A few musings from St Kilda

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Out on the Streets

Do Christians have any use at all? Answers on a postcard please..... Seriously though, we have a new opportunity in Felixstowe to make a real difference to our community and that's through the Town Pastor scheme which aims to help young people who go out with the intention of having a good time on Friday and Saturday nights but often end up finding thmeselves in trouble. The role of a Town Pastor is about listening, caring, helping young, showing concern and offering assistance where appropriate, in a non-judgmental and unconditional way.

Town Pastors seek to be a positive presence on the streets, available to offer support to vulnerable people, deescalate potential trouble and generally assist the police and other agencies. It's a great way to make and build relationships as well as making a real contribution to the community. There is always a fall in violent crime and vandalism where Town or Street Pastor schmes are running.

If you're interested, you need to be part of a local church and recommended by your church leaders to apply and this will involve the usual checks. If you're interested then there's more info at www.felixstowetownpastors.org.uk

Friday, 30 October 2009

Wal-Mart to sell coffins



US shopping giant Wal-Mart is to start selling coffins to give a cradle to grave shopping experience for it's clients. Prices start at a budget $895 for a steel coffin up to $2899 for a bronze one. The BBC seem to think that's wierd for them to do that. However here in Britain, the Co-Op have been doing funerals for decades!

Thursday, 22 October 2009

The Word of God

God's word is-
1. Supernatural in origin;
2. Eternal in duration;
3. Inexpressible in valour;
4. Infinite in scope;
5. Regenerative in power;
6. Infallible in authority;
7. Universal in application;
8. Inspired in totality.
Read it through, write it down; pray it in; work it out; pass it on.
The word of God changes a man until he becomes an Epistle of God.
It is life changing!

Attributed to Smith Wigglesworth

Friday, 9 October 2009

WHEN I DON'T SEE ANSWERS TO MY PRAYERS

Lord, I know that what I may see as unanswered prayer may not be unanswered at all. It means that You are answering according to Your will. Whether I understand Your will or not doesn't affect the fact that I trust it and praise You for it. Thank You for Your unfailing Word and that You always keep Your promises to me. I thank You that Your power is infinite. Your judgments and Your will are perfect, and I trust them. Whether or not my prayers are answered the way I pray them, I will praise and worship You above all things. For You are my Wonderful Counselor, my Everlasting Father, my Stronghold in the Day of Trouble, and my Resting Place. I rest in You today.

"Do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised." (Hebrews 10:35-36)


From the Facebook Wall of Courtney Palmer 9/10/09


The Atheist Barber

A minister and an atheist barber were walking through the seedy part of their city. As they saw the suffering around them, the barber said "This is why I could never believe in a God of love. If he is as kind as they say, why doesn't he do something about all this crime, disease, poverty, drug-dealing and vandalism?"

The minister said nothing until they came across an unkempt and filthy man with hair down his back and far too much stubble on his face. The minister said to the atheist: "You can't be a very good barber, or you wouldn't let people live around here without a haircut and a shave."

More than a little offended, the barber answered: "Why blame me for that man's condition? I can't help it if he's like that! He's never given me a chance! If he'd only come to my shop, I could fix him up and make him look respectable."

The minister replied: "Then don't blame God for the condition of these people. They've never given God a chance. If they would only come to him, he would fix them up and turn their lives around."

Even though God is completely powerful, he has not yet removed suffering and evil from the picture. He's waiting...Waiting for as long as possible, to give as many people as possible the opportunity to make their peace with him....Seize the day...

Monday, 28 September 2009

The right perspective

Colossians 1: 9-12 Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven't stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works.

We pray that you'll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work.

We pray that you'll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

What's happened to Christmas?

It's coming up to the end of September and as far as I can see, there's little evidence of Christmas yet. I did see an advert for Christmas Dinner in a pub recently but so far there is a lack of tinsel and turkey. What's going on? Christmas isn't Christmas without promotions starting in September.

That being said, let's not be cynical. Did you know that more people accept Christ in the Christmas period than at any other time of the year? I went to a Ministers Meeting run by J John the other day. He quickly brought up the subject of Christmas. What were we doing? Is it going to be the same old thing as usual?

I'm known as "Bah humbug!" about Christmas. I just hate the garbage that obscures the really profound truth about Christmas. But we can't get away from the fact that people love Christmas even though what they love isn't necessarily Christian. Surely we need to pray and plan to connect with people this year - not on a superficial level, but one where we can communicate Jesus effectively to them. That's the challenge. Let's make the most of every opportunity.

Monday, 31 August 2009

Photo Faux Pas

Here's an offering from Little Chef advertising their Great British Summer Menu. I don't think someone was being too observant when they proof read the ad. Look at the happy family in the car. What's wrong?

It's a 50s family, with dad at the wheel of his American convertible and mum dressed up in the latest US fashion, parked up in the right hand side of the road ready to drive into the sunset. A wonderful scene from 50s middle-class America - all advertising the traditional values of the Great British Summer Menu! I wonder if anybody in Little Chef has noticed yet - unless they are suggesting that their Great British Summer Menu isn't British at all.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

The Search for the Sub-Euro Litre - FAILED

Here on the continent, diesel is cheaper than petrol. When we started out in France 3 weeks ago, it was possible to get diesel for 98 cents so I made it our aim to see if we could always fill with diesel that retails for less than an euro a litre. Most petrol stations sell it for more than a euro but supermarkets do sell it for less. It all went well as we got to Spain - the maximum we ever paid was 99 cents a litre and mostly paid 97 or 98. But tragedy hit as we returned to France - diesel had gone up and I filled this morning at 1.009 euros a litre and I think things will get worse as we go north.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Preserved or Living?

Peniscola Castle dominates the old town that stands wthin its walls; the sea surrounding it on three sides with the modern town spreading away along the beach. It's a typical old- fashioned Spanish town that's been "prettified" for the tourists. The castle entry fee was a paltry 3.50 Euros - so what ruined heap of stones lay inside? Astonishingly it is an architectural treasure and still the town's key public building, with a ceremonial chanber, an art gallery, exhibition space, a church and an open-air theatre. There are a few smaller rooms where there are exhibition items telling the story of the castle.

It's equivalent in England would be a preserved castle with suitable antique furnishings in place (or nothing at all); magnificently frozen in time with a fifteen quid entry fee. Not in Peniscola. They've kept this as a living building, useful to the community which owns it. Building preservationists from the UK would be upset by what they would see as compromises the Spanish have made to keep this building useful to the modern world. But what's better, to the modern world. But what's better; keeping a preserved relic as a landmark, or giving this building what what its architects planned: to have something that is a statement about the town?

Why do I say this? Because preservation of churches too often tries to freeze a building in time rather than recognising that if it is to remain what it is; the centre of a dynamic, changing community, then it needs to adapt with the times as well as having deference to its history. The older the church building, the more it reflects and should reflect centuries of adaption to changing times, as it continues to be at the centre of the community. So why do building preservationists feel thay should fossilise our buildings in time? They see the building, but don't recognise the dynamic faith of the people that built and then worshipped there. Perhaps that has been our fault in not ensuring that our fellowships are dynamic and central in the community.

On one hand it's a question of faith: our buildings should serve our mission of worship and witness. But it isn't just a faith question, it's a community one. Our community buildings should reflect the life of our community and useful imposing old buildings can and should continue to be the centre of the community as the people of Peniscola have done.


They do it different #2

Signs in Spain are a bit different from Britain. First of all, there is more than one language to think of. At Reus Airport, signs are in Spanish, Catala and English. That's helpful to anyone who doesn't know any of the languages. However they've had the PC crowd in to make sure that everyone can understand in triplicate. Er, what's Terminal in Spanish. Might it be Terminal by any chance? And what about Catala; might it be Terminal too?

Go to Valancia and you'll see another example of sign madness. The planning guys in Valencia have created a system of wide multi-lane boulevards and enormous roundabouts. It gives their city a wonderful sense of open-ness and modernity. They've spent an enormous amount of money linking together all the fantastic ultra-modern venues as well as the traditional historic sites.

They had to save money somewhere and where did they save it? On road signage. In central Valencia there isn't any. There are almost no road signs and only scant painting of stuff on the road - certainly nothing telling you where the city centre is, where to get one of the many motorways out or even where the suburbs are. How do people find their way around? How do they find their prestige Museums of Arts and Sciences? It isn't signposted - none of it. You either need a good navigator who can work out which of the multiple exits on the huge roundabouts you should choose, or get a good sat-nav. It may be that Valencia is at the heart of Spain's sat-nav industry and they want everyone to buy one!

We escaped by taking a guess on where we were and driving into the suburbs where someone had decided to install some signs for those sharp enough to spot them and who have a pair of binoculars on board to read them. We took the opinion that if they were blue and had an arrow, we would get to one or other of the exit motorways!

Friday, 14 August 2009

Psst....don't tell Cid!

Have you ever seen the film El Cid? It re-tells the epic story of Rodrigo Diaz of Bivar, the great Castillian General, who fought against the Moorish invasion of Spain, and took Valencia from them in 1094. The film portrays his death in battle at Valencia. Mmm - a bit of historic licence was used there. How come then he ended up as the ruler of Valencia and died peacefully in 1099?! The picture shows Charlton Heston on his white charger in a scene from the film.

Actually the footage of Valencia in the film was also an invention. It was actually shot at Peniscola, an unspoilt town up the coast near the Ebro delta in the late 1950s. It has a huge castle built to defend the coast from pirates which fitted the bill for Valencia, even though it was started over a century after El Cid lived. It also allowed them to film the battle scenes over the 3km of unspoilt beaches and dunes.

Now the sleepy town is a bustling resort with hotels stretching the along the whole 3km beach front to Benicarlo. The film El Cid doesn't just portray the lost world of the 11th century, but also of the lost world of the 1950s. Anyway, it's quite a nice place to have a holiday! Here's a picture of the Castillo from the same angle in 2009 - 50 years later together with a rash of houses, hotels and bars. Just a moment, where's the extra two castellated walls gone? Like almost everything else, they seem to have been added by the film-makers to cover up the houses that were already there and to make it more imposing! That's Hollywood - a mixture of truth an illusion. Don't tell Cid!

Friday, 7 August 2009

They do it different #1



Motorway Bridge for Wildlife!

French Motorway Service Area "Portes de Jura". It's a bit different from Watford Gap!

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Who is Al Fresco?


We couldn't get over the difference.

Canterbury 05/08/09 - tried hard to find somewhere outside to eat. It's difficult to eat al fresco in even a tourist town in the UK. We ended up at Pizza Hut eating at a grubby table and listening to a drunk busker over the road!

Troyes 06/08/09 - had no problem finding a place to eat outside in this lovely medieval city centre. Food was great and not too pricey. No-one can do food like the French.

But, but ... Britain is far to cold and wet to eat al fresco most of the year, in't it? Try visiting historic towns in France or Belgium in the winter and you'll find the creative ways thay can make it happen!

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

God will make a way

Thursday, 16 July 2009

St Where?

This blog contains my musings from St Kilda. No, it's not THE St Kilda but a house named after it in Falcon Street, Felixstowe. The real St Kilda is of course the UK's most remote island group - some 40 miles off the nearest landfall in the Outer Hebrides. That's not counting Rockall of course which is even further out but that's a rock which is uninhabitable. St Kilda was inhabited for centuries up to 1930 when the islanders were evacuated to the mainland. Some went to live in Melbourne in Australia and a suburb is named St Kilda after them.

In fact the largest island in the St Kilda group, Hirta has been permanently inhabited by service personnel at a radar base since 1957 but no-one ever seems to mention that. It's also inhabited by seabirds and wild sheep. Here are some of them near the British Isles' highest cliff.













So who was St Kilda? Forget the spiritual thoughts. He/she never existed. The best theory is that it is the mis-spelling of a Gaelic name by Dutch mappers in the seventeenth century. The locals called the islands by their local names e.g Hirta. So there you go. If you want to visit, the National trust for Scotland do trips.

M

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

If it's free, it must be Rubbish


This kind of thinking affects all of us to a greater or lesser extent. Is getting something cheap or even free a mark of us being a cheap-jack or is it a mark of our being shrewd? I was fascinated by a recent survey that put Microsoft as “king of the brands”, voted on by consumers for it’s distinctiveness, quality and reliability. Quality? Reliability? Where?

Most have a computer at home with Microsoft Windows on it and most have stared at a blue screen saying “Windows has died. Find someone handy with computers to fix it, spend lots of money paying someone to fix it, try the Microsoft Help(less) line, or throw your computer out of the window!”. Aargh! I paid money for this!

For those of you without a computer, this is a treat in life you’ve missed. You can smile at these frustrated folk, particularly when they discover that there are better alternatives that most people seem unaware of that aren’t just cheaper, but free.

So why doesn’t everyone use them? The logic most people use is that surely you get what you pay for and besides, it’s safest to use what everyone else uses isn’t it? Let’s stick with what we are familiar without having to try something new and learn how to use it. Let’s avoid the risk of change.

I find it an interesting parallel. What makes Christian faith distinct is that we have a God who gives freedom for free. Eternal life isn’t something that’s earned or deserved, God gives it away free to all those who turn to Him and accept the offer purchased by Jesus by His death on the cross. If it is as easy as that, why don’t people become Christians in droves?

The trouble is that when people are happy with what they’ve got, and the values they base their lives on, they don’t see the need to even consider or try what God offers freely. There is risk in change. For those of us who know the benefit of being a Christian, that’s a tragedy. If you’re reading this and never trusted Jesus, then I encourage you to exchange what costs you, to get something that’s priceless for free!

But before we Christians think this doesn’t apply to us, then we need to stop and consider our own lives. I gave us this verse in church a few weeks ago: Don't let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity. Rom 12:2 (J B Phillips). We have a God who wants us to walk in freedom, but so often we choose to live our lives with worldly values and they so often cost us in terms of fear, personal problems, pressure, doubt, hopelessness, anger, unforgiveness. Why let these things cost us, when we have a God who wants to lift these loads off us and mould us to how He wants us: people who follow Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Let’s give God glory for giving us something priceless for free!


Mark Reid, 15 July 2009

Friday, 10 July 2009

Have a Chuckle


Sunday, 14 June 2009

Richard Madison

Take a look at this interview. It's with US Evangelist Richard Madison.



He's an interesting guy with a remarkable story about the power of God. He's had plenty of brushes with death with amazing results. Have a look and see what you think.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Tescos is Cheaper

Have a chuckle. This is a rather cheeky prank from a New Zealand radio station. Tescos is Cheaper

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Chris Moyles


It always makes me happy when people who have a reputation for not respecting the Christian faith get surprised by something they see or hear about Jesus. Listen to the snippet of Radio 1 below recorded on 1st June about Chris Moyles' reaction to a baptism service on BBC1 for Kingsgate Community Church in Peterborough. For Christians it's both an education and a challenge about how people think about Jesus and about church. Does our church fascinate people the way this one did for Chris Moyles? Please pray for this guy that the Holy Spirit will just continue to open up his mind and lead him to a real faith in Christ.


Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Welcome

This is the rather lame bit where I say "welcome to my blog". These are some of my musings about life, faith, family and ministry. You'll see things that inspire me - and things that are less than inspiring. Have fun!

Oh, incidentally, all views expressed on this blog are mine, unless they are someone elses!

Mark