About Me

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Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire, United Kingdom
Broadcaster, musician, song writer, tea drinker and curry lover.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Stepping off the edge of the world.

I was at a birthday party last night in an amazing house perched up on the hills overlooking the city. My first thought on arriving was "This is heaven!". It was the kind of place and the kind of setting that, were I to live in such a place, I would seriously find it very hard to leave....at all.

What impressed me most though was that the owners were totally normal, down-to-earth people. In fact, many people I have gotten to know here in the States who might be considered to own what we in the UK might refer to as "luxury homes" are equally down to earth, and feel very much that what's theirs belongs to everybody.

This reminds me of my friends the Harpurs who live in Northern Ireland, and who were the people I met and stayed with when I first visited the Province back in the 80s. They then had a large house and had been wrestling with the whole question of whether it was too large, and whether they should downsize.

They came to the conclusion - and I agreed with them - that a house that big could  and should be a blessing to others. That it could be used, for example, for gatherings of youth groups and other fellowships, where other venues might just be too small. And that's exactly what they did. And it was a blessing. To many. And to them also.

God gifts us all in unique ways. It might be an ability, it might be a quality, or it might be a possession. What matters is not that you have it, it's what you do with it.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Sowing into the Future

Our church has just come to the end of it's Summer VBS and as ever I am in awe of those who give everything they have, and then a little bit more, to sow priceless things into the lives of the kids in their care.

Time after time this week I have seen people who have already put in a full day's work come into church with a smile on their faces and throw themselves 110% into making Jesus real and relevant to these youngsters with no thought of themselves and their own tiredness.

The ultimate reward I guess is seeing dozens of kids on their knees before the father, and the sheer joy and abandon of children worshiping, and this has been very evident all week.

To those who prepared the church, and those who sacrificed time and energy, my words are meaningless, but all I can do is offer my admiration and my assurance that, according to Isaiah 55:10-11:

"As the rain and the snow come down from heaven,  and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."

Monday, June 21, 2010


I'm wondering whether it is okay to be dissatisfied with life. On the one hand it's good to never rest on your laurels and strive for better things, but allied to that I just have this indefinable feeling that life is incomplete.

On Father's Day, I guess inevitably, my thoughts turn to my dad, and I can't help but notice that by the time he had reached my age, he had his own house, and was married with 2 kids in their teens, one of them about to leave home for university.

Now I know that comparisons are not always helpful, but when I look at what I have actually "achieved" in life, I can't help but think that it is not very much. I mean, what have you got to show for your time on earth? When I ask myself the same question it is very hard to think of anything at all.

Maybe it's just today and I'm being too introspective, but despite the obvious fact that this life is just a passing phase leading to eternity with God, it would still be really nice to make some kind of mark. From a purely earthly point of view however, I just feel I have nothing to show for 46 years on earth.

Anyone else ever feel the same or is it just me thinking too deeply...?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Ahead of Father's Day....

I bring you this from Douglas MacArthur:

Build me a son, O Lord,
Who will be strong enough to know when he is weak,
And brave enough to face himself when he is afraid;
One who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat,
And humble and gentle in victory.
Build me a son whose wishbone will not
Be where his backbone should be;
A son who will know Thee- and that
To know himself is the foundation stone of knowledge.
Lead him, I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort,
But under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge.
Here, let him learn to stand up in the storm;
Here, let him learn compassion for those who fall.
Build me a son whose heart will be clear,
Whose goals will be high;
A son who will master himself
Before he seeks to master other men.
Build me a son who will
Learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep;
One who will reach into the future,
Yet never forget the past.
And after all these things are his, add, I pray,
Enough of a sense of humor,
So that he may always be serious,
Yet never take himself too seriously.
Give him humility, so that he may always remember
The simplicity of true greatness,
The open mind of true wisdom,
The meekness of true strength.
Then I, his father, will dare to whisper,
“I have not lived in vain.”


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

In case you were wondering....

I really don't have anything to say at the moment.......

Monday, June 7, 2010


My friend Breanna graduated from high school this weekend, as did a number of our church young people, with more to follow next weekend. This was the first time I had really been close to a graduation, and as I've already hinted on Facebook, it has been a really life-affirming experience.

In the UK the only graduations are for finishing college - which I did not do - so I never actually graduated, at least, not with any sense of having done so. Plus going to an all-boys high school means that I really have no happy high school memories. Elementary School - yes. Many happy memories!

I love the fact that in this country there are graduation ceremonies going all the way back to Kindergarten, but for me, what makes the high school graduation special is that it draws a line under a pivotal era in a person's life, and marks the beginning of a new stage in life's journey. I think we need life's signposts like this and just by looking at the faces of the young people and their families, it was obvious how much this meant to them all.

I guess over this weekend I've not only found myself wishing I could get back some of that long lost youth, but also feeling a great deal of pride in the young people, many of whom I do not know, who I saw resplendent in their caps and gowns, and for whom the future is an exciting vista of opportunity. I also felt a renewed sense of gratitude for the family I have here in the US, and also renewed admiration for schools like Cascade Christian High School, a school which I would have given anything to go to in my era.

Finally, to Breanna, Mason, Evan and all those others (yes, even Scott, graduating from college), I say congratulations and send my love. Enjoy the ride, guys!