Month: June 2009

Big Words

BibleToday’s a bit of a crazy day because I get to sign my contract with Authentic Media for my book A Beautiful Day. Contracts freak me out at the best of times because they always have massive words in them that – and this contract is no exception! I’ve got 7 pages of ‘libelous’, ‘defamity’, ‘indemnified’, ’embellishments’, ‘solicitation’, ‘prejudicial’ and ‘purporting’ to get my aching noggin around! As I flicked through this contract it got me thinking about the Bible…

On Sunday one of the girls off the estate who has just become a Christian approached me after the service and asked me to explain to her a passage in the Bible that had been confusing her because of all the big words in it. It started me wondering if all the big words in the Bible might actually scare, or even intimidate people. The thing is I’m not arguing for simplistic translations of the Scriptures (I’m ESV all the way) as these are always fluffy in key areas. I’m all for accessible truth, but propitiation means propitiation and expiation means expiation! I guess what I’m saying is that we need to make sure that we help those who haven’t been raised with a Bible in their hands to understand the big words that they will encounter as they read it. Those with the gift of teaching have a massive responsibility in this area.

The thing is I signed this contract today without understanding all of the jargon and all of the implications in it! (Raz! I might have just signed away all the family silver!) The truth is that if I waited until I understood every last word I’d never sign it!

So why did I sign?

The reason that I signed was that I trust Jonathan my editor. I don’t know him super well, I just know that he’s a good Christian, an honourable bloke and that he wouldn’t encourage me to sign something illegal or unhelpful. Similarly, I think that we need to get to that place with the Bible too! We may not understand everything that’s written in it straight away, but we can know enough about the author (God the Holy Spirit) to know that we can trust every word and that we can subscribe to it with confidence!

“Every word of God proves true; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.”  (Proverbs 30v5)

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Trevolution: Signing-Off For The Summer

trevolutionTonight is the last Trevolution before the summer holidays. We’ve had to finish a few weeks early as many of our team are students who have now gone home for the summer holidays. So tonight we hope to go out with a bang with a Truemcee gig and CD giveaway. Please do pray for tonight – that it’ll be an awesome night in which the love of Jesus is expressed clearly through word and deed and that gospel seeds will take root. Please also remember to pray for our youth over the summer period because the summer holidays are often a bit crazy on council estates.

Here’s my Top 10 highlights from the last 5 months of Trevolution:

  • 59 youth in on the first night – an absolutely bonkers night that will live long in the memory!
  • The passion, enthusiasm and improvement in one of the more notorious young people for DJ-ing. He’s become a whole lot more respectful too.
  • The deepening of relationships between the young people and the Trevolution team that has seen us move from being strangers in their eyes, to valuable friends. (It’s nuts how many young people I know around here now – happy days!)
  • The incredible unity, love and growth in the Trevolution team itself.
  • The wisdom, courage and growth in Pete’s leadership of Trevolution.
  • The creative flair of many of the Trevolution team (especially the girls!) to put on activities for the youth that were fun and innovative.
  • The quadding trip that we put on for the youth who were too old for Trevolution and the respect that has developed as a consequence.
  • The change in the young peoples’ attittudes from shouting down Pete as he tried to do a gospel talk on the first night, to 2 separate groups of boys and girls sat around discussing the Bible, asking for prayer and gripped by the message, just a few months later.
  • The scores of teenagers who have taken Bibles and Mark’s gospels home with them (I even got asked in by one of the mums a few weeks ago to explain a passage to the family!)
  • The teenagers who have started coming to church with their Bibles on Sunday mornings to do a Christianity Explored Course on the picnic tables outside.

Truemcee E.P

ep cd iconThe studio session went really well on Saturday and all 3 tracks were successfully recorded. Therefore, I’m absolutely buzzin to announce the official launch of my first rap E.P for 10 years on our own independent label Overflow Recordings.

Truemcee E.P is now available here (download option will be available very soon). I’m making it available for free to all who want it (though trust me – it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea) as the vision behind the E.P is for it to be an accessible and unashamed musical tract for young people, young offenders etc.

Hope you enjoy it.

(Does the picture on the front of the CD look at all familiar to you?!)

truemcee EP cd inlay

God Is Moving In The Valleys

sgcmAs I’ve often referred to in previous posts, it’s so easy to look at the situation in the South Wales Valleys and focus on the poverty, the crime, the depression, the suicide etc. and lose sight of the hope that we have in the gospel. Well today I had the privilege of a visit from my new friend Gareth Lloyd who travelled all the way from Merthyr Tydfil to Trevethin for a coffee, a chat and a prayer.

Gareth is the pastor of Sovereign Grace Church Merthyr and also a really good bloke! Anyway it was just so encouraging to hear stories of how God is blessing the work in that large valleys town and how people are getting saved, convicted of sin, amazed by grace, and passionate about mission. It was great to hear about a church in the valleys that’s actually growing and that has the gospel right at the heart (to state the obvious – that’s why it is growing!)

However, I think it’s fair to say that as I recounted all that God’s been doing through Hill City up here in Trevethin over recent months (salvation, grace, mission, church growth etc…) the encouragement was mutual (I started to get excited myself!) It was awesome to just reflect on the very real evidence of the power of the gospel that is at work in the valleys even today. Both of us would say we’re hungry for more. Both of us would say that we don’t want to ever get complacent. And both of us would gladly give all the honour and glory to Jesus for the good stuff that’s been going on.

But this post is simply celebrating the fact that God is at work in the valleys!

And that’s fantastic!

Lessons I’ve Learned From My Little Girl – 5. Hospital

dripIt was a day that stands out in my memory above nearly all others and not for a good reason. Elen was around 9 months old and had been suffering with a virus for several days. Her temperature had been gradually creeping higher and higher, until one afternoon it reached crisis point and she started to convulse uncontrollably on the floor. We rang 999 and within minutes a medic was on the scene.

Moments later Elen was rushed to hospital in an ambulance.

I still remember catching up with them shortly afterwards in the Children’s hospital of Wales. My tiny little girl lay motionless in a huge bed, pale and scared. Drugs were being pumped into her via a drip in her tiny hand. Her temperature was still really high and we were told that she would not be allowed to leave until her temperature had returned to normal and remained stable for 24 hours. This did not happen for several days.

It was an exhausting time both emotionally and physically, so you can imagine how grateful I was for the hospital’s merciful provision of a Coffee Lounge for parents! As I was making a coffee one afternoon I got chatting to the father of another child who was also sick in hospital. We talked about the pain and helplessness we felt as dads being unable to do anything to relieve our kids from their suffering, and as we did so I made this simple comment:

“I’d do anything to swap places with my little girl right now!”

I meant it from the very depths of my heart. Literally if there had been any physical way that I could have exchanged her virus for my health so that I would be the one sick in a hospital bed while she skipped and danced her way back home – I would have done it in a shot because she’s my little girl and I love her deeply! It was as these words passed my lips that the sheer miracle of God’s love dawned on me in a fresh and profound way.

As we have already seen, this world is seriously sick – infected by the virus of sin. Furthermore, no matter how much religion, philosophy, self-help, or technological progress we turn to for salvation – we remain incapable of saving ourselves. We’re broken and we can’t fix it!

Incredibly, however, when God sees the affliction of the people that He loves, His heart-cry is exactly the same as mine was for Elen:

“I’d do anything to swap places with them right now!”

And that’s precisely what He did for us on the cross. Jesus literally swapped places with us and died in our place. This one incredible ‘great exchange’ * changes everything for those who believe:

  • From guilty to righteous (2Corinthians 5v21)
  • From broken to healed (Isaiah 53v5)
  • From cursed to blessed (Galatians 3v13)
  • From enemy to family (Romans 5v10)

Why did He do it?

Because He loves us to death!

God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5v8)

* A phrase coined by the radical German Monk, Martin Luther.

Back In The Studio

studio picOn Saturday I’m travelling up to Birmingham to record a couple of new rap tracks with my mate Vision in his studio. The first is going to be a grimey little number called ‘9 Bars’ that’s all about my refusal to shut-up about Jesus, and my intention to flood the streets with the gospel.

The second will be an accapella track (that I haven’t written yet!) but it’s the third track that I’m most excited about. It’s a track called ‘Another Day’ that’s all about the value of life and how cheaply so many throw it away. The reason I’m so excited about it is that Michelle (my wife) is going to come up and sing the chorus for it. I’ve still got 3 bars of lyrics to write for this one, so your prayers for inspiration between now and Saturday would be greatly appreciated.

Once the tracks are done I’ll have a 5 track EP to give out as a free evangelistic tool to youths, inmates etc. and it’ll also be available as a free downlad from the Hill City website.

Watch this space…