Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Thursday, 30 October 2008

In the blink of an eye, half the year's gone by...

Looks like I haven't written a post since July... Thought I better squeeze one in before November arrives - very much has happened in the world of Aaron Poppleton.

After completing my BSc I've now entered the second stage of my medical degree, where I'm studying/working/shadowing in a clinical (hospital) setting. My first attachment has involved being placed in both the Accident and Emergency and Elderly Care departments. I've met many lovely and helpful people and had a plethora of interesting and exciting learning experiences. However this has of course been compounded with some of the hard hitting realities of a world where there can be great pain, suffering and death. Much to think about - especially when combined with an almost life consuming syllabus!!! God has been good to me, in spite of my decreased time reading his word. I know this is to my detriment and am trying to make amends. It's slightly scary to see as to how the study of medicine fully consumes people; I know this is something I am struggling with myself. A battle as to how one prevents a very good thing becoming one's greatest thing (hopefully the beauty pictured beneath will help me in this battle!) - I will indeed endeavour to keep you posted on this! In the meanwhile, I was recently struck by a particular talk on the nature of God. The bible tells us of the trinity where God is made up of three persons in perfect unity, bound by love. I fear no illustration I could give could ever detail this perfectly, but the human relationship between man and wife - two different people united in a permanent relationship by love for one another as one couple - reflects some of the principles! Either way, the perfect Jesus died for people on the cross to take the punishment that humanity deserved for its selfish lack of desire to serve God (sin). This switch of places means that if we choose to follow Jesus, God sees Jesus' clean conscience and not our dirty ones. That means God will direct the same sort of cosmic loving relationship that we see in the trinity on us!!!! Love that is beyond comprehension and experience in this fallen world. We can feel a little experience of this now - but more is indeed to come. Fantastic Hope.

So the aim for the next three years of med school and beyond, is to remember this hope (whilst at Salford's Hope hospital - lol) and to try to be a doctor that lives to work in a manner that praises and glorifies God.

Something I'm currently very excited about! Only four days to go!!!!

"The ESV is a dream come true for me! the scope and theological faithfulness of the ESV Study Bible notes is breathtaking." -- John Piper, Pastor for Preaching and Vision, Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis. "The ESV Study Bible is the most important resource that has been given to the emerging generation of Bible students and teachers. The ESV Study Bible is the best. Perior." -- Mark Driscoll, Preaching Pastor, Mars Hill Church, Seattle. "The definitive clarity and beauty of the ESV Study Bible is extraordinary! For everyone who wants to understand God's word in a deeper way, the ESV Study Bible is an outstanding resource" -- Joni Eareckson Tada, Founda of the JAF International Disability Center. "The ESV Study Bible is the finest study tool I have seen in fifty years of Bible teaching. The notes, articles, maps and illustrations are all of the highest quality. It is a great achievement!" -- Jerry Bridges, speaker and bestselling author of The Pursuit of Holiness.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Just the happenings...

Thought I better write a quick post of the happenings in the world of Aaron Poppleton, so that the time gaps on my blog dont get too long!

I'm still trying to work hard at the care home and am rapidly approaching the halfway point of my time there. A new rota has just come out and it looks like I may be working with a different set of people and perhaps even in a different kitchens in the near future - will tell you more of this earth shattering change of events in my next post! Hopefully I'll also have had chance to put my thoughts together on dementia (deteriorating brain function) and whether someone can choose to follow Christ (there a couple of residents who would have formerly said they were Christians). In other news we've gained five turkeys and have had nine chicken eggs hatch, with quite a few more eggs left in the incubator. The tomatoes, peppers, strawberries and onions are also starting to ripen. I'm learning how nature is amazing, especially seeing chicks hatch and then grow... development is far to well thought through to have originated by chance me thinks!

I've also now officially graduated (although my graduation certificate said Anna Poppleton... need to get that one changed!). After the graduation ceremony, I had a look at my house for next year and the realisation that I've left catered halls and will be daily cooking for myself has started to dawn. Should be able to get another look this weekend when I'm up in Manchester for the wedding of two friends, Joe and Gail.

Recently I've been reading a relatively short book of the bible, 1 Peter. I've learnt a few things, but I think one of the biggest things is that I often seem to superfically know and think I'm doing what the Bible tells me to, but when it comes down to it, I'm either too lazy or set in my ways to realise that the way I do things is still Aaron centred. The way I deal with possessions or the risk of people criticising what I believe are two things in particular. Still have a long way to go before I reach the great model there is in Christ - I'm glad that I'm not saved by my works but by his! And what a salvation that will be! So, the works of thanks shall continue!!!

Ps In addition to my reading, I've been listening to a series of sermons from a German church preached by Thorsten Uthardt - they're really good!

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Working at the care home

I've been fortunate in the summer job hunting and have managed to find work at a care home that employed me last summer. I enjoyed working there last year and learnt a great deal - thanks to the chefs I can now do basic cookery! The residents there gave me much to think about, including how conditions such as dementia could affect a Christian's belief in God/Jesus and decision or even ability to live as a follower of Christ.

This morning I went to the wrong building to start off with; thankfully a new colleague drove me to the right place. My first day wasn't too hectic - highlight has to be one of the residents praising the Lord that she was allowed to have a piece of birthday cake. The shifts are quite long and tiring, but offer me many opportunities to honour God through humbling myself, working hard and serving others!

Monday, 2 June 2008

Try something new today!

Weeeell the end of exams came, so I thought what the heck - lets try something new today! So I did. My chin is now seeing light after seven years of darkness (and my head after 21 years...). Am intrigued to see what the comments will be!

The other new thing I've tried is to read about Jesus' life through Luke. I'd never read it before and am discovering lots of things about Jesus - I challenge you to do the same! Luke part 1, part 2, part 3 . In the words Dr Pepper "what's the worst that could happen"! Lol, at the very least it'll be useful for pub quizzes.

Ps If anyone would like a nice gold leaf covered bible for free (courtesy of the Gideons) please let me know, and I will gladly pass one on to you. My email is Aaron.Poppleton@gmail.com. Am happy to do postal orders too.

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Leipzig Hochschultage

The SMD student group at Leipzig University is in the middle putting on a week of events call the Hochschultage, where the basics of Christianity are explained. I had the pleasure of helping them out behind the scenes last year - was an awesome week. Have a look at the webite if you get chance, will probably be some pictures up at some point!

I've also started a new blog in German, with the hope of practicing and improving my language. Some of the stuff from here will be translated up there, as well as a few other bits and peices. If you know any german, please feel free to correct my language mistakes!

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Exciting Germany find

In my usual crazy manner I decided to visit my friends in Germany a few weeks back - unfortunately it meant cutting my exam leave that bit shorter... On the plus, as well as having a really great time, I discovered a website called purpose driven life. The website has a daily devotional (a little reminder), reminding you of what it means for you to be a Christian in different situations. There's the option to read them on the website or to sign up and receive via email. My only qualm is its seemingly slightly erratic use of bible translations (switches between literal and more colloquial translations - nothing too heretical though!). Overall however, the content seems generally quite good. My thanks go to Johannes Fischer for this one.

Friday, 9 May 2008

Lessons from the Judges

Time seems to be going past pretty quickly - revision for the finals is well underway, gonna be a little touch and go though. However in the grand scheme of things there are more important things!

Recently I've been working my way through the seventh book of the Bible, Judges. It's about the fledgeling nation of Israel under the rule of various judges (although not as we would interpret a court judge today). A pattern that keeps repeating itself is that no judge can keep the Israelites faithful to God - despite the many great things God had done for the nation a relatively short time previously. Even the best judges can only keep Israel faithful during their lives. The result of the Israelites continual desertion from God is invasion by those nations they were originally told, but chose not, to conquer. Each time they cry out to God for help and he reminds them of their desertion and then gives them a judge to rescue them. For what is becoming sadly predictable, soon after being rescued the rebellion repeats itself yet again...

This is until chapter 10...
Israel seems not only to have started worshipping one god of their enemies, but seem to go for any and every other god they can get their hands on. This includes pretty much all of the gods from the nations they were originally told to conquer. As usual they are invaded and suffer at the hands of a foreign nation - however this time when they cry out to God, he tells them they should go to their "new gods" for help and see what happens. The Israelites realise they've overstepped the mark big time, and for the first time in the book of Judges seem to earnestly turn back to God. God has pity on them and gives them a Judge in the unlikely form of Jephthah.

Abstract ancient history...
For many of the days I've been reading Judges it's felt like reading abstract ancient history. If the Bible is there to instruct us about God and how to be living life in light of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross, the history of a rebellious minor middle eastern nation >3000 years ago seems a bit hard to tie in. However I've realised that my impatient and short sighted reading may actually be more of the problem. After 10 chapters I'm beginning to see the pattern and finally realising how this could apply to the world today and also to an impatient now-culture individual like myself...

Firstly, no human leader can save the Israelites from their rebellion from God - no matter how tactical or great a man/woman they are, the Israelites will want to serve themselves and their desires - not submit to God. Secondly, it's God that saves them. Each time they cry out to him in their distress and he sends a Judge to rescue them. Often it's not someone that would be expected to save them, however they all stand out for their trust in God.

The nature of individuals hasn't changed over 3000 years. We each want to do what is best for ourselves, often ignoring what would be best for others/society, but also more importantly what God would want (in a nihilist model their is no place for morality - yet it seems ingrained in every person). Jesus says that judgement will one day come and that like the Israelites we will reap the results of living for "other gods". We need another judge to come and save us really - however humans don't seem to cut it - even the best... Good thing God stepped in once again. Jesus, being fully human and fully God, could both lead and save. He was able to directly relate and empathise with us, yet at the same time defeat the enemy that faces us. Will we stick by this leader? He's different to the others, this time there's potential for permanent defeat of the enemy, will we choose to be part of this Israel where the surrounding nations don't pose a threat? We get the chance to, if we like the Israelites in Judges 10 earnestly turn back to living for God.

I guess a comparison for today's world and myself could be - 'will my career or studies save me, when the world is ending?'. Something I should remember as my exams rapidly approach, and the temptation to push God and serving those around me out of the equation... Will I remember what God has done for me in Jesus, or will I like the fledgling nation of Israel forget and live for me? Let's hope the former!

Saturday, 19 April 2008

It begins here...

Hello reader,

Thank you for stopping by. My name is Aaron and this blog is intended to get me thinking more about what I believe as a Christian.

The blog was born out of a desire to be pushing forward in my personal relationship with God. For me this will mean trying to take more time out of my crazy schedule to spend with him, trying to learn more about him and his world, the grace that's on offer through his son and the power by which he can be working in me today. I want to be applying and thinking through these things in my life - as opposed to just learning (and forgetting...). The hope is that I can draw closer to him, and be able to more clearly understand and explain what I believe to be so amazing.

I'll try and post the things I go through, and would be very appreciate of others' contributions and thoughts, whether Christian or not. I know I've got a long way to go, and a lot to learn.

Right, lets get on with the marathon that's set before me!

Nothing in my hand I bring

Nothing in my hand I bring,
only to thy cross I cling;
naked, come to thee for dress;
helpless look to thee for grace;
foul, I to the fountain fly;
wash me, saviour, or I die.

Rock of Ages - AM Toplady (1740-1778)

and He gives us this grace too, all that's asked is that we trust in him...