Friday, 25 December 2009

The Cambridge Seven

The Cambridge Seven is a biography focussing on the lives of seven ordinary men, who came together after their studies at Cambridge during the late 1800s. Their progressive coming to and growth in their faith of the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal saviour, led to the increasing sentiment within each of them that this was a message which couldn't simply be kept to those with repeated opportunities to hear it i.e. those within the fair British isles - China was their destination to be. The book shows each individual's journey towards this decision, and the many challenges and huge sacrifices put before them to be conformed more into His likeness, giving up all within them to Him, trusting in him fully and serving the kingdom of God with all that they have. These personal recollections are an awe-inspiring and tremendous challenge to the all too often feeble faith that I possess. The sacrifices joyfully made, and the love for and rejoicing in time spent praying to and reading the word of God, and their eagerness and sincere desire to talk to others about their personal relationships with God, has earnestly encouraged and inspired me, to want to live in light of a Saviour and Lord most worthy.

A good read indeed! [ 8.3/10 ]

Friday, 18 December 2009

The latent...

Am I the Latent? While the majority graduate and move on, the medics keep on going. Three more years of intensive studenthood awaits... I'm now halfway through this, just a year and a half to go! But what is to happen after this... I find myself becoming lost in the possibilities of the future. The path seems to have so many possible divisions, some steep and angled, others flat and smooth, if you squint just right you can almost see where they go. But then you remember that there's the long straight road before you reach that junction. There's no turning off this road, no rest station, no diversions. So you keep plodding on, pushing onwards as the gradient picks up pace. Every so often you get a little glimpse through gaps in the clouds. The view looks good, you see your friends trying different avenues from routes they're taken. It seems so long since their paths split away. However take your gaze away from the route ahead for too long, and you trip. A old man passing by tells you to watch your step - the road's not for novices! But I am a novice I think to myself, I don't know where I'm going, or how I'm going to cope when I get there... He sits down on a stone by the side of the road, and ushers for me to sit next to him. 'Don't stick you head in the clouds, and don't stare down at your feet' he says. 'When you get to the junction, the stride you've grown used to, will be the stride you take then... If you're not prepared for mountain climbing at the junction, then you're not going to end up doing it, or worse keep slipping down when you get a few feet up...'.

'So here's a park manual, and here's the rangers details. He's the guy you need to keep in touch with'

So here I am, walking up hill, working on my stride, trusting in the manual I've been given. I'd trip up a bit less if I used it's guidance a bit more, however it's something I'm working on. The junction is coming, however in the meantime I remain... the Latent.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Anglican group mulls Rome switch

Christianity, without the Christ?

Father Geoffrey Kirk, one of the leaders of Forward in Faith, is among those who said he intends to convert to Catholicism.

He said: "The Church of England is, in the view of many of us, ceasing to be the church of Jesus Christ and becoming the church of political correctness, not only the ordination of women to the priesthood and the episcopate - to which we object - but also in many attitudes to human sexuality from divorce and remarriage, to homosexuality." (24/10/09) "Anglican group mulls Rome switch"

Traditionalists sometimes accuse liberals of diluting the Christian belief in Jesus as the only way to God, through an attempt to preserve neighbourly relations with the followers of other faiths.

Some conservative evangelicals even suspect progressive members of their church of seeing other faiths as a "valid" route to a relationship with a common creator. (23/09/09) "Faith Diary: Changing Loyalties"

There's been a lot of interesting stuff in the news recently regarding the Anglican church, especially concerning a large body thinking of moving to Catholicism. It concerns me, not because there may be a potential split in the church, but more because it shows that people feel the church has gone so far away from Jesus, that there is no longer any Christ in Anglican Christianity. Should the basis of the church be ever less on what he did, and instead on what feels right, what is politically correct...? I find it very hard to relate this to reflect an ultimate ruler, which the Bible says is above all and is stable like a rock. How can we each declare our own version of God based on our opinions - surely this can't then be the same God?!?! I agree strongly that the church should be able to relate to the society that it is in, however when I read the bible I find repeatedly that whilst many aspects of our society have indeed greatly changed, the way people live and think has not. People were looking for exactly the same things 2000 years ago as they are today. I sincerely pray, that if a split occurs, it will mean that more churches and congregations will humble themselves and return to teaching based on what Jesus' followers reported about his life.

The Bible says that man is sinful, he wants to serve himself first. He cannot save himself, and needs a saviour to rescue him. Jesus is that Saviour, and can bring us back to a relationship with God. Every person needs to turn from worshipping themselves, back to their loving heavenly Father. Doing so frees you for eternity. God is good :-)

I'd like to finish with Psalm 8 - it shows us so clearly the mindset we need to be in:

1 O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory
above the heavens.

2 From the lips of children and infants
you have ordained praise
because of your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.

3 When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,

4 what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?

5 You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honour.

6 You made him ruler over the works of your hands;
you put everything under his feet:

7 all flocks and herds,
and the beasts of the field,

8 the birds of the air,
and the fish of the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.

9 O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Thank you grately for reading this far, it means a lot to me.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

'Avin a reet good time in Blackburn!

The vagrant wanderer has now moved on to Blackburn. My current placement of Children's and Women's medicine has taken me to this new northern extreme, and I'm loving it! The pies are good, the countryside is a stones throw away (the accommodation is surrounded by rabbits), and the people are very friendly. The learning schedule is a bit on the intensive side, and I'm a wee bit concerned about the looming exams... however many subtle hints by the big Guy regarding his control and sovereignty are putting me in my place - I've been slowly working my way through the Bible section called Deuteronomy over the past month. The story begins with a wizened and elderly Moses, who has just finished leading the grumbling people of Israel on a forty year trek through the desert. Before he dies he wants to remind them one last time of all many things God has done for them, and the laws that he's given them to follow. They need to remember who God is, and to live like it, if they want to stay in the promised land... God knows that they won't manage it, and already there are many hints of the future provision of his saving mission through Jesus, something that happens almost a thousand years later. He's got it all in control! One section that has stuck in my mind is Chapter 10:15-17:

"Yet the LORD set his heart in love on your fathers and chose their offspring after them, you above all peoples, as you are this day. Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn. For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe."

Thanks for reading, and please let me know your thoughts!

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

More Dresden photos!

Die Frauenkirche Dresden!

Mein Mitbewohner (Matthias) und Jeremias und sein nettes Freunden

Meine Kollege Ein Kinderlied bei der Kirche

Das Essen........ Leckeres...................................................Nicht so.....(Fettbaemmer)

Dresdener Strassenregeln

Saturday, 5 September 2009

A small diversion...

I've escaped the wilds of northern Lancashire for the weekend, and have headed to the lovely east coast to spend some time with my Grandparents. Similarly, In this post I'm making a little diversion away from Colossians, taking up one of the apostle Paul's desires for the colossian church and have studied some of the old testament (the first half of the Bible, written before Jesus' ministry).
Colossians 3:16 "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.")
So here's a quick overview of what I learned from the book of Haggai!*

*Disclaimer: My context and study was done without the wisdom of others. I've tried to back up all I've said from the book of Haggai or other books of the Bible, however I realise that in my inexperience/young knowledge I may have gone awry! Please let me know your thoughts in the comments!

This book is in the old testament, and so it pre-Jesus' ministry. Haggai was around during the reign of Darius, a Babylonian/Chaldean king (Hag 1:1, 1:15, 2:10). Darius was relatively leniant towards the Israelites (Dan 6:2-6). The people of Israel were mostly exiled to Babylon and the temple in Jerusalem destroyed. A remnant of the people however remained in Judah (Hag 1:12). The Judeans were beginning to repent and return to God (Dan 9:1-20)
NB I was quite excited when I discovered that Daniel (exile) was written at the same time as Haggai (remnant)!
1:1-11 - God (Yahweh) has judged & witheld his blessing, because his people have not worshipped him
1:12-15 - The people of Judah realise, turn back to God, and rebuild the temple as much as they can
2:1-9 - God's temple will one day be rebuilt to give him full glory, true peace then
2:10-17 - The people of Judah will always be unclean, and so not fully deserving of God's blessing
2:18-19 - They are to remember God blessed/es them, though they don't deserve it. The relationship is undeservedly restored.
2:20-23 - God will restore his kingdom

Judah, the surviving part of the promised land in (southern Israel), had been captured by the Babylonians, and the holy temple in Jerusalem [the sign of God's presence] looted and destroyed (2 Chron 26:18-20, Dan 1:1-7). The majority of Judeans had either been slaughtered (2 Chron 36:17, Hab 2:17) or exiled, as in the case of Daniel (Dan 1:3-4), with only a small, poor remnant remaining (2 Kings 25:12). All this was forewarned judgement for the Judeans repeated, and long term rejection of rebellion of God (Hab 1, Micah 1).
Haggai was a prophet to the remnant left in Judah. Inspite of the judegement the people hadn't learnt from God's punishment to them - they still cared only for themselves. God, ever patient, speaks to the remnant through Haggai, after they have experienced several years without his blessing. Without him, they could not even meet their most basic needs! Haggai addresses all the remnant (Governor, High Priest, and people), reminding them that they have been and are being judged, because they didn't treat or want to treat God (creator, sustainer, provider) with the respect and glory that was truely due to him.
This realisation amongst the remnant leads to them to return to God, and start to rebuild the destroyed temple in Jerusalem - the traditional place when they met with God. Their work was nothing like as splendid as the original temple was, or indeed as much as God deserved/s. God reminds them of his promises to his people, and despite their inability to worship him as he deserves, he will bless them once again, promising that he will more than restore his kingdom.

Paediatric themed illustration (lol, my current med school rotation)
Turning back to God might be like... a 3 year old trying really hard to draw a picture for their father because they want to please him. It's not a masterpiece, however when they give it to him, he shows his joy and love to the child, welcoming and encouraging him. God wanted Israel (and all people today) to stop living to serve themselves, and to turn back him.

Points for thought
- We see how truely reliant man is on God
- No one's attempts to be in control will ever be truely enough
- We need to live for God and not for ourselves
- God's rule and kingdom is and will be fully restored (through his new king - Jesus!)
- There will be a judgement, and justice will be revealed
- God is a gracious and forgiving father, accepting us back if we truely desire his forgiveness i.e. turn (repent) back to him

Quick personal reflections
I take far too much for granted, and despite my too often feeble efforts in trying to live for him, I've still got a long way to go! I need to trust God a lot more in the situations around me - he's the one in control. I guess in some ways, it's blasphemous to thing that I can handle everything!!! I should also rejoice more in the blessing of his kingdom now, and rejoice in the certain hope of the kingdom to come!

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Colossians 1:15-23 - JESUS

In this part of the letter, Paul emphasises to the colossians exactly who Jesus is, and what it means for him to be the image of the invisible God. Creator, sustainer, redeemer, ruler, trendsetter and head of the church! The colossians can only be saved through their continued trust in him!

This passage continues to challenge me, every time I read it. I all to easily become complacent in my thinking of who Jesus is, or what he has done for me. How can I justify giving him 30 minutes of my day, and then spending 2 hours browsing the internet looking at junk?!?! I need to lift my eyes and focus on him a heck of a lot more than at present - to my detriment is my laziness and complacency. My thinking if so often muddled with my own wordly life goals and perspectives - I need a shake up several times a day - my life needs to be one of praise to the supreme and saviour king!

p.s. thank goodness my place in heaven is purely down to what he has done; works ain't gonna get me a comfy seat up there - they're my appreciation, thanks and praise to a wonderful saviour and lord!

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Letter to the Colossians - Getting a feel for the letter

For a bit of background, Colossae was a small town in located in western Turkey. Paul, one of the early Christian disciples, wrote a letter to a young church that had been planted in this town. The church was under considerable pressure from various factors, and overall the letter seems to be an encouragement to them to keep on trusting in who Jesus was, and what he had done.

Task 1: Getting an overview of the letter
Following the much appreciated notes downloaded from the website of st-helens, bishopsgate, my first task was to get a general feel for the letter. Although divided up into chapters and verses, originally the letter would have been read outloud in the church in one go. After reading the whole letter, a lot of things previously looked at in Bible studies at random points during my time as a Christian suddenly started to click together. The mantra, "text without a context is a con", is starting to hit home - exciting stuff! I'm starting to realise how everything (i.e. all topics adressed in the letter) was/is to be based on their trust on who Jesus is.

Task 2: Thinking through it's structure
The next task was to divide the letter up according to different topics adressed. After advice from the notes, I scribbled over the paragraph headings (lol, Paul didn't write those), and examined for different themes myself. These were then summarised into headings, giving me the following:

1:1-2 --- Author & recipients
1:3-8 --- Paul's thanks for their living in light of the gospel [faith in Christ, hope in heaven, love in light of this]
1:9-14 --- Paul prays that they will contiune to grow, to mature, and to endure
1:12-20 --- Jesus is supreme over all [creator, sustainer, head of the church, first to rise from the dead, holy, sacrifice, reconciler]
1:21-23 --- The Colossians are saved because of Jesus
--- Paul's example and mission in light of Jesus
2:1-7 --- Paul desires for them to get greater spiritual riches in their relationship with Jesus
2:8-15 --- Jesus has proven himself victorious, don't be trapped by the world's ideas
2:16-23 --- Salvation and growth is through Jesus, we're free from rituals and regulations
3:1-4 --- Having citizenship of heaven (with Jesus), live like it!
3:5-11 --- Therefore put your old sinful natute to death
3:12-17 --- Live your life as a child of God [love and the bible are key in this]
3:18-4:1 --- Don't seek personal pride, but submit yourself in relationships, in the name of Christ
4:2-6 --- Pray always, especially for opportunities to live for and speak of what Jesus has done
4:7-18 --- We should encourage, support and challenge each other in out walks with Christ

Task 3: Next was to pick out recurring themes and anything I didn't understand
Recurring themes: Jesus, foundations, growing to maturity, supremacy
Questions: The how to's of greater spiritual riches in JC, word of God dwell in you richly (OT?)

So, off the top of my head, Colossians in a nutshell would be...

Paul, one of Jesus' disciples, is thankful to God for the how the good news of what Jesus has done, is transforming their lives. However Paul is eagre that this spiritual growth contiunes. He reminds the Colossians that Jesus is supreme over everything; creator, sustainer, holy, a perfect sacrifice and first to rise from the dead. Although saved, Paul is eagre that they keep on growing and get the very most from their salvation. This can only come through a greater understanding and rooting in Jesus. Jesus has more than proven himself, and is the only life that will provide true fulfillment. In light of this, the Colossians should realise that all previous/current religious activity and ritual were there to point to Jesus. So now that the Colossians have a place in heaven because of Jesus, they need to start living like citizens of heaven. This means putting to death their old self serving ways, desires, and speech, and living as God wants them to be living, love for each other being a key aspect. Humble submission in all relationships (marriage, parent-child, worker-boss) is another key aspect of this. Paul concludes by telling them to be praying, for opportunities and wisdom for himself and themselves to be telling others about the good news of Jesus. The end of the letter has a few notices for the church, showing that we should be encouraging, supporting and challenging each other in our walk with Christ.

Since Germany...

Well... I flew from Germany to Edinburgh, where I spent two great weeks helping to run a Christian cafe for international visitors to the city. I also went to a nice wedding during that time! Upon arriving back home, I was overcome by tiredness and as a result frittered away the best part of two weeks... Motivation for anything (except cooking rather strangely), was hard to find. Bible study and prayer, aka the listening and speaking parts of the relationship, were scanty at best. However purely by God's grace, I managed get a seminar and Bible study together for a Christian holiday for teenagers, the next stop on my hectic life course! One week with a great bunch of people up in the lake district, hearing the basics of Christianity preached clearly and faithfully from God's word, was what I needed... I'd sold myself to Colossians 2:8. Despite perhaps having the head knowledge, during that week my heart was struck afresh as to the complete sovereignty and enormity of God, and the reality and impact of what it meant for Jesus to be God and man here on Earth. I'm now back home again, this time enjoying a relaxing and productive week. I've realised the importance of rest, am praying once more, and really really enjoying getting stuck into the Bible. Had a nice star-gazing session last night (can't do that in Manch), seeing just how huge the universe really is; and by implication, how much greater it's creator must be :-) . Next stop, Blackburn.

I 'll try and put up some of my reflections on the letter to the Colossians as I work through it (it's awesome!).

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Choice Dresden Photos

Much has been happening over the past three weeks, beneath is a small selection of some of the things seen and done!

Trip to the Opera (was awesome!)

International group at the Christian union and my new church home group (both very nice people!)

The hospital and me in my new uniform

Weekend trip to Leipzig with Jeremias and his friends (Slack line walking)

Bundesrepublik Neustadt festival - whole town quarter taken over by a street party!

Sunday, 14 June 2009


Well, after a great deal of anticipation I'm finally about to start doing some medicine in Germany - Kras oder? Below are a few pics of the weekend ala Deutschland so far, promise to post more info and pictures soon!

View from the balcony


the church service

Exciting German breakfast


making plaster of paris masks!

Words of the day include...
- Ringelblume: marigold
- Knöchel: ankle
- Hirt: shepherd

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Something new!

Thought I might try something a little different this time - might need to krank the volume up on your computer for it tho! Klikka!

Sunday, 5 April 2009

sorry and thanks!

Sorry for the gap in posts - should resume in the near future!