Competition: Win Come Let Us Adore Him by the Lower Lights

Hey everyone… I hope you enjoyed our Christmas ‘nines’? It really came together and I am grateful to everyone who contributed to the episode. It would be wrong for me to single out any particular contribution… because there was a real synergy effect in action.

That said… I do want to pay tribute to music of The Lower Lights. I was bowled over when they allowed us to use their music on the show. I am a huge fan of their rootsy folk sound and it really was the icing on the cake when they said “yes”… via the wonder of Twitter.

I really love their latest album… Come let us adore Him… it combines their timeless sound with the joy and anticipation of Christmas. I do get annoyed when we only sing carols in Advent… consider the sheer power of the lyrics to “O holy night” for example:

Truly He taught us to love one another, His law is love and His gospel is peace. 

Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother. And in his name all oppression shall cease.

It really doesn’t get any better than that… in my opinion.

Anyway… due to an administrative error… I’ve ended up with two copies of Come let us adore Him and have been given permission by the band themselves to give one away… rather than return it to them… which is wonderfully generous of them.

So… it’s competition time!!!

To enter… please visit the Bandcamp page for Come let us adore Him and pick your favourite song from the thirteen songs on the album. Leave a comment on this page with the name of your fave Christmas song, as sung by the band, and give us a reason why. The person who leaves the best reason why… by midday (GMT) on Saturday (7th January 2012)… will win the CD.

I hope that makes sense? While you are there… please take the time to check out their other albums: A hymn revival is particularly strong… and please do what you can to support grassroots independent music in all its wonder flavours.

Thomas

 

Exposure to the sun

Jesolo #18

One of the things I learned on holiday was how much I enjoyed sitting in the sun… reading on my Kindle or listening to music on my iPod.

Previously I always considered myself an on-the-go person on holiday. Last year, when we went to Paris as a family I walked the legs off Olly and the we’ans. We had an all-you-can-eat Metro ticket but I had more fun walking from site to site. Part of me is glad we did… and part of me regrets it.

So it came as a bit of a surprise to me to discover actually how much I loved being on the beach or sitting by the pool.

Part of this enjoyment was feeling the sun on my skin. Don’t worry… I was decent. I’m not the type of person to walk around wearing ’budgie smugglers’… that’s not my style… but I did get a tan.

I read later of the benefits of Vitamin D and how we’ve become so scared of skin cancer that we’ve become terribly deficient in this essential building block.

That’s for another debate… and please appreciate I’m not condoning long exposure to the sun. Albeit I thoroughly enjoyed it and have benefited from the Vit D stored in my fat and muscles (more fat than muscles).

I believe I have benefited from direct exposure to the sun. I don’t believe there are health benefits to be had in exposing ourselves to tanning beds or pretending to be sun-kissed with fake tans etc… the only benefit comes from one-to-one exposure to the sun.

What’s more… I can’t gain anything from someone who has been exposed to the sun. I can’t get a tan from them… I can only get it for myself.

I used this analogy when talking to my friends Paul and Ovi on Wednesday passed. We were discussing theology and some of the awesome work Ovi is doing in Glasgow.

I made mention of my desire to help people to learn how to think. I am no longer interested in telling people what to think. My focus has moved from ’what’ to ’how’. This is especially important when it comes to theology.

Recently a ’prophetic christian’ (his definition not mine) told friends of mine not to invest in ’Harry Potter’ because it trivialised witchcraft. One friend in particular was upset by this and asked my advice. I went back to her and described the Deathly Hallows…

“for love to win, the hero must die for his friends. In doing so, he is resurrected and can defeat evil forever.”

I then said… did it sound familiar?

JK Rowling has gone on record and spoken about the Christian allegory within her series… what then is more important? The spurious claim that the books are trivialising witchcraft or the more substantial claim that her books point, in part, to the Yeshua story?

Please don’t take my word for it… but look it up for yourself. That’s my point… I desperately want people to think for themselves… to have the discernment that comes from engaging directly with Abba through prayer and study of the bible.

In short, I want to see followers of Yeshua who have tans through exposure to ’the sun’.

This exposure, as discussed above, only comes through direct exposure. Just as we can’t get a tan off of someone else… neither should we seek to gain our knowledge and experience of Abba through other people… we should seek it for ourselves.

We have the ability to have a one-to-one relationship with Abba… through Yeshua… and we would be foolish not to take it and instead ’outsource’ our thinking to ’trusted parties’… including me. Don’t take my word for it… do your own research… and think for yourself. Go with what Abba guides… not what the crowd demands.

What’s more… let’s stop pretending to have a tan and go out and get one. Fakes look awful anyway. It may be uncomfortable to start with and we may get burned but… the benefits of regular exposure are worth it in the long run.

Think about it.

Tx

Sleeping through demonstrations of Abba’s power

Jesolo #9

I was recently in a beach resort just north of Venice in Northern Italy called Lido Di Jesolo. It’s a beautiful place and my family and I had a wonderful time there.

During the second week there was a massive thunder and lightning storm… which change the weather from comfortably late 20s / early 30s with low humidity to late 30s with higher humidity. The change was noticeable.

I knew there was a storm because the family were woken at 3am to the loudest crack of thunder imaginable. We then sat up and watched an amazing show consisting of both sheet and forked lightning along with some tremendous rumbles and cracks of thunder… underpinned by the sound of torrential rain. I tried to take a photo of the lightning but failed miserably… but Olly managed to get some of the ’show’ on her videocamera. It really was something special.

The thing is… the next day at breakfast we discovered fellow holidaymakers who had slept through the whole thing. Their only clue that something had occurred was the rain and the change in conditions the following morning.

This got me thinking of all the people who miss Abba working in and around them.

Abba is moving in your place… in your space… in your time… and there are people who are asleep to His working. They may see the signs but don’t get the wondrous vision of His power at work. I think this is a real pity.

Abba is moving and the vigilant have the opportunity to get behind what He is doing… to be part of His glorious mission.

We see so much that is detrimental… all the time. The English Riots in recent days have had me glued to the BBC News. Watching people demonstrate the very worst of human behaviour… looting… thoughtless destruction… reckless violence.

If this was all that I saw, I would be utterly depressed and angry too… but it wasn’t. I saw the beneficial too: people coming together to protect their communities… people coming together to clean up after the riots and to provide refreshments for the Police and Emergency Services.

It isn’t always obvious where Abba is working… but He is working… and we need to be vigilant.

I guess that’s why I love this podcast and why it has lasting so long… people showing where Abba has worked and is working in their lives and in their places/spaces.

In the days we live in… where the detrimental always seems to get more play than the beneficial… it is refreshing to hear uplifting stories that fully articulate Abba’s love and power in action.

So let us not sleep through His working… but remain vigilant and aware… so we see His power in action and can play our parts… being the men and women who Abba wants us to be.

My sincere thanks to JD, Travis, Johnny and Stewart for keeping the momentum going. We are always looking for stories that we can tell… and new voices willing to share. Get in touch if you have something to share or think of someone we could talk with.

Tx

Splash

Tampa Bay Sunshine Skyway Bridge | Photo by John Picken

The Sunshine Skyway bridge spans the mouth of Tampa Bay on the west coast of Florida. It carries thousands of cars everyday. It’s also become one of the top ten places to end your life. This is the story of the many who jumped, one lucky guy who survived, and how broken bones and a collapsed lung made him a new man.

A story of death, rebirth and redemption.


Listen on PRX.com

If you’re hurting, or need someone to talk to – know that it gets better.

Take a moment and ask for help – 1-800-273-8255 (National Suicide Prevention Lifeline)

All is Grace – Brennan Manning

All is Grace
All is Grace - Brennan Manning | Image via David C Cook

A new trailer has been released for an upcoming memoir by Brennan Manning:

From the publisher:

It has been over twenty years since the publication of The Ragamuffin Gospel, a book many claim as the shattering of God’s grace into their lives. Since that time, Brennan Manning has been dazzingly faithful in preaching and writing variations on that singular theme – “Yes, Abba is very fond of you!”

But today the crowds are gone and the lights are dim, the patches on his knees have faded. If he ever was a ragamuffin, truly it is now. In this his final book, Brennan roves back his past, honoring the lives of the people closest to him, family and friends who’ve known the saint and the sinner, the boy and the man. Far from some chronological timeline, these memories are witness to the truth of life by one who has lived it – All Is Grace.

I’ve often been blown away by the words of Brennan Manning so I’m really looking forward to this look at his life — in his own words.

As mentioned above, Brennan wrote (several years before before Love Wins):

The love of God for man is, “A union that not only transcends every political, social, cultural and religious consideration and not only infuses them with ultimate meaning, but defines the very purpose of life itself.”

“For His love is never, never, never based on our performance, never conditioned by our moods — of elation or depression. The furious love of God knows no shadow of alteration or change. It is reliable. And always tender.”

It’s a message the world needs to hear.

It’s a message I need to hear.

And it’s a message we’ve been invited to share with the world.

But until we really grab hold of it ourselves, we’ll continually struggle in sharing it with anyone else.

The book is set to release in October 2011. But you can pre-order it today on Amazon.

Until then – how have you seen this deep, deep love of God in your own life?