Category: diary

Contagious Christianity…

I’ve just come back from my annual jaunt to the EMW Aberystwyth conference and feeling slightly more refreshed than usual! The messages this year seemed particularly poignant, and coupled with a slightly different circumstances in my role at the conference, meant I was able to listen with fewer distractions. (Let’s just say Ps 84:10 had quite a literal meaning!)

The main speaker this year was (Rev. Dr. – slightly unwieldy!)) Joel Beeke, a minister of a church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He’d spoken at the EMW conference before, and I’d found God had spoken through Joel’s ministry then, so I had a sense of expectation.

We were taken through four people of God throughout the week, seeing how they struggled with God and their circumstances. On Tuesday we started with Jacob becoming Israel (Gen 32:24) – how he wrestled with God. This would seem to be a foolish thing as God is infinitely greater than he is, both in knowledge and power. However, God was dealing graciously with Jacob, and ultimately demonstrated his power by touching his hip, causing him great pain and disabling Jacob from fighting any further. Through this struggle he would slowly change from being known as a deceiver to being known as one who wrestles with God. Changing from one who is self-serving, to one who serves God.

Secondly we looked at Bartimaeus, who sought Jesus unreservedly, thought nothing of what he already had, and told the world of what God had done for him. Bartimaeus sought to meet with Jesus, seeing Jesus for who he really was, and trusted him completely with his life. Through this, Jesus forgave Bartimaeus his sin, and to demonstrate he had the authority and power to do so, Jesus also healed him.

On Thursday, we looked at Jepthah’s Daughter. This was interesting in that Joel took on a different understanding of the text from most commentators, and had concluded that Jepthah’s daughter wasn’t sacrificed like the surrounding pagan nations would do, but was given in complete devotion to God. We saw how she accepted her situation, made preparations and entered into her calling completely, and in so doing, causing many others to devote themselves to God.

Finally we looked at Daniel, who suffered great hardship through being exiled in Babylon. Taken away from everything he loves and placed in the Babylonian court, to become a Babylonian. By God’s grace, he was enabled to engage with Babylon (the world), yet remain distinctly different. He refrained from adopting many of the practices of Babylon, keeping the commandments of his God, and yet he was promoted to one of the highest post in the land under the king and survived in that post until the end of the line of Babylonian kings.

From all four cases, it is apparent that we should trust God in all things, for he is almighty, just, and loves us.

If he is almighty and just, and also loves us, then what good thing will he withhold from us? If the blood of his Son was shed for us while we were still sinners, that we might be righteous in his sight and become his children, why should we doubt him?

When we doubt, we should confess our sin before God in repentance, pleading only through the merit of our Saviour.

Through seeking to trust him completely, being totally dependent on him, he is able to work in us, to use us for his glory. To enable us by his Spirit to live the life we was designed to live. A life which will glorify our God, which will speak of our Saviour and what he has done for us, and will be attractive to those around us, that they might want what we have, that they might seek God for themselves. We will have a Christianity which is contagious.


Long time, no blog[2]…

It seems like a long time since I rambled about inane trivia. Midsummers Day 2009 has gone already, and the nights are starting to draw in.

It’s been so long, that my mobile contract had expired and my trusty W910i was up for replacement. Fortunately, I didn’t have to give much thought to its replacement as the HTC Magic had just been released, and it looked like the perfect geek phone to me. For those of you who still have no idea what I’m talking about, it’s the second phone to be released with Google Android as its operating system.

My contract was modified slightly to accommodate unlimited internet access, which also meant a lot more free minutes and texts, and I can see why. Without constant and unlimited internet access, the features of this phone would be quite noticeably curtailed! When you first switch it on, it asks for your Google account details and then proceeds to sync with your Google contacts, calendar and Gmail. From then on, when you make any modifications to any of the above, either through the web, or via the phone, the two are almost always in sync.

Is it a good phone? Let’s just say that, I’m still very happy with it and I’m still downloading apps for it. The only phone I’ve come across which could possibly be better would be Apple’s iPhone, but even then, it’s a close call thing. The user interface of the Magic is very straightforward, making very good use of the touch screen. I’m still not over the novelty of being able to access my email, Gmail, and calendar wherever I am. The ability to download lots of apps, both from Google and from third-parties is brilliant compared to the paltry offerings available to the W910i. (I guess the hardware difference might contribute somewhat to that – The Magic is pretty much a computer in your palm!)

It’s been quite cool to watch Wimbledon live using beebplayer, whilst sitting in Kwik-Fit waiting for them to recharge the aircon in the car, or see the fuel usage per week with Mileage. Its GPS and Andnav2 have been quite handy when I’m in the middle of nowhere and the old paper map doesn’t seem to make much sense. The GPS and Sportypal also comes into its own as a way to record my walks and calculate how far I’ve walked and see how many calories I’ve burned. Occassionally I’ve gone to a church service without a paper bible, and used CadreBible. The most used app is probably twidroid, which allows me to Twitter from almost anywhere I care to be!

Which brings me full circle… I guess the reason I haven’t blogged much on the inane front is that Twitter allows me to do that and restricts me to only inflicting 140 characters of banality on you!

Now, what shall I do with my old phone?


Bake me a cake

This week’s been a fairly good week! Monday’s football was interesting, a player or two were rather unfit, coupled with being the numerically smaller team meant we lost by a significant margin! Wednesday was spent down the snooker hall with Ed and Dave P – a 2-2-2 result in the end, with a really impressive long pot by myself where the cue ball launched into the air, hit the object ball from a height and the object ball went straight into the pocket. πŸ™‚

Thursday’s bible study was on the 100th Psalm – Oh that the world would worship the Lord who is God.

Tonight was spent baking a cherry cake, and some of the young people came round for Perudo and then cake. πŸ™‚ The cake itself was remarkably straight forward, with a recipe from Delia, and all the necessary ingredients and utensils to hand. There’s now a half-eaten cherry cake sitting on my kitchen counter and I’m quite pleased with myself. I forgot to put in the ground almonds, but no one seems to have noticed.


What you don’t have, you don’t miss

It would seem that, when I look around at my friends, everyone around me has a laptop. Their reasoning for having one varies from it being their main/only computer, to something which is more convenient than a desktop, through to no reasoning at all. My mum recently acquired one, and I said I’d set it up. A quick download of Xubuntu, Gutsy Gibbon, (it’s an old laptop!) and it was up and running. Web surfing is accomplished by Firefox, dial-up access and wireless networking worked out of the box. Whilst it is in my possession, I figured I might as well use it, so Pidgin, Xnest and Gnomesword/ESV were installed which enable me to chat on MSN/GTalk/ICQ, open XDMCP sessions on my Fedora 8 box and read the bible all from the comfort of my bed. (Where I am now :))

Eventually I’ll return the laptop to my mum so she can use it to check her email and browse the web. The question I’m left with now is; Do I get a laptop? Sure, it’s nice for blogging from bed, or instant messaging in front of the telly, but do I really need one? It would be useful when I’m on holiday to copy photos onto so my camera doesn’t get clogged up, to watch DVDs, to make blog posts and email, but do I really need it?

I’m not sure I need it, but it’s sure nice. We’ll see I guess…


Feeling a little bit stiff!

It must be about a month since I last played football with my work colleagues. Admittedly, I played a couple of Saturdays ago in the HWEC vs HTC match (which we lost 3-6), but lack of regular exercise was significant I think! The fact we were the team of 4 against the team of 5 didn’t help. Ah well, despite losing, it was good to get back into the routine!


And breathe….

It seems like a long time since I last blogged about daily life! Things seem to have been very busy over the past few months, so I’m not sure if this post is a resurgence, or merely a blip. It also possible that because I haven’t blogged in a while, I’m out of the routine, and I may not get back into it.

Thinking back, I can’t actually remember what I’ve been doing! There have been a few births, birthdays, and marriage engagements.

At the end of January, there was the funeral of Peter. The day went very well. A combination of sadness of losing a well-loved member of my church, but also a sense of joy as I know he is now with his Lord).

Daily life seems to have settled after a year of almost constantly buying things for the house. I think I now have all the necessities and can let my bank balance recover. Anyway, we’ll see how we go. πŸ™‚


Long time, no blog…

To those who regularly read this blog, I do apologise for the lack of original ramblings of late! (I get the feeling I may be apologising to no one!) This is partly due to the madness of the Christmas season, and an inability to decline requests for help. Needless to say, even though Christmas is a long distant memory, January was busy!

Over the past months or so I have learnt a few new things which are possibly worth sharing.

I read somewhere that if your blog is mostly your own ramblings, rather than links to other people’s, you probably need a dose of humility. Fortunately, del.icio.us keeps me on the humble side!

Buying fruit loose is generally cheaper than buying prepacked. Case in point – I was in Sainsbury’s last week and saw a bag of 5 apples, ready packed, going for Β£1.99. I saw the same kind of apples being sold for Β£1.39/kg loose. I thought I’d try something, so picked out 5 apples, put them in a bag and went to the checkout. They came to Β£0.90(!) Over a pound cheaper than the prepacked! As an added bonus, they’re also a lot fresher – crisper and tastier! (Although I guess the latter is a little subjective and might be coloured by my feeling of self-satisfaction!)

Finally, the Sony Ericsson w910i rocks! A few weeks ago, I’d contacted my mobile operator with the intention of changing my tariff to something which would suit my needs better. I’d succeeded in increasing the number of free minutes and texts, whilst paying the same monthly rate, and the operator mentioned I was eligible for a free upgrade of my phone as well. Initially I was offered the Motorola K1 KRZR, but after a week of sending texts to the wrong people, finding the keypad irritating and generally being frustrated by the unresponsiveness of the software, I sent it back and was sent the w910i. Needless to say, because my previous phone was also an SE, I got on with the interface without hitch, the hardware is much higher build quality and it’s a whole lot more responsive than the Motorola! The fact it has a beautiful screen and plays mp3s is an added bonus!


Slow, Slow. Quick, Quick…

A rather relaxing day to start with, mostly spent having breakfast, playing the piano, playing the violin, tidying the house, doing some food shopping and trying to fix the installation of Direct X on my Windows box. For some reason, after installing the latest ATi drivers using Windows update, any 3D graphics use doesn’t work any more. Despite a lot of fiddling, it still doesn’t work, but then, it’s mostly games which are affected and given that it’s the mad rush leading up to Christmas, it’s probably a good thing.

The evening was spent at Feltham Evangelical Church for a talk by Paul Garner of Biblical Creation Ministries. His main emphasis was on the correct exegesis of Genesis 1, using various statistical and lexical analysis. After lots of powerpoint, I must admit to being strongly persuaded by the young earth argument. Time will tell I guess.

I finished the day helping prepare some food for the tomorrow’s lunch at FEC.

I’m now exhausted, but happy. πŸ™‚


This one’s a little weird

Started learning the Sicilienne attributed to Paradis which is rather tricky – especially as it’s only classified as grade 5! The Mozart Bagatelle is beginning to become second nature now, all I need to do is get it up to speed!


Tuppence a bag

Whilst it may have only cost tuppence to feed the birds, it usually costs Β£9.50 to enter St. Paul’s Cathedral! Compared to Β£5 to enter Salisbury Cathedral, this seemed a little steep. Fortunately, Southwest Trains have a 2 for 1 offer, which we duly used.

Admittedly, it seemed a little miserly considering that, unlike Salisbury, you get to climb to the top of the dome free of charge and you get a magnificent view of London.Β  Saying that, comparing Christopher Wren’s masterpiece to Richard Poore’s pride and joy is like comparing apples and oranges. They are both worth visiting, and I’d have difficulty in choosing a favourite!

Afterwards, we met up with some of the usual suspects to celebrate Abi and Ally’s birthday in Chiquitos. The company and conversation were great, although I’m not sure about the food!

Ah well, a good day none the less!


I am Beowulf…

I finally got to see Beowulf, and I’m not really sure what to make of the whole package. It’s based on an old English epic poem, and so is suitably dark and foreboding.

The techniques used in the production of the film are an unusual mixture of live action and computer graphics. I say unusual, as most films are predominantly live action with computer graphics layered on top, whereas Beowulf is computer graphics with live action layered in. The result is slightly unreal, and I couldn’t help feeling that something wasn’t right.

I also read up on the original story, and the screen play differs in a few significant points. I shan’t explain them for fear of spoiling the film, but have a look a the Wikipedia entry and make your own mind up.

Saying that, the film is still worth watching, although I’m surprised it was only a 12A!! There is much gore and sexual references!


Tastes a bit like coleslaw…

This was one of those rare occasions I drove into central London during the day. The Picadilly line between Acton Town and Hammersmith was out, so I abandoned any thought of public transport and went for the convenient option. I had my first taste of Kim Chee (κΉ€μΉ˜) for lunch! Daniella was a little worried I wouldn’t like it, but I liked it. Being me, it seemed to taste of coleslaw mixed with chilli peppers. The day was spent chatting first over lunch, and then over tea in a coffee shop later. Before I knew it, the afternoon had gone and it was dark!

The evening was spent ten-pin bowling to celebrate Christine’s birthday, which I haven’t done in ages! It showed in the results, although I neither came near the top, nor the bottom, so it wasn’t so bad. The remainder of the evening was spent socialising at Sarah’s – mostly observing a game of Compatibility. I’m shattered!


Cold and wet!

I must admit, being the slothful type, I wouldn’t have imagined myself playing football on a cold evening, with the rain beating down upon us. This evening just demonstrated how limited my imagination is! I think I must be mad! All I can say is that I was glad of a hot shower afterwards! (I think we might’ve even won as well :))


Sweet

Went to the Tate Britain this afternoon. It’s been a while since I’ve been here, and I must confess, I prefer this to the Tate Modern. I just don’t get on with modern art, and even if I don’t understand what the artist is trying to say, at least with traditional art, I can appreciate the beauty.

Afterwards, we had dinner in what I can only describe as a makeshift restaurant in China Town. Despite the surroundings, the food was delicious, with mixed seafood, mixed monks’ vegetables and the ubiquitous plain boiled rice.

A very good day!


And it was supposed to rain

Today was slightly different! Took the day off work and went down to Salisbury. Saw Stonehenge and Salisbury Cathedral. What a cool day! πŸ™‚