"Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers." - VoltairE

"God is your Father, not your boss"

October 11, 2018

Recently I have been experiencing a bit of a dip in mental health. I went to the doctor and he said that I needed to take things easier, so I have been attempting to do that. I've realised that I don't find it very easy to relax and be still. I've even been working hard on trying to get better and trying to feel closer to God, but had been feeling flat and frustrated.

This weekend I was at the True Freedom Trust annual conference and God used it really powerfully to help me. I was apprehensive about going because I knew that I'd be around people all weekend, but I needn't have worried. It was wonderful to see all my friends and make new friends, and I was reminded again how special the community is.

There were talks by Stuart and Rob from TfT and guest speaker Simon Ponsonby. God spoke to me powerfully through all the talks and seemed to unravel the frustration and resentment of the last few months as he gently reassured me of his love and grace.

Simon spoke about the prodigal son story (Luke 15: 11 - 32), which I must have heard and read hundreds of times. I was challenged by the words of the elder brother who is so bitter about the outpouring of love towards his younger brother and resents 'slaving' away for his father. He has turned what should be a beautiful, loving relationship into drudgery and duty. If I'm honest, I can see some of myself in that. I am keen to be effective in ministry and do good work for God, but I think I'd become proud and self-sufficient which had sucked the joy out of my service. We often say that we can't do anything without God, but that's not really true. We can do lots of things independently of God, even thinking that we're doing those things for him. It's painful and humbling to admit that I'd been sucked into a 'slave' mentality and made my Christian life into hard work with prayer tasks and Bible study tasks and ministry tasks. Simon reminded us that "God is your Father, not your boss" and since then I have been rediscovering the joy of relationship with him (God, not Simon).

I feel like I've been an idiot, but fortunately, God loves idiots. I'm so thankful for my friends near and far who have spoken words of encouragement and rebuke, and who pray for me regularly.

And I'm ridiculously grateful for the ministry of TfT. It's had such a significant impact on my life and faith, since I heard one of the members share so honestly about his relationship with Jesus 23 years ago, before I was a Christian. I've lost count of how many conferences I've been to, but they're always the highlight of my year.


Top apps, tools and websites for students

September 7, 2018

As I’ve gone back to studying, I’ve found some useful tools to help. As this new academic year kicks off, I thought it would be useful to share my favourites:

  1. Reference manager - Zotero (free). Zotero is a brilliant way of organising all your sources including books, papers, presentations, journal articles, videos, podcasts and more. It’s really easy to generate bibliographies from your source material and use tagging to organise and sort your material efficiently. It really is an excell...

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PrayerMate Send

August 30, 2018

For a few months now, I’ve been using PrayerMate Send which is a brilliant way to help people know what to pray for in my ministry. It’s ideal for anyone in Christian ministry, churches, youth groups, social action projects, charities and anyone that wants to encourage others to pray for their work.

PrayerMate is a great, free app for smartphones which allows users to organise the things they’re praying for, add contacts, create lists and subscribe to feeds from organisations and individ...

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Bible character collecting cards

August 23, 2018

I've always loved collecting things, especially fact cards, so I was really pleased to discover this free trading card creator. You can use one of their pre-made templates or create your own categories. The above example of Paul shows one I created to include information about when and where he lived, his role and family background, Bible books he appears in and wrote, major events in his life and a couple of famous quotes from Scripture.

They have ready-made templates for people, places, obje...
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The joy of giving

August 15, 2018

This morning I was interviewed as part of some research on charitable giving at Northumbria University. I was asked about which charities I give to, how I give and my motivations, which was a great opportunity to reflect.

I haven't always given to charity and for me it's been a process of growing in my faith, trusting God more, appreciating what he's giving me, and realising that what Jesus said is true - it really is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20: 35).

There are a number of thi...

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Picture This Thought

August 3, 2018

I'm exploring different ways to do discipleship and outreach, especially over the summer as it's harder to see people in person. I think that digital media can be a helpful tool to engage people with faith and help them to think about Jesus.

I have just started recording a short video reflection each day based on a photo I've taken. The aim is to think about what the picture might tell us about God and his world and my prayer is that it will spark offline conversations with students and others...

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Life in the Fast Lane

July 31, 2018

I have just had quite a busy two months, what with a work trip to Paris, running training in Birmingham, speaking at two conferences in London, doing a Master’s assignment, going to Granny’s funeral, completing the 3 week summer school intensive for my Master’s in Gloucester and visiting family in Manchester. I’m now home and supposedly having a bit of a rest, but I’ve realised how hard it is to stop.

I have a wooden block by my bed with the verse ‘Be still and know that I am God...

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What’s your favourite smell?

June 25, 2018

I've been thinking a lot recently about smells and more specifically about the power of smell to recall long-forgotten people and places from the distant past. We've probably all had the experience when we've been going about our daily lives when suddenly a scent will stop us in our tracks and we feel that we are once again in our grandmother's kitchen or walking through the school doors for the very first time. Smell can transport you back to the moment in a way that no other sense can and c...

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Sites for Christian book lovers

June 14, 2018

I love books and I'm a Christian, so I do enjoy Christian books (as anyone who knows me or has been to my house will attest!). I've collected a number of useful links to sites where you can buy books, read reviews and support Christian literature charities. Enjoy!

Sites for Christian book-lovers

  • Books For Life - Videos of Christian leaders talking about the books that have changed their lives.

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Are we efficiently miserable? Relational breakdown vs the Kingdom story

June 4, 2018

Sometimes it’s hard to see what the goal of human progress is. As technology develops, we’re doing things quicker and more efficiently than ever before, but at what cost?

We’re bugged by constant reminders and notifications. We have advanced technological systems to keep us in line and ‘on track’ but what’s it all for?

We seem to be advancing technologically at the expense of human contact and community. We've lost the ability to relate to strangers. We can now perform mos...

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