As many of you are aware, my life changed dramatically over twenty years or so ago, when I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ, asking forgiveness for all the wrong stuff I had done and I still cringe, as I think about some of the things I did. However, I am the first to admit that I am still under construction and changes will continue until the day I die, which brings me to the reason for writing this particular blog.

I have just read an article in a past copy of the Good News newspaper, that has been lying in the pile of my ‘must read’ stuff, in the conservatory, going brown around the edges with the effect of the sunlight.

The article from the editor, speaks about a friend of his who has a morbid pastime; he enjoys going into cemeteries and churchyards, he finds the places to be quiet islands of peace amidst the noise and bustle of our towns, but he is also attracted  because cemeteries are rich in wildlife. In them he finds time to relax with nature and to reflect on life.

Wandering through a graveyard, you can’t avoid the brevity of life. Children’s graves are perhaps the most poignant of all. However, you are soon reminded that whatever age you reach, no one escapes death. It’s something we all have to face up to, but often try to avoid thinking about.

Some people’s response, and it was mine for years; is to ‘eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die’, in other words, party like there’s no tomorrow because you don’t know how long you’ve got. Unfortunately, such a self-indulgent life style can often make life even shorter! It can also make life very difficult for those who love and care about you; plus you have those dreadful hangovers to consider.

Others have the opposite response, and I have many friends who take this course, becoming obsessed with health and exercise to try and extend their life, or at least to be in a fit state to enjoy it longer. Some of those friends also suffer from the dreadful hangovers!

But both approaches, fail to deal with the elephant in the room: death itself! Many of us try to forget it, whilst others try to fend it off for longer. I would suggest what we really need to do is face up to what happens afterwards…

Looking at the gravestones in a cemetery, it appears that in the face of death, there is much sorrow and despair, without much hope. The only hope that can be found on gravestones are normally inspired by faith, e.g. With Jesus, which is far better”, ‘Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal’

And it is true. Our only hope of life after this life lies with Jesus. He is the only one who has defeated death and came back to offer us eternal life. Out of all the founders of the major religions, only Jesus is still alive today!

Only Jesus claimed to have power over death and life: ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this? ()

I often read about and hear people criticising religion, talking about it being a crutch or a bunch of judgemental Christian’s. Well am not into religion and try not to be judgemental in any way. Those of you who know me, realise that I am a relationship person . The greatest relationship I have the won I have with God through Jesus Christ.

So can I suggest that whatever your current beliefs, how about reflecting carefully on the subject of death. The hope I am talking about is not about death but about eternal life that starts now. However, it is your choice!

 

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Created my blog almost five years ago, when I started the journey as a full time student studying Applied Theology. However, before the end of my first term, I discovered that studying for a degree and particulalry theology, was not the walk in the park I imagined it to be. After a rather challenging three years, I managed to graduate with a BA (hons) Applied Theology that was awarded by University of Gloucstershire. Moorlands was a great experience and I learnt so much, but at the end of the course realised that I knew very little. Many personal challenges during that time including lovely Lilly going away, my Mum going to be with Our Lord, Trish having skin cancer and much more. But equally there were things to be thankful for; such as our prodigal son coming back and building his life, step by step with help from Lisa.

Having graduated I continued to work as a Mental Health Support Worker on the nursing bank, at St Ann’s hospital and other places like the brilliant detox unit. It was brilliant work, but at times very physically and mentally challenging. At the same time worked as a part time Assistant Pastor at Poulner Baptist Chapel. However, in 2013 I stepped away from both vocations. I gained so much from both roles, but sensed that the seasons had come to an end. I celebrated my 60th birhtday in 2013 and the party lasted for three days with friends travelling form places around the country. The celebrations were on par with the party the year before on the weekend of my graduation. But on that occasion my sister and two brothers had travelled down from Scotland to join in.

In November 2013 saw advert for appointment as Homelessness Projects Coordinator with Faithworks Wessex, applied for the job and started work in January 2014. Interesting journey and we have now changed the role title to ‘homeless worker’, which really says it all.

So after all the waffle above, the question has got to be: ‘blog or not to blog’? Got to ask myself ‘what is the aim of blogging’? Answers on a postcard or you could just leave a comment. Note that a number of other folk who started blogs at the same time as myself have let them wither away……

Sorry folks for not providing any blog entries for the past week or so. The days seem to blend into each other. My next assignment (Paul and Romans) is due in on Tuesday 1st December and have already started research. This Saturday I am speaking at a mens breakfast in East Sussex and the following weekend is the Alpha Saturday, part of the Alpha course programme I am involved with at Poulner. This week is fairly hectic with meetings in the evening and Alpha. College term ends in the first week of December, but I hope to get shifts at the hospital throughout December. Plus we have a press release that has to be in for around the 11th December and an assignment on the 11th January 2010, the day we return. So folks, appreciate your prayer support. Chris, one of the guys on the course has told me about another blog provider that I am going to have a look at. Thanks for your support and prayers.

Tuesday was a very good day at college. This is the day, that the work placement students come into college and attend lectures with us. Although they only spend one day a week with us, we get on very well together and friendships have started to be established. Tuesdays are our longest day, in terms of lectures and yesterday we had christian doctrine which was particularly good. The subject was the “Authority of “Scripture” and it included a DVD presentation by John Stott, helped my understanding. Later we had a couple of sessions looking at the “Kingdom of God” and what this really meant. The Tuesday Chapel service yesterday was also very good, with the message being given by John Horder, one of the lecturers. Have a rehearsal this morning for a presentation that syndicates are giving on Friday – promoting a new soap powder.

The funeral of Ron Wearing is being held on Thursday 5th November 2009. Ron tragically drowned on his honeymoon and his widow (Hannah) is naturally devastated. Please pray for Hannah, that she find inner peace, following Ron’s death and the death of her son earlier in the year.

I have to submit an assignment next Tuesday, please pray for me as I work on this project.

Picked up a bug at the start of the week and spent a few days, with bucket in hand, running to toilet. Also missed two days at College. Thursday and Friday was half term and I went out with the Poulner Baptist Chapel Visitation team, doing door to door visits in the area. The church has a good reputation due to all the activities and people were very friendly. Purchased a load of text books that I require for college work. Moorlands has an excellent library, however, when a particular year is working on an assignment it can be difficult to get hold of the corps reference books.

Had the last NT Greek test today,  very pleased!

Went to Guys Marsh Prison this morning and preached for the first time. Can’t think of a better way to spend a birthday. Got the opportunity to chat with the guys, for quite a while, before and after the service. I was with Dave and Ruth, fellow students from Moorlands College. I gave my testimony and then preached on Psalm 27. It was not brilliant, but ok for the first time. Did not sleep well last night (clocks went back) and kept waking up during the night and checking the clock. Up at 0600 hrs and got back around 1400 hrs.

Went to Christchurch Priory last night to watch the Graduation Ceremony of the folk who finished in July. The speaker was Professor John Lennox from Oxford, who is well known for his public debates with Professor Richard Dawkins on the subject of the “The God Delusion”. Yesterday lunch time was a real cringer. Someone announced that it was my birthday and I was asked to stand up, when all those in for lunch sang “Happy Birthday”. Tried to look casual about the whole thing, but was quite embarrassed, not that anyone would have noticed.

Only had two lectures this morning. First one was Greek- less said the better. But really interesting presentation by an Army Chaplain. He gave a good description of their ministry and the process for troops returning from active service. Being Friday had fish and chips for lunch – brilliant. Sat with the Army Chaplain and he was very impressed with the fact we prayed on Mondays and Fridays for 15 minutes, for past graduates, using packs of information sheets/newsletters on them.

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