About Me

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

Monday, March 26, 2012


As the time has drawn nearer and nearer for me to leave the USA after 5 years and travel back to the UK, I have become more and more excited about why God has called me to visit there at this time, and just what he has in store for me. One thing which has made this possible is the unmistakable way that God has been speaking to me through what those without my faith would call "coincidence".

Let me explain. When I left Medford 2 weeks ago, the sermon series at my church there had been on Joseph, who - you may or may not know - was compelled to go far away from home through what turned out to be divine providence for good. I couldn't help but take notice of the parallels to my situation. Having to leave my new home for a faraway country, wondering why on earth God would allow such a thing.

When I got here to Olympia, I found that the sermon series at Church of the Living Water was on.....yep - Joseph, and even a guest speaker last week, Banning Liebscher from Bethel/Jesus Culture in Redding was talking about things I could totally relate to considering what lies ahead of me.

You could call this coincidence, but I call it the voice of God. I was also given verses from Hebrews chapter 11 talking about how by faith Abraham was called to a far off place and obeyed, even though he didn't know where he was going (Hebrews 11:8-10).

Taking all these into account, it's clear that God is speaking to me, and I'm excited to see what opportunities he opens up over there. It's up to me to be open and obedient to God and serve as best I can.

Right now, there are no concrete job leads. A one-day-a-week possible radio job, and the hope of something linked to a London church, but really nothing definite. I'm not really worried though. I'm trying to follow up some leads and after that it's really up to God to place me where he wants. I know he wouldn't leave me high and dry, because that's simply not the kind of God he is.

So, a big thank you to everyone I've come into contact with here at COLW these past 2 weeks.I look forward to keeping you updated as the journey begins...in more ways than one...tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Legalism Vs Grace

Today's Max Lucado excerpt in Grace For The Moment draws a striking comparison between works and grace. I couldn't possibly put it any better than Max himself, so here's what he says in the book "He Still Moves Stones".

"All the world religions can be placed in one of two camps:  legalism or grace.  Humankind does it or God does it.  Salvation as a wage based on deeds done — or salvation as a gift based on Christ’s death.

A legalist believes the supreme force behind salvation is you.  If you look right, speak right, and belong to the right group, you will be saved.  The brunt of responsibility doesn’t lie within God; it lies within you.

The result?  The outside sparkles.  The talk is good, and the step is true.  But look closely.  Listen carefully.  Something is missing.  What is it?  Joy.  What’s there?  Fear.  (That you won’t do enough.)  Arrogance.  (That you have done enough.)  Failure.  (That you have made a mistake.)…

Spiritual life is not a human endeavor.  It is rooted and orchestrated by the Holy Spirit.  Every spiritual achievement is created and energized by God."


The world philosophy that you have to make it happen couldn't be more different from the Christian princple of grace, which - it should be re-emphasized - is not encouraging the lazy approach of sitting back and waiting for something, but is in fact encouraging ACTIVE ACCEPTANCE of what we do not deserve.

"You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins.  He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. "

Colossians 2:13-14 (NLT)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Man or Rabbit?

So as I've said, I'm reading this devotional book featuring various writings of C.S. Lewis. Today's meditation really hit me because it shows very well the differences between how Christians perceive doing good, as opposed to non-Christians. The two agree in many areas, but there are just as many areas where the views of the two converge. I've reproduced the passage in full here. It comes from Lewis' book God In The Dock.

"If Christianity should happen to be true, then it is quite impossible that those who know this truth and those who don’t should be equally well equipped for leading a good life. Knowledge of the facts must make a difference to one’s actions. Suppose you found a man on the point of starvation and wanted to do the right thing. If you had no knowledge of medical science, you would probably give him a large solid meal; and as a result your man would die. That is what comes of working in the dark. In the same way a Christian and a non-Christian may both wish to do good to their fellow men. The one believes that men are going to live forever, that they were created by God and so built that they can find their true and lasting happiness only by being united to God, that they have gone badly off the rails, and that obedient faith in Christ is the only way back. The other believes that men are an accidental result of the blind workings of matter, that they started as mere animals and have more or less steadily improved, that they are going to live for about seventy years, that their happiness is fully attainable by good social services and political organisations, and that everything else (e.g., vivisection, birth-control, the judicial system, education) is to be judged to be “good” or “bad” simply in so far as it helps or hinders that kind of “happiness”.

Now there are quite a lot of things which these two men could agree in doing for their fellow citizens. Both would approve of efficient sewers and hospitals and a healthy diet. But sooner or later the difference of their beliefs would produce differences in their practical proposals. Both, for example, might be very keen about education: but the kinds of education they wanted people to have would obviously be very different. Again, where the Materialist would simply ask about a proposed action “Will it increase the happiness of the majority?”, the Christian might have to say, “Even if it does increase the happiness of the majority, we can’t do it. It is unjust.” And all the time, one great difference would run through their whole policy. To the Materialist things like nations, classes, civilizations must be more important than individuals, because the individuals live only seventy odd years each and the group may last for centuries. But to the Christian, individuals are more important, for they live eternally; and races, civilizations and the like, are in comparison the creatures of a day.
The Christian and the Materialist hold different beliefs about the universe. They can’t both be right. The one who is wrong will act in a way which simply doesn’t fit the real universe. Consequently, with the best will in the world, he will be helping his fellow creatures to their destruction."

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The hands that flung stars into space

My dear friend Trevor gave me a book of readings and meditations by my favorite author C.S. Lewis before I left Medford. Very much in the style of the Max Lucado devotionals, the book consists of passages from Lewis' various writings over the years.

Today's passage was originally found in the book The Problem Of Pain and was all about the fact that God loves man. Nothing too profound about that, you might say. Well, after several days of really not being inspired to write anything on here, this really did get me thinking.

What Lewis was doing was pointing out that what we humans think of God loving us is dependent on our own human definition of love, and you don't need me to tell you that the human idea of love has become horribly distorted over the millennia.

A lot of people would equate love with some kind of disinterested, indifferent concern for our welfare, as Lewis puts it. We tend to envision love as like some kind of "senile benevolence" that "drowsily wishes you to be happy in your own way" (Lewis again).

How far could that possibly be from the all-consuming fire who has loved us - if anything - too much, and not too little. The kind of love with which the Creator loves us is unparalleled in human history. We could not possibly hope to see such love in any human example, and I guess that is why we find it just so hard to comprehend.

You see, we humans - whether we realize it or not - want a loving God, but we don't realize just how ridiculously, purely loving He is...or else we just cannot relate to it, and so we experience disappointment, confusion, misunderstanding, and in some cases we simply push it away.

Graham Kendrick wrote of "Hands that flung stars into space..." surrendering to cruel nails....still outstretched.

Now that truly is love.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Unexpectedly Reticent...or maybe emotionally drained

I have to say that it is nice to finally be up here in Washington State. Don't get me wrong; I wish I was back home in Medford, but knowing that I have to go to England, the break had to happen at some time, and I knew it would be hard. Now I am here for 2 weeks, I can get my head together and look forward to seeing family and friends in the UK without the heart wrenching task of saying goodbye to dear dear friends every day. At least here it'll be 2 weeks until I have to say goodbye to anyone else, which will give me some healing time.

The last few days in Medford, especially after I left my apartment on Friday, were spent just trying to maximize every second left with my friends. They were precious times, not so much about what I did, but who I was with at the time. My last full day in town was spent quietly in the morning, and then with one final worship concert with my bandmates, followed by a movie.

The concert was both powerful and deeply emotional. I was invited down to the altar half way through to be prayed for by friends, and that just about finished me off. I've said it before and I'll say it again - without shame - I have never found it so hard to leave people and a place. The most emotional moments of my life. 

I guess that really cemented for me the calling God has placed on my heart to be here (sorry, there -- force of habit). I have never felt such a wrench leaving somewhere before, and I have been based in a lot of places in my time. That's one way I feel sure that my future is back here, just from the way my heart is disposed to the people, the church, and the environment. It also makes it a little easier, being as convinced as I am that my future is back there.

I was going to talk more about the whole experience of the weekend, the emotion etc. but to be honest, I really don't want to. My friends here in Washington have been amazing and I'm looking forward to my time here, and looking forward to my visit to the UK. Once more, I know God has something lined up for me there, and as I have already said, I am determined not to miss it, and determined to serve however and wherever I can.

The next thing I am looking forward to is a call tomorrow from Premier Christian Radio, and I hope after that I will have more idea of whether or not there is something there for me.

I'm looking for some ministry material for these two weeks, so first I'll be getting the new Passion:Live CD, plus two books; Ann Voskamp's "One Thousand Gifts" and John Bevere's "Relentless". 

Okay, I thought I'd have lots to say today, after 3 or 4 days of silence, but it turns out that I haven't, so I'll finish up for now.  

Friday, March 9, 2012

Milk and Memories

I'm writing this post sitting in a lawn chair in an otherwise empty living room, watching my TV which is perched on a dining room chair. My dear friend Breanna pointed out today that this undoubtedly makes me "white trash", but everything leaves the apartment tomorrow, and we're nearly there.

Amidst all this highly unsettling stuff, I had a really encouraging email from the UK this morning. I sent a hastily cobbled together radio demo CD to several Christian and secular radio stations a few weeks ago. Today the Program Controller at Premier Christian Radio - one of the biggest Christian Radio ministries in the UK, and based in London - messaged me to say that they had a vacancy coming up in mid-April and he'd liked my demo and wanted to talk to me.

He is going to call me next week to - I guess - talk about what the job would entail, and whether I might be suitable for it. I have to say that I'm trying hard not to get too excited about this, in case nothing comes of it. However, this would be a really big deal if God landed it for me. London is the place to be for media and for musicians, and although it is highly expensive to live or work there, the wages usually compensate for that.

The set up at Premier looks really good, and I am cautiously optimistic. The email arrived at a good time as I clear out my apartment, a highly unsettling experience. It's good to know, as several people have said, that God is showing me even while I'm still in this country that he's looking out for me.

Well tonight I'm gonna kick back, watch movies and drink milk, after an emotional evening with one of my close families here. Making memories right up til the end...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Lessons from Joseph

Okay, so today's post is a direct response to this blog which you really should check out. This gal has challenged and encouraged me more than she'll probably ever know, and this post of hers kinda awakened something in me which I have been pushing down as far as I can. although I have mentioned it at times to one or two close friends.

In direct response to Lindsay, there have been many times when I have really struggled with just how relevant the Bible is to me. I find it hard to carve out time - or maybe it's to carve out the desire to open it up. Many people say the morning is the best time etc. etc. but for me, the morning isn't the best time for anything! And so it goes on and on in circles.

Connected to all that, the past 2 and a half years have been a time of monumental struggle within me, as I dealt with the fallout over my failed attempts just to stay in this country. It became harder and harder to deal with what was happening to me, and I became more and more convinced that God was against me. I closed up. Prayer became a chore that I did not want to do. Corporate prayer became something of a nightmare. As I perceived my life to be falling off the rails, exactly the same thing was happening with my relationship with God.

I found myself making some bad choices and feeling I was letting God down in a big way. Well now of course I had a reason why God might be mad at me. I found myself on the platform at church, leading worship week-in and week-out feeling dry and empty, and wondering why everyone else seemed to be having a totally amazing time with God - who I couldn't see anywhere. Add to that I was working for a Christian radio station, trying to encourage listeners with a truth that I wasn't sure about.

I'm not going to pretend things are all better now. I am reading the Bible daily, and finding a great deal in Genesis that I can grab a hold of, especially the story of Joseph, which I am nearing the end of.

I still find prayer hard. I still have empty days on the platform. I still have days when I wonder what God is up to. BUT, as the past days' blogs may reveal, I have some perspective on what's happening, I have amazing prayers from amazing prayer warriors the world over, and I am talking to people about what's going through my head.

Maybe it was my own pride that told me that I deserved for everything to work out here. Maybe I was complacent to think that all my visas would come into line and I'd sail away into the sunset on a tide of bliss and comfort. Unfortunately for me, I forgot that's not the way God works. I can easily ask myself why, at age 48, I am still not "settled" - whatever that is! In fact I'm probably more unsettled now than I've ever been.

God has nothing to answer for. My life is his. It's his world. I have just to follow and obey. It's a daily struggle, but I think I'm starting to see an end to the spiritual fog...just maybe.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A season of opportunity

It has been several weeks since I discovered I had to go back to the UK for a period of time that nobody really can predict. During those few weeks I have gone through a variety of emotions - as you can probably imagine - but I've reached the point where I've accepted my fate and have been recently looking at what I can do positively with all this, and how I can make the most of what appears to be God calling me back to the UK for a season.

First it is important to say that I feel as strongly as ever that I have been called to this place, this country, and I most definitely do not feel that that calling is over. In fact the opportunities are only just beginning at church, with all manner of plans for what is a very exciting time on Saturday nights, and many potential projects arising from that. I feel right at the center of these projects, and as engaged as ever. I'll certainly be closely following what happens there whilst out of the country.

Then of course there is work, where exciting things are also happening, and I look forward to being a part of them soon as well.

With all that said, I have to acknowledge that it does seem that God is calling me back to the UK, which will still be one of the hardest things I have ever had to do, even though I am returning to my home country. Despite this, it is important to be obedient, and let's face it, with God there really is no viable alternative to obedience. Let me explain why returning is so hard, and at the same time, try to dispel any misunderstandings that may arise.

For a number of years in the UK I felt like I was just "passing through". It was hard to explain exactly why, but I had that feeling from the mid-to-late 90s. I have made a number of good friends in my time in the UK, but strangely, there were very few that I could describe as lifelong ones. Don't get me wrong, I certainly have people in the UK I miss like crazy, and that I am excited to get to see, but in the relatively short time I have been here in the U.S. I seem to have been able to make many more deeper friendships that are really more like family.

This explains why it will be so hard to leave this place because it really feels like I am leaving home and family behind. At the same time though, I am aware that this might seem to British people that I am in some way resentful of coming back, but although it will certainly break my heart to leave here, I have been very conscious of the need to return to the UK with the right attitude.

It would be very easy to go back with resentful feelings. I need to say that I have absolutely no resentment towards the people I have missed in Britain, and who I am excited to see again. In all honesty, while I have missed the people in the UK, I really haven't missed the place, and I think that's okay. I could go back in a state of defeat and just give up, but because I know that the story in this country for me is not over, I can go with a positive attitude and look for the ways in which God can use me while I am there.

Realizing that God wants me in the UK for a season leads me to determine to look for the ways in which I can be used by him while there. Look for the opportunities, make myself available to him. Look to serve him in whatever way I can. In so doing I will be able to maximize every opportunity and also feel that my time there will be put to good use, rather than just waiting to get back to the U.S. God takes us through seasons during which we need to adapt to whatever he throws at us, and it is in adapting and looking to make the most of every chance that we get to grow.

I want to grow as a person, and as a follower of Christ during my time in the UK, however long it may be. I want to be able to come back to the U.S. a stronger, more complete person, who maybe understands a little more about the season I will have been through. Sometimes God doesn't ever explain or make obvious why a certain course opens up, but my responsibility, starting right now, is to remain positive, to see this season as an opportunity to be a blessing to someone, or some people, to serve God, and to grow. Please pray with me that I will be able to do that.