Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Here I go...

From tomorrow I'm a Cambridgite - how weird! I've only ever visited the city 3 times in my life and now I'm moving there! How bizarre! And for those who keep asking, no I'm not going to the uni, I don't think my poor little brain is quite up to a physics pHD from Cambridge! I'm working at the brilliant Rock Baptist church (as far as I can tell full of some of the lovelist people in the world!) Am well excited about it now, having been in a bit of a strop with God for the past few days I'm now ready to jump into the unknown knowing He has the best for me. Bring it on! Anyhoo as I step into the unknown, I don't know where the next internet connection is coming from so I may be offline for a while (or I may not...!) Bear with me!

Friday, August 26, 2005

What does it mean to trust God?

I was ponderingt this question today when I was out riding. God showed me that I am actually quite a lot like Kira, the horse I wsa riding (God speaking through horses... Balems ass comes to mind! (btw I will soon stop banging on about horses but as it stands at the moment, they are my world!) You see, Music, the horse I used to ride, didn't really used to trust me very much when it came to path I chose for her. She'd lived at the stables all her life and knew the surrounding bridleways like the back of her hoof. She knew exactly which the quickest way home was, and whenever I tried to tell her to take a path that wasn't the quickest way home, or a different path from usual, she'd set her jaw against the bit and stubbornly refuse. We'd have an arugment for a few minutes before she finally caved in and went the way I wanted her to, dragging her hooves all the way. Kira, on the other hand, is a baby, and doens't know her way around. She trusts me totally, never questioning the way I send her. She believes that I will take her home eventually. However, this doesn't stop her getting distracted along the way - starring into fields, forgetting where she's going, and sometimes getting scared by things along the way. But it jsut takes a kick in the ribs to get her back on course. I want to be more like Kira than Music with God. I don't want to stubbornly think I know best. i can see how I am like Kira, I want to do God's will without aruging, but sometimes I seem to forget who God is and that he is in control, I get distracted and scared by things along the way. I want to trust God more, but I'm not sure what that means. I htink I need a belt in the ribs!
'For it is written: Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you. And so we say with confidence: the Lord is my helper I will not be afraid, what can man do to me?' Hebrews 13:5-6

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Ok, random picture of a cute horse... just because I wanted to!! (hey i only have use of my parents broadband for another week!)
This is Bluebell - she's a yearling foal at the stables - isn't she cute?!
Going back and moving on… went to Brighton last weekend. Had a brilliant time, but it was really weird. I don’t live there anymore. I had a good time of closure with God though. I left kicking and screaming at the end of June, not wanting to go at all. But wandering through the Lanes on Sunday, I knew that however much I love Brighton, I have work to do elsewhere in the next year. I went to Brighton very excited about my move to Cambridge, I came back a bit more sombre with a bit more of a reality check. I love Brighton, I love the community I had there, I love being able to wander into a friends house, hang out with them for a bit then wander onto another friends house, I love the studentness of spending Saturday nights with large numbers of randoms eating pizza and shouting at X-factor, I love spending hours on end chatting with my best mates about life, the Universe and everything. I know not all of that will disappear when I go to Cambridge, but it will be very different. So as I start again to sort out and pack up my stuff, I’m still excited about moving to Cambridge, what God’s going to do in me and through me there, but I know its going to be hard, and I am afraid. But fear drives me to dependency on God, which is never a bad place to be.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Its been an interesting week involving going to Thorpe Park for my brothers birthday (he’s 27!), attending a dismal opening game of the season at Aldershot (who lost 2-0 to Tamworth (the home of the famous pig) sadly the roof of the East Bank terrace at Aldershot was as leaky as their defence – I got soaked! Been riding The Beast (aka Kira) quite a bit (been told by quite a few old ladies that I’m riding a different horse – well noticed (and you are…?)) and reading the brilliant Jesus Driven Ministry (which I did start last November but WILL finish before I go to Cambridge!!) The highlight of the week has been spending the day at Soul Survivor with my wonderful mate Anna, who isn’t a Christian. It was well interesting seeing the event from an atheists perspective. Had the fab opportunity of praying for her (or sending out positive thoughts as she likes to think of it (however much I tell her I’m talking to the Creator of the Universe for her!!) I think she came away from it with quite a positive view, especially impressed at the unity of different denominations (which I am glad about coz it could of gone either way!!) tho she still doesn’t believe its true .. I spose only God can do that (I wish He’d hurry up!! I know, I know perfect timing n everything but still!!) Anyhoo, off to beautiful Brighton this weekend – yay!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Its over a week now since I got back from Bulgaria – how bizarre – I think Bulgarian weeks must be longer than English ones! Still very much missing Bulgaria – the friendships, fun, sunshine, watching God at work, being spurred on in my relationship with Him by my team-mates, even the perpetual making a fool out of myself. But anyway, that’s gone now and I’m still here in Normandy. I have been appreciating my
surrounding more in the last few days – I do live in a beautiful place where I can wander out of my front door and walk for miles in stunning countryside. My parents are home from holiday now, so I have people to talk to! (and strop at… though hopefully not tooo much!) Music’s gone – a very sad day. But I’ve been given another horse to ride. Kira, a young, armchairish cob of about twice the width of Music, and half the brain power. Her owners even gonna pay for me to have lessons on her (to teach her to bend) which is soo nice, and I’ve been riding her out with some crazy Normandy housewives, which has been much fun. So God seems to be providing for me even in Normandy (what He’s everywhere??!)

(photo is of me and Kira (Steve - she's bay (brown with a black mane and tail - will educate you all on horse colouring!! :o) )
I’ve been reading Isaiah recently. It’s a brilliant book. Just got up to chapter 35 where it gets a bit nice. The first 34 chapters are focused on God’s judgement of Israel, Judah and surrounding nations. Although this is sometimes grim reading, it has the occasional glimmer of hope and it reminds me of the complete holiness of God and how much he hates sin, and exactly what I deserve for rebelling against Him. Again and again God despairs of Israel and Judah putting their faith in the strength of their neighbours rather than in God. As Isaiah so aptly puts it ‘But the Egyptians are men and not God’ – yet Judah was still putting their trust in Egypt rather than in God. Why do I put my trust in things that aren’t God? Why do I think I’ll be ok if I have friends around me and I’m in a place I know? Surely I’m putting my faith in these things rather than in God. I want to trust in God. What’s the point in trusting other things – they are not God they cannot save me. And yet, even though I don’t always trust God as I should He still wants to know me. In chptr 35 Isaiah paints a beautiful picture of what heavens gonna be like – and the fact it is the redeemed who will be there. I will be in heaven, not coz of anything I’ve done but because of what Jesus did for me – we have an awesome God!

Sunday, August 07, 2005

After 8 years of looking after the wonderful Music (aka the Best Horse In the World Ever) as practically my own horse - tomorrow its Bon Voyage as she heads off to France to rejoin her owners who've moved out there. Normandy is gonna be a weird place without her - she's been part of most of the days I've spent at my parents house. We've had some good times and some not so good times - we've worked together (and come away with a few rosettes at local shows) and we've worked against each other (when usually I make friends with the ground quicker than I expcectd to!) She's been a really fun horse to look after - we get on quite well coz we're both quite stubborn and a bit stroppy. But anyway... she'll have to learn French now (and I can go on cheap riding holidays - hooray!)
Our beautiful team
Well, a few days on and my stomachs glad to be back from Bulgaria (its loving the non-salty, non-greasy, non-gone-off-milky, slightly healthy breakfasts I've been feeding it!) but the rest of me not so much. Its really strange after having been surrounded by loads of brilliant, fun people for 2 weeks to suddenly be flung into complete solitude in the darkest depths of Normandy. However, thankfully the Lord doesn't ever leave us or forsakes us so its not like I'm completely alone! I've been learning more of the amazingness of his grace. Bizarrely - he loves me jsut as much now as I sit quietly and contemplate him (or even just bum around on the web) as he did when I was preaching the gospel in Bulgaria. Weird. Its like grace is a free gift or summat!! Anyhoo, apart from speaking with the Creator of the Universe, I've spent the past few days helping Dancing Dave caption a few of his 1200 photos (thanks Dave, its kept me entertained!) check em out! Also, we're on the UCCF website - get our fame!!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Here are the lyrics (well the girls part anyway) of 'You are Holy' (I think by Michael W Smith) in Bulgarian. Its spelt out phonetically coz I'm afraid Cyrillic is still a bit beyond me!

Ti see svet Bog (ti see svet Bog)
Ti mogust see (ti mogust see)
E destoien (e destoien)
Swarvar tay see (Swarvar tay see)
Schtay tay sledwann (Schtay tay sledwann)
Schtay tay swooshum (schtay tay swooshum)
E obichum (E obichum)
Pres sich-key dnee (pres sich-key dnee)

Ti see gospadar
Na Tsar-atay Tsar
Say mogustey Bog
Ti vsechko see
Teb Emmanu-eel
Vay leigh chiertay
Ti seee k-naise nah mir
Ti see agnay-toe
Ti see jeeve moi Bog
Ti see me lois teef
Schtay tsar ruvush vechno
Praydi vsechko see
Ti see Alpha, Omega
Nar-chower e cry
Moi Sparsetel, Messeeah
Priartel, e Tsar
Ti see k-nays na mir
Schtay jevayer as zar teb.
Right, Bulgarian reflections. Well - to explain, I've just been out on a UCCF summer team to teach english and the gospel to Bulgarian students. I had an amazing time, full of fun, fotos and the faithfulness of God. I was thoroughly refreshed again by the simplicity and amazingness ofthe gospel. Again and again I told of the love of God, of how Jesus' death deals with all our rubbishness and means we can come to God, I never got bored of telling it. At one point, when giving a talk on 'how can I have a relationship with God' I was almost moved to tears by a fresh realisation of what Christ had done for me. It was brilliant watching God at work bringing many Bulgarians closer to him, knowing that it was all him and not us. Like Paul in Corinth when did not go with eloquence or superior wisdom when we proclaimed the testimony about God. Even if we'd had these things before (which I don't think I do anyway!) they were totally stripped away by the language barrier and we were totally reliant on Jesus Christ and him crucified. We went in weakness and fear and with much trembling (especailly before the Bulgarian students arrived, when personally I just felt completely sick and helpless, not knowing how on earth i was going to communicate the gospel to these people from a totally different culture some of whom would speak practically not english). But we relied on God's power and saw him at work (1 Cor 2:1-5) God really does use the weak and foolish things of the world (and believe me we were increbibly foolish (what happened in Bulgaria, stays in Bulgaria the mantre which I'm afraid Mr Dave Long and his 1200 photos plus video clips may break!))

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Well, everyone else is blogging so I thought I may as well get on board. Dunno how long it'll last - I'm not the most reflective person in world! However, having a fair bit of time on my hands and my parents broadband at my disposal I thought I may as well. Also, having just returned from the amazing place that is Bulgaria I have many thoughts and musings rushing around in my head, which will probably help me to write down... even if they are incredibly dull to read!! They will randomly appear over the next few days!