks in Uganda with some of he best folks I know. We've been working with a charity called International Needs to help out in local schools, churches and communities. We've seen how families and villages continue to care for and support each other despite being very poor in financial terms. I've met a number of families who live in a single dark room often with at least 5 kids, and sadly often without one or both their parents. Seeing close knit families made me think lots about my own amazing fam back home.
Two weeks away from my home for the first time since Jen and I were married, and by far the longest amount of time I've spent without seeing my kids.
Homesickness came along like an uninvited chicken in my bedroom (true story),One minute my room was poultry free and the next there was a freshly laid egg in the sock pile.One minute I was fine, and the next all I could think about was how far away home was, and how long it would be before I got back... Continued

I won't forget the love You've shown - 25/05/2016

Crikey, this Christian this is tough sometimes isn’t it. Too many distractions, things the world throws at us to encourage us to take our eyes off the prize, worry, doubt, stress, work, illness. 
We will all go through different seasons in our faith, not experiencing the same things at the same time, all working though different difficulties, and all the while (I hope) trying to get closer to God through the process.
For me at the moment, the thing blocking my path is busyness. My wife can always tell when I’m busy because I get grumpy. Life turns into a great big checklist, a list of things ‘to do’. Needless to say, there isn’t enough time to get them all done today, which means that I need to know what my priorities are.We have a bit of a mantra at work which is ‘we don’t miss deadlines’. From time to time that means working late, sometimes working early (im writing this on a 6am train to London), and sometimes both. Over a period... Continued

Never lose the wonder / May I see it as the first time - 25/03/2016

something or someone that is very surprising, beautiful, amazing a cause of astonishment or admiration a feeling of amazement caused by something remarkable or unfamiliar a surprising event or situation A few years ago when Bethany was only a few weeks old I led a small youth group meeting in church on Good Friday evening. I told a story of a bus driver who was taking a group of kids home after a school trip. The bus gets to a steep descent and half way down the driver realises that his breaks have failed and he cannot slow the bus down. The bus gets faster and faster as it heads down the hill.The bus driver spots a small gateway to the side of the road. He knows that if he can make it through the gate then the bus will have lots of room to slow down and the passengers will be safe. The only problem is that there is a small child in front of the gate. The driver has to decide whether to stay on the road which will probably lead to all the passengers dying, or to run... Continued

Every single word He said is true - 12/03/2016

I believe that what the bible says is true
It is true by necessity.
The bible is the Word of God.
All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness [2]
If the bible were not true then what would be the point of all of this, we would simply be wasting our time. 
I believe that what the bible says is true
We read throughout the bible a whole host of accounts detailing the miraculous and supernatural things that God’s people have done and seen.In the Old Testament we read about the parting of the Red Sea as Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, the snake on the pole which cured all who had been bitten, the widow’s oil multiplied, and Daniel in the den of lions. Each of these is a time in which God intervened to help his people through a difficult time.In the New Testament we read about Jesus and the miracles He performed, healing the sick, lame men walking, blind seeing, dead people coming to life…... Continued

Called then equipped - 16/01/2016

God doesn’t call those that are equipped, He equips those that are called
Do you seriously think that God can’t use you?
Noah was a drunkAbraham was too oldIsaac was a daydreamerJacob was a liarJoseph was abusedMoses had a stuttering problemGideon was afraidSamson was a womaniserRahab was a prostituteDavid had an affair and was a murdererElijah was suicidalIsaiah preached nakedJonah ran from GodNaomi was a widowJob went bankruptPeter denied ChristThe disciples fell asleep when prayingMartha worried about everythingThe Samaritan woman was divorcedZacchaeus was too small and was a cheatPaul was too religiousTimothy had an ulcerLazarus was DEAD
Noah heard Gods voice, followed Him and built the arkAbraham was told by God that his descendants would be more numerous than the stars. His son Isaac was born when he was 100 years oldIsaac lived his life in Gods promiseGod promised to keep Jacob safe at all timesJoseph became the Prime Minister of Egypt and interpreted dreamsMoses... Continued

Lead me on into tomorrow - 09/01/2016

I don’t want to get thereAt the end of it allLooking behind me to see there was so much moreTake this pocketful of faithIt is all I have todayI’m giving it all
The bible is an invitation.Two thousand years ago Jesus called His disciples by saying ‘follow me’ and it was up to them to either accept or reject the invite[1]. The same goes for us today, we can say yes to Jesus and follow Him, or we can do our own thing and turn the other way.
I’m assuming (rightly or wrongly) that you are reading this because you have already accepted that invitation – if you haven’t then check out www.the4points.com to see your very own invite. If you have already accepted the invitation to follow Jesus then I’d like to compare it to an invitation to a party.
My daughter is 3 years old and goes to nursery. That means that every weekend almost without exception, it is someone’s birthday – she receives a lot of party invitations, she goes... Continued

Heaven and earth collide - 19/12/2015

It’s finally here (almost)! After 8 weeks of Christmas advertising on TV, countless conversations planning Christmas dinner, trips to the shops to buy presents for friends and family, and more Christmas carols that you can stomach…
The warm up act is finished, the stage is set, the lights are dimmed, bums shuffle to the edges of their seats, people nudge each other and ask ‘is He here yet?’ – we await the arrival of the star of the show.
The chasm between heaven and earth has been too wide for too long, there is no way that we can ever hope to earn our place with God in eternity… and then … BOOM!Out of nowhere a baby arrives and stands in the gap between heaven and earth. As He grows up He reminds people … ‘I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except by me’ [1]. And, with arms outstretched on a cross He took heaven in one hand and earth in the other and slammed them together. Heaven and earth... Continued

Let heaven come - 05/12/2015

We pray for the worship life of our church regularly, and it is our prayer that our shared times of worship at St John’s will be powerful in their ability to draw us incredibly close to God.
As we worship we are:- joining with the sound of heaven and earth who are always praising their creator.- doing exactly what we were created to do- practicing for what we will be doing for eternity in heaven- longing for things on earth to mirror the perfect way that they are in heaven.
Through advent we are looking forwards to the day when Jesus returns and we are raised to eternal life with Him. But in the meantime, our desire is for the reality of heaven to be mirrored in our lives on earth – if Jesus comes back while we are doing this then great, but advent is about being active in our waiting, not passive.
Sometimes it feels like we are a million miles away from God, but when we worship together the gap between heaven and earth becomes thin. We can look at the face of God, we... Continued

Worship is weird - 21/11/2015

I’m sure that for many of us that have been part of a church for a number of months and years this is not the case, but WORSHIP IS WEIRD.
When else would a group of ‘normal’ people meet together to sing songs to a person/spirit/God that appears to be absent from the room?Even weirder, these songs are often about blood, being set free, and ‘giving Him our hearts’ … weird!
Our church is so blessed to have so many new folk coming to our services each week, especially when we have baptisms, or some of the big services at Christmas and Easter.
We need to think long and hard about how we make people feel welcome at our services, and singing about abstract concepts and using Christianese words is so often unhelpful.
Christianese is a term introduced to me by my good friend Sarah. It is what we use to describe those words that we only ever use in church. We all think we know what they mean, most of us probably don’t actually know what they mean,... Continued

Prayer - 14/11/2015

How can you go to bed feeling safe and wake up feeling unsafe?
The tragic events of last night haven't sunk in yet. All I do know is that what we can do immediately is pray.
We don't need a 'song for the week' and other opportunities to distract ourselves from what we should be doing which is to be on our knees praying for and on behalf of all those affected by this. 
Not saying sending a nice tweet that says something like 'praying for Paris', not sitting with our eyes closed for a few seconds and thinking about what's happened - we need to actually pray. Get alone with God, speak out loud, ask Him to be a part of the help that goes on there today, that His Holy Spirit will be present.
Then rinse and repeat later today and later this week. The situation won't stop in a single day and nor should our prayers.

Abba Father - 31/10/2015

Abba Father
Jen and I have always tried to bring our kids up to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, and sometimes it’s a bit of a struggle. I can remember a number of occasions where someone has given Bethany a present and she just won’t say ‘thank you’, and to be honest, after you’ve spent 5 minutes trying to persuade her to say ‘thanks’ it really is a bit meaningless to the person giving her the gift.But, sometimes, at the end of a busy day at work, Bethany will run towards me when I arrive home, throw her arms around me and say ‘I love you Daddy’. Sometimes I’ll treat her to an ice-cream and as I give it to her, her face lights up as she grins and says ‘thank you Daddy’. On these occasions it feels like we might actually be doing an ok job of being parents and that’s great. More than this though, I feel proud of her. She feels comfortable enough with the relationship she has developed with... Continued

I'll bring You more than a song - 24/10/2015

I’ll bring You more than a song
In John 4:23, Jesus says:‘a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks.’
Its interesting to notice that Jesus tells us here that God is looking for ‘worshipers’ and not for ‘worship’.Recently I heard Bill Johnson (an American pastor) say that God has always and will always be motivated only by love, and therefore He always chooses the best for us. So, if he calls us to be worshippers then it must be for our own good, and must have a lasting effect on our lives.
God has called us all to be worshipers. That doesn’t mean that everyone has been blessed with incredible musical ability, but that it is part of our spiritual DNA to worship God.I’ve said before that worship can be described as kissing the face of God, but worship is also described as the act of assigning worth to something.
Everybody... Continued

Our Eyes will be fixed on You - 17/10/2015

Our eyes will be fixed on You
It is such an enormous privilege to lead our congregation in worship each week and to stand at the front of church. From there I get to see the people of God meeting their creator. I can see those that are celebrating and those that are weeping, perhaps you may be surprised to know that it is usually pretty clear how 'alive' someone's relationship with God is by seeing how they worship.
That said, I really don't like being at the front! Having so many pairs of eyes on me is daunting, I often feel like running away, and I know that there are so many individuals in church from whom I could learn much more about worship. So it feels pretty strange to stand in front of them to show them ‘how its done’.
When we worship our eyes should be fixed on God and not on the person leading at the front. He should be at the front and centre stage in our hearts and minds, and from time to time I feel like having the band at the front of church is much help... Continued

Walk with me - 03/10/2015

Walk with me
Worship isn’t something that happens just on a Sunday, it’s something that happens all day, every day.
Every year our (growing) family help out at the annual St Johns pilgrimage to Staffordshire Showground for SoulSurvivor. A Christian festival where 4,000 young people descend upon a campsite and spend 5 days tormenting youth leaders with their inability to put up tents, cook and generally maintain an acceptable level of personal hygiene.Amongst the chaos, tired eyes and occasional rubbing someone up the wrong way…
Morning and night we all gather in a large warehouse to share in praise and worship, listen to teaching from the bible, and pray for each other. It is always incredible.
I’ve been going to these things for more years than I have toes, and every year without fail I learn something new about who God is and what He is all about. I love seeing how our young people encounter God, how He loves them and makes... Continued

I will lock eyes with the One who has chosen me - 25/09/2015

Ok, so for those of you that don’t know me, I’m Pete, I thought that perhaps I should start a semi-frequent blog/email to share some of my musings, deliberations, reflections and struggles with worship as and when I experience them.
In the interest of starting this blog honestly, I’ve often gone through times of being a rubbish Christian. I’ve heard countless sermons on reading my bible, praying and spending time with God but my desire and dedication to these things has so frequently been up and down like a yo-yo.
To be honest, until recently, I don’t think I’ve ever properly taken God at his word. The bible challenges us to ‘seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness1’, and that ‘faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ2’, but all too often I get to a difficult patch and I see that my daily time with God is falling rapidly down my list of priorities. Don’t get me wrong, my faith in who... Continued


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