Copycat Kids

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A couple of mornings ago I was getting ready to take the dog for a walk when the twins, Ezra and Anastasia, decided that they wanted to come along for the adventure. I never say no to my kids when they want to join me and Cassie on our morning trek, so they donned their wellies and off we went.

We had a great time chucking a ball for the dog, playing chase and stopping at the ‘prayer bench’, then we headed back to the house. It was as we were on the home straight that I sensed that Anastasia was up to something behind me. I spun round and clocked a cheeky little grin spread all over her face.

‘What are you doing?” I asked her.

“I’m copying you, daddy!” Came the reply.

Sure enough, as we marched the rest of the way home she was matching me stride-for-stride, arm-swing-for-arm-swing.

It was so cute!

However, it was only as I reflected on that sweet little episode later in the day that it dawned on me…

…MY KIDS ARE COPYING ME!!

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Epic Street Art

Back in the day I used to do a feature on this blog called “Banksy Wednesday” which was basically profiling a different piece of Banksy art each Wednesday (clever title, eh?) However, for some reason or another I kind of stopped doing it.

However, my sister sent me such an epic email today that I just had to post the pictures that she sent me up on the blog – purely for the purpose of sharing epic street art with the world.

Enjoy…

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IF I WAS GOING TO PLANT AGAIN… (PART 4)

THIS IS THE FOURTH PART OF A SHORT CHURCH PLANTING MINI-SERIES. YOU CAN READ THE FIRST POST HERE, THE SECOND POST HERE AND THE THIRD POST HERE.

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If I was going to plant again…

>> I would be far more careful about who I encouraged to join the church

This is probably…definitely…the most controversial post in this mini-series!

Basically, EVERY planter wants to see their church plant grow. This invariably involves people joining the church, and there are some totally legit ways that people can join.

Legit ways to join a church:

1. Procreation: Having babies is arguably the most fun way to grow a church! As a family we ensured that Hill City grew by 100% purely through procreation!

2. Salvation: This should be the goal of every church plant – to grow as people respond to the gospel and are born again, being added to the church.

3. Relocation: People have to relocate for all kinds of reasons – work, family, changing circumstances etc. Oftentimes this will mean moving away from one church and wanting to reconnect with a new church family that is more local to them.

4. Commission: Sometimes Christians might move from one local church to another for the purpose of mission. This could be because a certain job or ministry position has opened up or there is a clear call from God. In both cases it is good and godly to for the ‘sending’ church to both recognise the call and commission the Christian and their family to go with their blessing and support.

However, there are also some not-so-legit ways to join a church and we should be far more wary of these.

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Thank You Mark Driscoll

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Some of you reading this blog will have never heard of Mark Driscoll before, though many of you will have. Few men have succeeded in polarising evangelical opinion quite like this guy. So when Mark Driscoll resigned as an elder and Lead Pastor of Mars Hill Church on 14th October, some wept and some celebrated.

To many, Driscoll’s was a refreshing voice – bold, brash, uncompromisingly biblical and uncomfortably prophetic. He could engage culture, especially the hard-to-reach secular 20-somethings of Seattle, like no one else. He was passionate, uncompromising and…irresistible. To others, however, Driscoll was to be avoided at all costs. He was toxic. A dangerous maverick and a tyrannical leader. For the months prior to his standing down there was all sorts being said/blogged/specualated about him. Some of it was true (he openly acknowledged that). Some it was probably untrue.

For what it’s worth – I was gutted…but believe that it was the right decision.

The reason that I haven’t written anything up to this point is that I didn’t want to add my voice (either positively or negatively) to a conversation that was fast degenerating into an online lynching. Rather than blogging I chose to pray (a lot) for Mark, his family and his church family. I continue to do so.

However, I have decided to write this post because I feel that the time is right. Before I get stuck in, however, I just want to be honest about a couple of things. Firstly, I am not going to comment on the allegations aimed at Driscoll because, frankly, it’s none of my business. Secondly, I am not the kind of man that wants to stick the boot in or stir up gossip – so if you’re expecting me to come out swinging pixelated punches then you’re gonna be disappointed!

So what’s this post about?

Quite simply, it’s to say “Thank you Mark Driscoll”.

Few, if any, men have affected my life and ministry quite like Mark Driscoll has. Is he a sinner who has made big mistakes?

Yes.

As have I.

But I can’t deny the ways that God has used this man to bless, build and encourage me, and I believe that it’s still appropriate to honour and thank him for that. I mean, I still love the Psalms that David wrote even though he stuffed up big time with Bathsheba. In the same way I’m still thankful to Mark Driscoll.

Here’s 6 reasons why:

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The Cyprus Files: Part 3. The Wedding

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Without doubt the biggest blessing and the most beautiful memories that I took home from Cyprus all came from the purpose for me being on the island in the first place – the wedding!

I’ve been to a lot of weddings in my time but it’s fair to say that I’ve never been to one quite like this! However, it wasn’t the beautiful cliff-top setting overlooking the mediterranean sea that made it so special. Neither was it the venue (quite possibly the poshest hotel I’ve ever been to!) Or even the epic wedding buffet that was laid on (physically couldn’t finish it all!) No, what made this wedding so beautiful, so memorable and so…gospel…was the guest list!

As I mentioned in the intro post J works with women who have been rescued out of sexual exploitation, many of whom have been trafficked onto the island for that very purpose. And J’s really good at her job, which means that there are a lot of women (and children) and their lives are being remarkably transformed by grace. Anyway, there were scores and scores of these precious ladies invited to the wedding and it was a privilege to stand at the back of the wedding ceremony and recognise as I looked out across the congregation that J’s girls made up 50% of the guest list!

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However, it was only afterwards during the post-buffet disco that the true beauty of this wedding party hit me. There on one sweaty little dance floor were atheists and former prostitutes dancing alongside pastors and children…and even a nun! It was INCREDIBLE!

And it caused me to look in 2 different directions…

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The Cyprus Files: Part 2. The Pace

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After landing in Cyprus we were collected and taken straight to our hotel in Aiya Napa. We finally arrived about 1am, grabbed a cheeky McDonalds then hit the sack.

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The next day myself, my mate Neil and the groom’s brother, Rich, went out to grab some breakfast. We enjoyed a full English sat in the sunshine, then went for stroll to find the sea, which didn’t take long. We walked the coastline until we found a little beach-side drinks shack and there we decided to stop. The boys enjoyed a cold beer, whereas I opted for a fruit smoothie (see picture above).

And as we sat there in the beautiful sunshine, looking out over the mediterranean sea, enjoying good food and drink with some chilled beats playing in the background something struck me with profound force…

I was relaxed!

Literally, I didn’t have anything to do! Nowhere that I needed to be. Nothing to stress my head out. I was…relaxed.

We must have sat there for several hours, chatting about all sorts – work, football, faith…the conversation was totally natural, unhurried and…relaxed.

Eventually we rose from our table and ambled the 20 metres or so onto the beach and into the warm sea for a paddle. Lovely!

That evening we went for a meal at Japanese restaurant (best meal experience I have ever had!) We then went down to a Mexican bar and enjoyed watching Wales beat Cyprus 2-1 in the European Qualifiers.

Went to bed happy and contented and…relaxed!

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