Friday, August 28, 2009

Keith Green

Back in the 80's , I came under heavy conviction about the music I listened too as a teenager. It came to the point of me getting rid of all my albums and tapes. Something that pretty much the whole school heard about and even lead to the RE teacher questioning me on whether I'd heard God speak to me or not. He seemed to find the fact that God had incredible to believe.
Anyway, as usual, I digress.
I didn't really know much about Christian music and didn't have a lot of success with what I found. I remember listening to a group called Barrett Band that was good, Paul Fields, Graham Kendrick and of course Keith Green.
I didn't know much about Keith, I heard he gave his albums away for free. I didn't even know he was dead in those days until i attended a Keith green concert hosted by Melody green and it was all explained. His life story: No Compromise, is a challenging read and will explain a lot about a man who was wonderfully saved.

There was no where near the same level of quality of music there is for teenagers these days and I admit I struggled.
A lot.
Recently I dug out my old Keith Green CD's and put them on my iPod. I'm amazed how sharp his words are, and how they're getting under my skin and into my spirit.
This song has been on my mind for a week or so, I just can't get it out of my head. I dare you to read the lyrics and not be stirred, listening to Keith sing it with his passion is another thing altogether!

Asleep in The Light

Do you see, do you see
All the people sinking down
Dont you care, dont you care
Are you gonna let them drown

How can you be so numb
Not to care if they come
You close your eyes
And pretend the jobs done

Oh bless me lord, bless me lord
You know its all I ever hear
No one aches, no one hurts
No one even sheds one tear

But he cries, he weeps, he bleeds
And he cares for you needs
And you just lay back
And keep soaking it in
Oh cant you see its such a sin

Cause he brings people to your door
And you turn them away
As you smile and say
God bless you, be at peace
And all heaven just weeps
cause jesus came to you door
Youve left him out on the streets

Open up open up
And give yourself away
You see the need, you hear the cries
So how can you delay

Gods calling and youre the one
But like Jonah you run
Hes told you to speak
But you keep holding it in
Of cant you see its such a sin

The world is sleeping in the dark
That the church just cant fight
cause its asleep in the light
How can you be so dead
When youve been so well fed
Jesus rose from the grave
And you, you cant even get out of bed

Oh, Jesus rose from the dead
Come on get out of your bed

How can you be so numb
Not to care if they come
You close your eyes
And pretend the jobs done
You close your eyes
And pretend the jobs done

Dont close your eyes
Dont pretend the jobs done
Come away, come away, come away with me my love
Come away, come away, come away with me my love

Monday, August 24, 2009


Sometimes it seems people are getting visions 24/7. You hear people saying how they were reading the paper and had a vision, or watching Eastenders and had a vision. They were walking down the street and had a vision.
I do wonder at all this envisioning going on, mainly because in my 40 years I've only ever had 1.
I've had dreams, and pictures and daydreams but only once have I ever had what I would call a vision.
For a start I found it was memorable. Even now almost 20 years on I remember it in great detail. It was different to a picture or daydream too, I was awake and yet all my senses were involved.
Let me tell you about it.
I was on Go Team (a Gospel Outreach team) and we were sort of having a sabbatical in Northumberland at a place called Otterburn Hall back in 1990.
We were having a time of worship and I remember I was sort of on the edges of things quietly worshipping when it seemed I was no longer in the hall. I was in a wheat field. The wheat was tall so only the top of my body was visible. All my senses were tingling, there was a magic in the air, like there is just before a storm, everything was so quiet, not even the birds were singing.
I looked up and saw that the clouds had lined up in a row, just as they do sometimes when the weather will change dramatically over a 24hr period. And there, in the middle was Jesus, standing on the cloud. And also, as if I'd not noticed them at first was thousands of others standing with him to his left and right on the cloud.
I came too and found I was on my knees. I had no idea how long I had been there like that, seconds or hours.
I shared what I had seen, but after I kept it to myself.
It was like I'd been given a precious jewel, something just for me.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Mac Bible Sotware

If you have a Mac you can download this great free software. Once you have it just download some 'modules' or books to be read with it from The Sword Project.

For instance I have a King James Bible (amongst others) that has Strongs reference numbers attached, plust the Strongs dictionaries to cross reference. I have Spurgeons morning & evening devotional as well as Pilgrims Progress.

For free this is outstanding material.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Small Start

I've been praying that this year would be a year of hearing God afresh, in a dynamic way, that I would be walking in The Holy Spirit, hearing Him speak who I am to speak to, who I am to pray for.
Sunday afternoon I was sitting on my bed praying. I looked out of the window and saw a man painting his house, further down the street. I thought 'he's working hard' only to staight away hear a voice say 'go and tell him I love him'. I sat there thinking 'oh'. I heard the voice again 'go and tell him I love him'. It's what I've been waiting and praying for, so I dont know why it was so hard for me to go down the stairs, find the door locked, think of giving up, unlock the door and slowly make my way down the street to the man painting. I did it though, and told him God loved him.
We talked for about 10mins. He was a nice guy, probably thinks I'm a little strange, but I'm so thankful for this small chance to do what I'd been told to do.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Chris Vs The Werewolf

Phillipians 2 v 12
And so, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, not only when I was with you but even more now that I am absent, continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.

This is a bit of a strange story, but, nonetheless, it's true.
I reckon I was about 10 and doing my best to live a life in the Fear of God, trying to please the all seeing God. I knew a bit about Jesus now and what He had done for me, but probably like a lot of young believers would have had a hard time actually giving a concise and clear reason for my faith. I mean, I was only 10.

I remember clearly I started having a recurring dream.
It was very strange. I was in something similar to an interview room. In the room was a table with 2 chairs, 1 either side of the table.
I sat on one side of the table, and on the other was a Werewolf!
In the dream the Werewolf had one purpose to it's life and one only, to reach across, grab me and tear me to pieces.
But, I would be able to stop the Werewolf, not by might or power but by simply finding the reason why it couldn't do that.

The debate went something like this:
Me: You can't touch me because I'm a Christian.
WW: So what, what does that mean?
Me: It means I believe in Jesus.
WW: So do I. So what?
Me: I believe He died for my sins.
WW: Says who?
Me: The Bible.
WW: Who cares what the Bible says?

This would go on and on, it felt like for hours. But things would eventually come to a head, and it was always on the last point, the Bible.
I learned at that early age, working out my salvation with fear and trembling, that everything hinged on the Word. All the promises in the Bible, all the good things you know, or think you know hinge on whether the Bible is true or not, whether it's God's word or not.
It's the final card on the table that will show you surviving or being torn to pieces.
You can't prove it's true. You believe it is. By faith.
I play the card and the Werewolf is stopped.
I won.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Early Struggles & The Holy Spirit Pt. 2

So, we made it to the Bible Week. It was hosted by a man called Arthur Wallis, all I can remember of him and the meetings I saw him at was that he would prophecy so long! it seemed instead of preaching the word he prophesied for about 30mins at a time! I later come to really love Arthurs' books and have learnt so much from them. All these meetings took place in a big tent. It was such a weird time looking back at it. I remember one day there the Police were called as a coven of witches had been broken up in the woods the night previously and arrested, they were all barking like dogs!?
Another time I saw a white haired man that someone said had been raised from the dead!
At these tent meetings I would sometimes just go off fo a walk as it all went a lot over my head. I dont know if there were youth meetings or not but I never got wind of them if there were.
One day I was walking across one of the fields and a man followed me. He introduced himself as Burt, he had a 'old sailor' look to him and said that he couldn't read or write. We got talking, which was very unusual as I was like a clam in those days, very shy and introverted. He said God had been speaking to him about me for the last 3 days.
I was very unhappy with life in those days, being a Christan at school had won me 0 friends. Literally. None. As we got talking he explained I needed the Holy Spirit, of whom I now knew a little. He told me to lie on the floor and prayed for me. it was bizarre, as there were other people walking around, but I did and started to speak in tounges. I ran back to the tent to tell everyone I could 'do it' and felt like I could take on the world. And win.
Which was just as well really because when I did get back home with my new Christian t-shirt on and went to see the boys playing football they told me to 'get lost'.
I walked away from the field and brushed the dust off my feet, because I'd read about this in the Bible.
I had some extremely lonely times as a child and teen, spending what was probably a very unhealthy amount of time on my own walking the hills around my home. I spent a lot of time praying and talking to God as well which was a healthy thing to do.
I do feel tearful thinking back at some of the trials I had, but thank God I came through them undamaged.

Want to hear something weird? Years after this event, when I was in a church in Risca and doing an outreach in Newport, I was standing in John Frost Square packing up some P.A. equipment. i stopped, looked up and there was Burt, standing there watching me. I know this sounds too weird, but it's 100% true. I've never seen him since.

Early Struggles & The Holy Spirit

Living a life to please Jesus has not always been easy. Especially when I was young.
I've mentioned before that in the small village I grew up in there were only 2 boys my age. There was also 2 younger than me and 1 older. They would all get together (except for the boy my age who didn't play with the other boy my complicated for 3 kids!). I would join in and play with them on the Junior School playing field after school or on the weekend. Sometimes we went camping together in a local farmers field.

One year my parents decided to go to something called a 'Bible Week', it was going to be in the New Forest. I think it was around 1979, which would make me 11 years old.
I'd now been baptised in water at the Baptist Church at the top of the road. me and another boy called Phillip Wild, who was one of the sons of the Sunday School teacher. I didn't have a lot of idea what was happening, even though it was explained very thouroughly to me by the Minister. I was only about 9, and just knew God wanted it to happen, so I did it. That was really the level of my understanding.

I think it was the following year that the Church hosted something called a Youth For Christ team. This was a bunch of teens and twenty somethings who had given up a year of their life to come and help our snall village be evangelised. It sounded interesting so pleaded with my Mum if we could put one of them up. What was amazing was she said yes and we ended up for a year with the leader of the team, Hugh, staying with us.
It was a very incredible year.
As the year progressed and we had some really fun times with Hugh and the team, who started a youth club in the holidays and took us on midnight hikes with soup at the end, and took us into Newport to play funny disguise games. Hugh also started taking us into Cardiff where we'd heard there was some amazing meetings being held in the Park Hotel. We started going along and found people a lot different to the Baptist Church.
Please hear me on this. The Baptist Church had some good people in it. They tried to walk a Godly life, though it was a very somber one. It fell apart though shortly after the events I'm describing.
At the Park Hotel, there were lots of happy people, they played tamborines, danced! and spoke the Word in a very different way to what I was used to. they would all sing in different languages as well, which apparently was the gift of tounges from The Holy Spirit.
My Dad was particularly taken with all that was going on, and it wasn't long before he was baptised in The Spirit, then a couple of others were from the Church until there was about 10 of us all filled with the Spirit (not me yet though).
After that Dad had real problems at the Baptist Church. They did not like him raising his hands in worship, and pretty much rejected what he had experienced of The Spirit. So, unfortunatley we all left and started a house church.
I'm not sure how we ended up at the New Forest bible Week, but we did.
And this post has gone on a lot longer than I was expecting so I'll pick up the story later.

Casting Crowns

I've not been listening to Christian music for long. Probably about a year. I keep finding the more I listen to and read Spiritual media the more I'm being changed. It's really weird. It's happening so quickly. It's like suddenly finding you no longer like chocolate or can eat burgers when you only had one yesterday.
Yesterday I sat down to read Ben Elton's Chart Throb, I've enjoyed a lot of his books, but I couldn't read it! Same with music, i'm finding that Spiritual music is hitting me on a completeley different level to 'normal' music.

As said at the beginning, I've not been listening to Christian music for long, but Casting Crowns are one group that really inspire me. Read these lyrics from the song 'WHAT IF HIS PEOPLE PRAYED'

What if the armies of the Lord
Picked up and dusted off their swords
Vowed to set the captive free
And not let satan have one more

What if the Church, for heaven's sake
Finally stepped up to the plate
Took a stand upon God's promise
And stormed hell's rusty gates

Chorus I:
What if His people prayed
And those who bear His name
Would humbly seek His faith, yeah
And turn from their old ways

And what would happen if we prayed
For those raised up to lead the way
Then maybe kids in school could pray
And unborn children see light of day

What if the life that we pursue
Came from a hunger for the truth
What if the family turned to Jesus
Stopped asking Oprah what to do

Chorus I:
What if His people prayed
And those who bear His name
Would humbly seek His face yeah
And turn from their own way
Chorus II:
He said that He would hear
His promise has been made
He'll answer loud and clear, yeah
If only we would pray

If My people called by My name
If they'll humble themselves and pray
If My people called by My name
If they'll humble themselves and pray

What if His people prayed
And those who bear His name
Would humbly seek His face, yeah
And turn from their old ways
He said that He would hear
His promise has been made
He'll answer loud and clear yeaah
If only we would pray

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Facing The Giants

Like a lot of people's reviews I've read on this film, I'll echo one sentiment. I did'nt know they made movies like this! It's not often you can watch a movie and feel better for having done so, but this is one of those. Facing The Giants is a "Christian Film", it has at it's central core the belief that God can change lives and events. From different reviews I've read this point seems to be hotly debated, maybe because when He does it does'nt make the news.

The story follows A High School football coach, Grant Taylor, who's life is just full of those little upsets that piled together can bring someone to their knees. His car is a piece of junk, he only earns enough to tick over, not enough to go out and buy another car or commit to that kind of a loan. His house smells terrible, something has died in the floorboards somewhere! The cooker is on the blink. His job is'nt going anywhere, the team are losing games and he might be replaced and lose his job. And to top it off he has some condition that is preventing him and his wife from having children. Some mountains he has in his life, probably easier to deal with in small doses but brought together are a tsunami for him and he is literally brought to his knees where he asks God for help. Grant is then used by God as a fulcrum for a revival in the high school as he makes a stand and brings Christian standards into the football code. The team has a complete turnaround and starts winning, enabling them to finally meet the biggest team in the State, the Giants. Before going further I must point out, that though this is a Hollywood quality film with high production values, the cast are not actors. Most of them are apparently members of the church where writer/director/star Alex Kendrick goes. Does this make a big difference? from my viewing I'd say no. It took me a bit of time to get used to the accents but after that you soon found that these 'real' people are acting very 'real'. You really feel for Grant and his wife. It's not common to see men cry on film, but in the situation he is in I think most would.

So, a good film? Real enough? Insiring? Yes, yes and yes. If you want to watch something that could genuinely lift your spirits as well as maybe just show you an answer to life then watch this movie. Me, I'm looking forward to getting the first film from this group "Flywheel" and also seeing there most recent one "Fireproof" too.

The Heavenly Man

I've just finished reading The Heavenly Man, the true story of a Christian Leader, Brother Yun, in China.

Lots has been said about this book, the incredible tortures he endured after being captured by the Chinese authorities for his 'crime' of Christianity, or of the miraculous escape from a maximum security prison as he just walked out the front gates.

What hit me hardest though was the 'wake up call' in this book.
Do you take Jesus seriously?
If your a believer you would probably answer 'yes', after reading this book I had to answer 'not nearly as much as I need to'.

I should explain something else to you at this point, I've not read any Christian book other than The Bible for about 20 years.
One day I just stopped.
I was getting tired of reading other peoples revelation, other peoples miracles. I wanted to get it for myself, first hand, from The Bible myself. And that's what I have been doing for those 20 years.
Recently I was at a Bible Week in Stafford, England, and believed God was speaking to me to 'widen' the sphere of influence he has on me. What I mean by that is, to allow God more chances to speak to me. Part of that is to start reading books where God will speak to me. I know He can speak to me through any means, but realisticaly there's more chance through a book like The Heavenly Man than Tom Clancy's Rainbow 6.

So, to conclude, I recommend this book. It is a serious book that will challenge you to take your walk with Jesus a lot more seriously than I expect you are.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

How it all began

I've heard people talk about how they 'saw the light', 'met God', 'will never forget the day that...', but for me it wasn't like that.
I must have been about 5 or 6 years old. I had a tiny box room in the house I grew up in in a small village called Castleton. It was a small village with only 2 other boys in the neighbourhood my age. And they didn't play together.
I was taken by my God fearing parents to a small Baptist Church at the top of the road where every Sunday I learned to either draw strange aliens in my dad's diary or sketch the stained glass window. We went twice on Sunday. Sunday school in the morning with my teacher Mrs Wild and then in the evening where guaranteed I would fall asleep at the first prayer and wake up in time for the last hymn.
Anyway, I was about 5 or 6... I was in bed and having a cracker of a nightmare. In my dream I knew, as only a kid knows...I mean really know, that one day I would die and either go to Heaven or Hell. I knew that it was one of them and it wouldn't be Heaven. Dont ask me how I knew this. I had no idea about Jesus, the Holy Spirit or even much about the Bible. I just knew this was true.
I woke up crying and mum came in to ask what was wrong.
'I dont want to go to Hell' I cried and mum said we'd talk about it in the morning.
We never did.
From that moment on though I changed. Maybe not 100% straight away, but gradually, like a boat that moves a rudder 1° only to find out a few miles along that it's on a different course.
From that moment on I knew 100% that there was a God. he was everywhere. He knew everything. He knew all I said, all I thought, everything. There would be no hiding. So from that moment on I tried to live in a way that would please Him and not make Him angry.
Maybe I'd just learned The Fear Of The Lord at that early age?
After about 4 or 5 years I was baptised, and years later again baptised in The Holy Spirit.
But, all those years ago now, in that small room, on the bed my dad built as the room was too small for a 'proper' bed I started life.