Be Bold, Be Strong for the Lord our God Is With Us

Faith, Youthwork and Family…



Why I can be as Grumpy as the Grinch!


A catchphrase from “Chuck“, when things are going wrong or we end up facing a real struggle do we “freak out”? How do you react?  Some people are calm in a crisis, others appear to be but are doing a “swan act” and paddling like crazy to stay “afloat”.

So what freaks you out? What scares you?

  • Money (or lack thereof?)
  • your job? (losing it, having to face office bully/horrible boss)
  • Spiders (big or small)
  • long words? (hippopotomonstrosesequipedaliophobia!)
  • Church? (Ecclesiophobia)

I once spoke in church about how I felt some fears were irrational to Christians as what’s the worst that can happen? Death? (which Christ as overcome!)  Nothing can separate us from the love of God, yet some things make us feel that we have been, that he is too far away or we are so lost in our stress and anxiety that we cannot see him at all!

Our son has been suffering with anxiety about school for years, but in the last year it just got worse and worse! To the point that on really bad days, my mum had to drive him to the school gate, when he was finally calm enough to leave the front door!  I look at him and sometimes i see a handsome little boy, sweet-natured and happy, but at the other times i see a tiny “hulk-like” creature who is clueless and inconsolable.  What amazed us is his ability to conceal his discomfort and stress, whilst at school and then let it all out at home!  Since my children were very little, we were often told how good they were at school and sunday school, which made me proud of them, their behaviour at home wasnt so exemplary, but in a way i am glad it is that way.  The only problem with this process (and I suffer with it too) is that we don’t voice/express the emotion/thoughts when things are actually happening!

At high school my (so called) friends were jerks at times to me, constantly trying to get a rise out of me, so i somehow made a conscious decision to not let them see what they doing to me!  Unfortunately, it did make me grumpy towards my family who didn’t deserve it! Yesterday, so much went on, I could almost feel my blood boiling, getting to work and having to deal with inconsiderate people leaving me extra work to do before i could do what i needed to and i came in early, so tiredness didnt help, I had other people doing things which were totally unhelpful!  I kept thinking to myself on the way home “i will not be grumpy with my family! they have not done anything to deserve me being grumpy to them

I love the story of the Grinch because I too, dislike christmas, all the commercialism, silly decorations (i am not creative and I detest the waste of money and electricity at this time of year!) Even the “reason for the season” isnt right because contrary to Boney-M, “Mary’s boy child” was apparently born in september!  I would love to make a bigger deal about Easter! Christmas or “Xmas” (as it should be in most places now) is “Christmas without Christ!” “Thanksgiving” seems to have joined Christmas in losing its reason and purpose.  I was completely bemused and bewildered by UK retailers deciding to do “Black Friday” sales?! We don’t even celebrate thanksgiving?! Unlike Christmas day, which is a mix of pagan and christian practices. Thanksgiving was meant to be about taking stock of what we have and being thankful to God for all his blessings!(Thats what sabbath should be about too, but thats another story!)

I have been to a fair few carol services in my life, but the whole story to me (or perhaps the way it is talked about is yawnworthy). Yes, its incredible that Jesus came as a babe to grow up like us, to know exactly how we felt and thought, but having all this other extra stuff on top has made us lose the whole point!  My favourite 4 things about christmas are:-

  1. the food
  2. the movies (cuddling up with my kids and watching them)
  3. the music (not carols but the classic songs from the charts)
  4. having time with my family

Due to our son having stomach pain, which meant he was at A&E for about half of christmas day last year, we didn’t get to a christmas service, the year before we wondered why on earth we went as we didn’t feel that welcome in the church we went to!  The last time I can remember enjoying a  christmas day service was before I was married and that was over a decade ago! But that isn’t what christmas should be about either!  I have been accused of not being passionate about things but what really annoys me is people thinking or following a “religion” because they feel they have to or those who claim to be “church of england” when all they mean is “I am british, I go to church at easter and christmas”.

Jesus came as a babe to show how much he loved us, when he came is irrelevant! It is the fact that

  • He came
  • He saw
  • He felt
  • He healed
  • He forgave
  • He walked
  • He fed
  • He shared
  • He spoke
  • He loved
  • He died
  • He rose again

Apart from the miraculous (and you can believe their existence or not), Jesus lived a life that if you or I imitated for at least half the time, would make the world a better place not just this time of year but all year round!  I heard someone from the local mental health team about preventive measures to meet people before they reach the point of freaking out and not coping, those who care for others as well as those being cared for! We all need someone to care, jesus did and so should we!


#Chuck vs Lazarus/Daniel Shaw

I woke up this morning and had the song “Lazarus” by the singer Carman.  It always moves me when I hear it, and I couldn’t ever work out why, but as I listened again to it this morning on my way into work, I realised why!  As Carman “narrates” the story of what happens to Lazarus after his death, he voices the testimonies of the “Great men of God“, the brief statements from some of the bible characters that virtually every one would have heard of!

Moses shook his stick, and said “now this meeting come to order, fan I get a witness for the Lord tonight?”
Abraham kicked it off, said “I want y’all know that I knew him, He gave a child to my barren wife!
Isaac waived his hand said “Hey daddy I knew him too
Jacob jumped up says “Amen Grandpa, preach it
Old dignified Solomon, Adjusted his robe and said “I knew him, He made me so smart I started to teach it!
Ezekiel said “I knew him as a wheel within a wheel!
Job said “man he healed me when I was almost dead!
Sampson said “I knew him when some Philistines tried to jump me, I took a donkey jawbone and busted a few heads!
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego said “We knew him in the fiery furnace!
Jonah said “Man, he gave me a second chance!
Daniel cried out “I knew him in a hungry den of lions!
The Holy Ghost hit King David He just started to dance!
Lazarus got so excited, He shouted “Hey I knew him too!

Imagine being there, all those men that had such eventful lives who God used and had a close relationship with and you are sitting, hearing them talk of God’s greatness, love and power! What would you say?

Not many of us will go through situations like them but if we look back at how our lives have panned out we can see God’s hand at work! I honestly believe the best way to encourage christians in their faith and confidently talk to non-christians about your faith is testimony!  No-one can argue with how you feel, you are coming from a position of authority as it is your life!!

I have been to some church services where I wonder if it would be worth adding Red Bull (or any other energy drink) to the Communion “wine”.  There seems to be no energy, no passion, no fire! Yet we are there to worship and praise god (or am I wrong?)

People say they want revival in their church, their town, their nation, the whole world. Yet there doesn’t seem to be much action towards that goal! There are pockets of revival, some sunday schools have days when the children seem to have been struck by the Holy Spirit and they want to do amazing things and pray for each other!  But the culture of Christianity as a whole has lost its focus as a passionate, “Force to be reckoned with” but has become a weak, sometimes fearful institution!

Have you ever been in a service singing “Undignified” or any other song about “dancing for God!” and hardly anyone is moving let alone, or even got their hands out of their pockets?! If the adults are not passionate in worship, and the “youth” or children see this are they going to think thats how it’s done? Or is it up to the “Youth” to be an example to the “world weary” adults?

In the programme Chuck he has an enemy who starts off as a colleague, but despite being shot and falling off a bridge in Paris and falling into the river, he reappears in a later episode, now I know that he is a fictional character and some may say “So is Lazarus” so what is my point?

  • The world is a busy, stressful place to live!
  • Sometimes we feel like we are in a situation that we cannot see a way out of, but like a lot of the Bible characters mentioned in that song, God is with us in every situation!
  • If you are a Christian, what example are you giving to others? That your faith is exciting or boring? Has Christ’s sacrifice on the cross had an impact on how you live your life?
  • Nothing can beat the power of testimony!
  • If you look for God at work in your life, you will find that he is and you may even actually get excited!!
  • Be ready to give a testimony!

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