Go And Make 2010 Happen

Jeremiah 33:3 –  ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’

One of the things I regularly think about is the future. It might be a future week, a future year or even a future decade. It might be that I’m thinking about a significant life event, like my 30th birthday in February. I spend a lot of my time, I’m realising, thinking about the future.

If you’re a futurist like me, Strengths Finders (http://www.strengthsfinder.com/113647/Homepage.aspx) suggests:

“Partner with someone…who can remind you that you do not discover the future, you create it with the actions you take today.”

“Surround yourself with people who are eager to put your vision into motion. They will feel exhilarated by your Futuristic talents, and you can harness their energy to propel the vision toward reality.”

Normally I dislike “self help concepts” or “lead the best life yet” type of teachings, because they are often void of Scriptural foundations or Biblical principles. For instance, Jesus did come to give us abundant life, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a certain salary per year, 3 holidays and a caravan. Jesus was mainly referring to the abundance of knowing freedom from condemnation…the abundance of a life being a child of God. Having said that, there  are elements of helping ourselves in our co-working with God ( 1 Cor. 3: 5-9) that have to form part of our devotion – i.e. budgetting wisely, being careful to avoid laziness or slovenly habits that don’t encourage others.

So for us in 2010: I pray that instead of just temporary NY resolutions that fade that we have some new thoughts about how we can improve ourselves this year or some new ventures that will mould our presents into the futures we dream about. Some things are outside of our control but I know I want to get to grips with some things this year that I have God-given control over.

Ask God to help you find your strengths.  Think about them, invest in them, build around them and determine this New Year, with the Lord, to make your future. The God who knows everything, and specifically everything about you, invites you to pray Jeremiah 33:3 that He might help you make your future.

Ginger beards and shell-suits




The other day I was running along a canal near to where I live in Bradford and I was praying as I started picking up speed.



As I was running this particular day, a young chap with a bright ginger beard, a caring face and a full-length shell-suit caught my heightened attention as I noticed him stroll past me as I’d stopped to stretch. My half-hearted attempt to respond to what the Holy Spirit was saying was to ask him for the time, which he didn’t have.


“So you’ve just asked him for something you don’t need instead of giving him what you do have and that he desperately needs?”. That was my canal-side conviction.


Off I went a few minutes later thinking I might see him again, and I did, coming back towards me. This time I bailed out again – silly thoughts overtaking the Holy Spirit  in me –  ‘what should I say?’ –  knowing full-well that I’d know right in the minute. 


I carried on running away from this chap who I’d just passed again. I didn’t get much past a minute down the canal and I had to turn back around. If you want it to, the love of Christ will compel you. Up ahead I saw the guy who I was just about to find out was called Adam. Jesus is awesome and He’s with you – that’s all he needed to hear.


The smile that crept across my face after we’d finished talking told me, “that’s it!!”. 


When we engage with what God is saying at any given moment we cast ripples across eternity. 


I kicked a few stones in the canal and praised God.



No-one Like You God

In Exodus 15:11 the phenomenal prophet, Moses, says,

“”Who among the gods is like you, O LORD ? 

       Who is like you— 
       majestic in holiness, 
       awesome in glory, working wonders?”


Today, often in the shadow of Islamic mosques, Jehovah’s Witness call-outs and the world’s obsession with political correctness, the prophetic accuracy of Moses’ song above seems to be a distant Old Testament psalm, and Easter is just another calendar date,

But in reality this truth remains today, Easter 2009, in exactly the same way as it did 4,000 years ago…that there really is no-one, not even close, like the God of the Bible – Jesus Christ.

Who can compare to Jesus Christ? Who is like our Abba of Isa.53 who would desire that His Son be crushed (Isa.53:10), despite the searing pain to the Godhead. Who, for the joy set before Him, endured the cross for the pleasure of you and me? (Heb.12:2)

The Easter truth today is that, despite world-wide cultural norms, spiritual strong-holds, fears and Western apathy, Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father of all creation. Even if you struggle to accept Him, even if you struggle to see and savour Him…there is still No-one like the Lord…majestic in His splendour, all-powerful in heaven and earth.

Why not make your prayer today….Jesus, if you are really real, and if you are really the only way to know this peace I’m after,I’ve tried everything else, then please show me yourself now….amen.


I pray that for you guys with all my heart.


Happy Easter:)


<a href=”http://technorati.com/claim/cnaxkskbde” rel=”me”>Technorati Profile</a>

Nations Sing

Have you ever been in the fray of a concert or propping the bar up at a gig and, without warning,  you have felt the hairs on the back of you neck stand tall? Something has happened in the music that has resonated with you deeply and that has caused a physiological response. Or it might be that a tear inexplicably wells up. Music does stuff. It affects us. It moves us.

But more than this, music and song moves the unseen spiritual realm as well as our bodies. In the Bible, David played the harp for his leader and King, and at the stroke of his hands evil spirits left Saul who was being tormented by selfishness and insecurity. Music brought Saul relief from evil. (1 Samuel 16:23)

This is an Old Testament picture of the way that in the 21st Century, in the New Testament blessing that we live in today, music is bringing relief and healing from evil. Music and song, but more specifically praise and worship rooted in love for Jesus, is bringing healing to the Nations and peoples of the world.

Psalm 96 is a prophetic cry for all of creation to sing new songs of praise to our God. Poetically, the psalmist pictures the fields, trees and forests rejoicing in response to the exceedingly eternal worth of Jesus. Prophetically, it is a call for the day when He will make all things new (Revelation 21) and creation will be liberated from its bondage to decay, being brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God, (Romans 8: 20-22).

In our day God is doing a precious and historic thing in worship, music and song within the Nations. There is a call of mission and justice coming from within the worship of the hour too. It is is the cry of the Father that all Nations would know Him as He is and that they would sing praise to Him, giving Him the honour due to Him….”Ascribe to Him…declare among the Nations”.

There is a turning in the songs of the hour that is healing people and the Nations of our world as Jesus is revealed through them.

Sing, O Nations!

Christmas Cheers

Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, as though he needed a ride, was actually a beautiful moment in Scripture when prophecy about the Christ was fulfilled. Isn’t it interesting that the Christ, the Saviour should enter the city to the mass hysteria of the people, sat on the back of a donkey – a common working animal. Perhaps a horse would have been more appropriate or a fleet of chariots, but Jesus came humbly whereupon he was met with the cheers and salutations of the crowds.

This Christmas, how do our lives reflect the King that came on a donkey? Do our lives crave the praises of men or fear the rejection of them? Jesus’ humility on a donkey was securely rooted in His felt sense of acceptance of the Father Yahweh, which is why he didn’t play to the crowd with chariots and why he didn’t run from the crowds days later when the shouted “crucify him! crucify him!”.  Let us explore and discover how truly loved and accepted we are by God this Christmas and revel in this as the real joy of Christmas present.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government will be upon his shoulders. He will be called wonderful, counsellor, prince of peace, everlasting Father!

The Prophet Isaiah





<a href=”http://technorati.com/claim/cnaxkskbde” rel=”me”>Technorati Profile</a>

John 17:26 – What Is This Love?

26I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
The Father's love
The Father's love

Jesus’ words in this section of scripture should be met with a hushed silence as we listen in on His intimate conversations with the Father.

Jesus requests that the love in the Father’s heart for Jesus, His Son, would be the same love that burns in our hearts for Jesus. This is a stunning thought.

I pray that we would come to know this love more and more and that it would be the treasure we cherish above all things. Father, help us to love as you love…not with sentiment or human efforts, but to love in the power of your Name. Amen.

Mount God – part 3


So, distractions…..

I want to make this the last entry on Mount God becuase my intention is to encourage you to start ‘climbing’ in your walk with God with new intention, urgency and creativity and to leave you to explore the Holy Noth Face – in new ways!

I am learning that God is continually inviting me to climb higher that I ever have before. If you imagine God up ahead of you waving you through shouting “c’mon!…I can’t wait for you to see this…meet them…do that” – the Creator of the Universe, that we have the incomprehensible privilege of calling Dad, is an excited God. He is like a Child on Christmas eve, anticipating the gifts and treats and festive fun of the next day. And yet His excitement is not centred on Himself, it is centred on our exploration of unchartered territory in spiritual places.

Reading the beginning of Ephesians is like being told about all the Christmas presents that you have waiting for you…except that you already have them. Every spritual blessing is ours in Christ. We are heavenly billionaires with excess and yet we can become overwhelmed witht the prospect that many of the blessings can remain undiscovered – unrealised.

I remember one Christmas as a kid and I got everything I was hoping for. Everything. This included the Optimus Prime figure that I really, really wanted. And I can remember the strange feeling of wanting to give some stuff away because I felt like I had too much stuff to process at once. I needed things in smaller chunks. One present at a time – perhaps one a day for the next week or something. But the mound of presents that I had unwrapped and were sat neatly piled on the carpet in front of me was too much.

I think we read the fact in Ephesians 1 that we have “every spiritual blessing in Christ” and look at it like I looked at my Christmas Mount that day – we don’t know where to start.

God invites us to explore the spiritual realm. He invites us to be more supernatural. He invites us to exercise more spiritual authority and to take risks.

I have a conviction that holiness is the currency of this journey, this ride. Can you commit to the expedition of Mount God, of exploring prayer at new heights and worship as a lifestyle in new depths? Can you relax and allow God to guide you? Can you take steps away from distractions so deadly and yet so subtle?

Just as adverse weather fronts can make natural climbs impossible, so do the distractions of excessive leisure time. We’re obsessed with ‘chilling out’ and ‘relaxing’. Of course this is awesome in its place, but how about getting alone with God for 90 minutes instead of watching a dvd? How about coming before Him with a fresh sense of wonder and excitement and imagination?

Imagine what is up in front of you…imagine what sights…imagine what revelations.

God Himself longs for us to have a holy focus in that place – that’s why Jesus advised going into the secret place and closing the door. What do you and I need to close the door on? I know I need to close the door on voices, thoughts and other desires…maybe it’s ambition at work or perhaps apathy. We all need to close the door on apathy at times. But the reason Jesus advised closing the door and yourself into that place is because there is Someone waiting within.

I find it a stunning reality that every day I can wake up and wait on the One who created all things and yet I find it so difficult sometimes, just to wait patiently.

In climbing Mount God this is the biggest key…waiting on the voice of God…listening. John 15 describes it as ‘abiding’.

I could write on and on about this but perhaps I have been coherent enough to excite you and stir you into exploring this Place with God.

Be persistent at it…that is what I am learning.

Love ya all,


Mount God – part 2


Following on from where I left off earlier regarding Mount God…

The Mountainside was a place that Jesus Himself often frequented as part of His commitment to a spiritually diciplined life-style. You only ever see Jesus with company on a mountain on the occasion when He took Peter, James and John and was transfigured before them as He talked with Moses and Elijah. And on this occasion Jesus set the disciples up to hear the Father’s feelings on solitude, i.e. “This is my Son…listen to Him.” Arguably, listening to Jesus is easier when you’re on your own.

Normally Jesus would withdraw to ‘lonely places’, often in mountainous locations, to pray and be alone with the Father. This is significant. In these times I bet Jesus sang and laughed, cried and asked questions, but first and foremost He would worship. This tells me that I need to do the same – I need to get away from the crowd and be alone with God if I am to climb, as He did. Praying with others is good and important but there is no replacement for the ‘loneliness’ associated with the secret place which is 1:1 – you and God.

I see this 1:1 audience with God as a key to climbing the ‘Holy North Face’. A.W.Tozer writes about the “knowledge of the holy” and to be alone with the Father is the only place we will be empowered to climb Mount God, pursue peace and lives of Christ-exalting holiness.

What are the main distractions from our mountainsides?

We’ll look at this next time.

Think on dudes,


The Permission to Love – can we have a paradigm change?

Hey All

Picture the scene, (actually try to imagine and feel it): 

It is AD 111 in Antioch and a man is facing the prospect of a horrifying death at the hands of Emperor Trajan (and his lions) for being a follower of Christ. You can hear almost silent mumblings that, as you draw nearer, can be deciphered as prayers,

“O Lord, I thank You that You have guaranteed to honour me with a perfect love toward You…”

His fervent prayer provokes a sense of holy unworthiness in you and of respect and admiration as you reflect on this man’s dying request: there is no mention of some kind of supernatural anaesthesia to numb the pain, or of an other-worldly way of escape to be granted; rather, the prayer is for an increase in his capacity to love his God.

I find this prayer fascinating and sobering because Ignatius clearly esteemed the permission to love God as an honour, indeed to the extreme of the giving of his life. It is humbling that a man on death row would use his ‘one call’, as it were, to further explore what it means to love God, recognising that only God Himself can grant the permission to be more abandoned to Him.

It is a much undiscovered mystery within Christendom that to love God is the greatest pleasure possible – the greatest. Ignatius understood and lived this out in reality as it spilled out of him in prayer as he contemplated being eaten alive by wild beasts.

The Challenge

My desire as a follower of Christ is to love Him as I should – i.e. perfectly but my understanding of the Bible is that I will never be at this stage this side of eternity. However,  I do want to be as far along the journey as possible before I die or Jesus splits the sky.

This supernatural relationship with God is a pursuit. A.W.Tozer talks about seeking God with ‘urgency’ and ‘creativity’ and these are two keys in moving towards loving God more perfectly. Tozer’s ‘prevenient drawing’, that, briefly stated, says that there has to have been a supernatural work in our hearts (by God) before we could show even the faintest interest in Him (We love Him because He first loved us), has to be understood in this context. This should propel us into the fascination that Ignatius was bound by.

Loving God is not about sentiment or goose bumps even, it is about the giving of everything as an expression of preferring God above all things, even life itself. Paul boldly proclaimed to the church in Philippi: “For, to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Phil.1:21). I can imagine Ignatius declaring these words too. Are they a true reality in your life or are they the lyrics in a song, perhaps? A neat idea? A post-modern paradigm?

Let us pursue the love of God in prayer, in worship and in life that He might allow us to fall more in love with Him. Let our love for Jesus take us to new places, to new people and to new burdens. Let our love for God swell into a crescendo to replace every proud ambition or selfish desire and that we might have our eyes opened to His fantastic love for us.

Let us esteem the honour of being enabled to love Him as the greatest reward possible.



Mount God – part 1

In Ps.24:3, King David throws out the question, “Who may ascend the hill of the Lord, who may stand in that holy place…?”. Personally, I love the way that Peterson renders it in the Message, using the phrase Mount God instead of Holy Hill. The reason I love this is because I feel it better conjures an image of an Everestesque mountain rather than a recreational tor on Dartmoor.

A life of purity and holiness rarely feels like a walk in the park or an amble up Hay Tor. In reality it is never a walk in the park. The pursuit of God and His holiness is a pursuit that requires God Himself to push us up when we lose our footing or the finger-numbing frost-bite means we can’t hold on. God is always at our side as we negotiate sheer faces and crumbling foot-holds.

Scaling Mount God is like committing to climb Everest in the knowledge that few make it and some don’t return at all. Just in the same way that it would be obscencely foolish to climb Everest without supplys of nourishment and oxygen, climbing Mount God without firm faith in God’s unfailing grace and commitment to us would also be futile.

You see, when the ferocious artic winds lash at our faces and when icey crevices seem to give way from underneath our feet, God is always there to push us up. He’s already there in the Holy Place (it is  a place, guys) also pulling us up: He cheer-leads; He forgives; He inspires and he promotes love-sickness for Him in our hearts. Love-sickness with Jesus is the purpose of the spiritual discilpines.

I want to be a God-seeker, a God-quester. The exploration of holiness is an obsession. This will also be your obsession if this resonates with you as God Himself forms His otherworldly character in our jars of clay.

We desire to be like God and gaze at Him in His Holy Place. We desire to witness an open heaven and the fruit of righteousness in our lives and others. We desire to see nations saved,  raised and reformed in rigteousness.

And so our prayer must be:  “Holy are You Lord, sanctify my heart”.

But make no mistake, we need to decide to climb. There are no short cuts or base camps but there is the prospect of standing in the Holy Place as Nathanael must have imagined as he reeled after Jesus had seen him under the fig tree. Nathanael was promised visions of angelic ascensions and descentions but Jesus had also shown us that there was nothing false in him…he was a genuine article. He was a God-seeker climbing Mount God but when Jesus called him he must have had a stumble. That was ok though – God was there to lift him up, spur him on and give him a commissioning that focused on the Kingdom that had come and was standing in front of him.