Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Year Of Kings...

“The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year, or even one term, but…I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you: We as a people will get there.”

-President Elect Barrack Obama

2008…what can be said? Well actually quite a lot, as this blog will point out. This is the first time I’ve ever done a year in review blog, and looking back on the year gone by…it’s staggering everything which has happened. Not just in the global scale, but in community life, and personal life.

I’m going to try and remember as much of this year as I possibly can, but if there is anything I forget, please let me know, and I’ll make changes where necessary.

The quote above comes from one Barrack Obama, the new President Elect, who fought a long and hard campaign battle to get to where he is today, less than 3 weeks from his inauguration. For this year, much hope has come from this man, and maybe finally the world has turned a new page…perhaps his words will come true…can we change? “Yes We Can…”

But it hasn’t been all fluffy bunny cakes this year…The world is facing the biggest financial crisis in over 5 decades, with shares falling, banks becoming stringent money-grubbers, and the trigger fingers of the Wall Street share holders going crazy. Not only that, but every country has had to come up with a way to protect themselves from the ensuing crisis, with Ireland releasing an early, and frankly appalling budget, in October.

Petrol has fluctuated, prices have shifted, VAT has been upped, or if you’re lucky to be living in the UK, lowered…it’s all a cavalcade of mayhem. Education cuts, medical cards, cycling incentives, protests, the NO vote on the Lisbon treaty…all of this has take place within the Emerald Isle…and let’s not forget about the scandals…

It must be great to be Mary Harney, being able to have a private pianist play for her, and enjoy a nice beauty treatment all at the cost of the tax payer…did I mention it was in Bora Bora…screw the Mechanical Engineer idea, a bloody politician seems like the right way to go…

Ever ensuing wars have broken out, attacks escalated in Afghanistan, Iraq… but what about the news which doesn’t make the headlines? What about the child soldiers in Uganda, the slave labourers in Asia, the crippled state of countries hit by natural disasters? Seems like even a good hurricane doesn’t generate enough interest nowadays for the media to profit off of…

Speaking of media, there have been some great TV and Movie moments…I know this sounds contradictory to the last paragraph, but what are you going to do? For me, 24 Redemption has to be the TV highlight of the year, with movie honours going to The Dark Knight and Twilight

Games have also been in great anticipation, with the release of major titles such as GTAIV, Fallout 3, Little Big Planet, Gears of War 2, and my personal favourite, and recently voted as GameStop’s game of the year, Metal Gear Solid 4…

Sport…well I’m not majorly into the whole thing, but this year played host to what is possibly the greatest Olympics in our time…Lewis Hamilton won the F1 championship, along with many other events being hosted, including Wimbledon, US Masters, boxing championships, rugby…ohh and not forgetting Strictly Come Dancing

We’ve had crisis’ in Africa too…Along with the growing rate of AIDS victims, child soldiers and orphans, we’ve had coup d’├ętats, fighting, and cover ups, all within the state of Zimbabwe…

But all of this has happened outside of our general communities. You see, as much as this blog is dedicated to looking back on major events, such as the above suggests, much has happened within our own personal lives… These are the major events of this past year for me;

I suppose the first noticeable thing to those of you reading is that I started up this blog in September. This has been a great vent for me to write, giving me the freedom to develop writing skills, and also share with you what I feel about a certain topic, or sharing my experiences.

New Year’s came, and now it returns, and as this happens, my mind cannot be helped but be drawn to school. I completed Trans year, and started 5th in exuberant fashion…which was quickly dispelled in the following weeks. But I am so glad I did Trans year. It gave me a break that I needed, but more importantly, I did so much during that year than any other… Adventure activities, plays, radio shows, projects, work experience and just general fun times within school, and because of it, I feel I have grown somewhat in myself…

5th year on the other hand, not such a doddle… for those of you doing 5th, I think its pretty safe to assume you know how difficult it is…man, there is a lot of work involved, so much more than I expected… However, I was well pleased with my exam results, and feeling confident heading into the next half of the year…

I got a new laptop and mp3…which at this current moment, has nearly 5000 songs on it. And the laptop has been fantastic, not breaking down a single time, or having to wait 2 months to get it fixed…not looking at anyone in particular *cough* Bernard *cough*

Family life this year has been testing. As I gain maturity, many of my emotions begin to surface unexpectedly. Not only that, but my uncle Mike, aged 65, finally returned home after battling cancer for 4 years. This was hard on everyone, especially my Gran and Grand-dad. And speaking of whom, has just returned home after being hospitalized for over 2 months now.

I’ve been to many events outside of school, with a big focus going to Wesley’s awesome production of Grease. I’ve also been to see Tennis legends play in the Odyssey, seen Paramore rock my socks off, and been to the Christian equivalent of Oxygen, MAD.

A major part of this year was the holidays, and this year has to be the best by far. My family and Bernard headed over to Budapest for around a week. And the fun we had! Check out a previous blog everything which happened on that holiday.

Camps and conferences have been a big part of this year for me. Beyond 48 was a great experience down in Kilkenny College. RAW was possibly the greatest Ovoca camp I’ve ever been to. GAP was a truly inspiring time. Check previous blog entries or my bebo page for posts on each of them…

Speaking of which, I set up Prayer4Hope on bebo, in response to the need of a very good friend of mine. Please take a look at it if you haven’t already…

Those of you who remember, may recount that I had a job in the local SuperValu, working as a butcher. In the months leading up to Summer, I felt the need to spend time with my family, and so handed in my resignation. I’ve read countless books in the mean time, including several Rob Bell books, Donald Millar, C. S. Lewis, Fred Stoeker, and my personal favourite, reading the 4 gospels in the space of two months. I have also completed a study on 1st Thessalonians, and will be providing a link in the New Year.

Church has played a major role this year, and its seems I have finally settled down in City Gates, a church in Cabinteely. I have enjoyed every time I have visited, and plan on making a return shortly. I have also managed to attend a number of their youth group meetings, entitle GAP and I have to say it has been a huge encouragement for me to go there, and have some of the most fun I have had in a long while.

Meet ups were quite standard, and once every month, or so, a group of us would get together to celebrate a birthday, or moving home, or just for the hell of it! It was at the meet up for my birthday, that I gave a talk on authenticity, and commissioned Christopher Ecclestone, as he headed off to America to study God’s word.

We’ve been to the cinema, enjoyed ramblings in the park, and just hung about. Major thanks have to go to Damo, who in the past two months, has met up with me and looked after me more times than I can remember. Props also have to go to Bernard, who put me up a number of times, and had general craic with.

Special mention must go to Teenstreet. This was probably the greatest experience I’ve had this year. The passion, the praise, the talks, the food…ok, not so much the food…the NET times, the general fun, the personal moments, the tears, the joy…all of this and more happened within the space of a week, and if I were to sum it up, I would have to say Life Changing, because that is what it was. Look out for my blog on the week.

Those of you who know me, know that I have struggled with an addiction to porn and other related activities. I continue to struggle with this, but I know a breakthrough is coming, because I have seen now what it takes to fight it back. Special thanks go to my accountability partner, who has walked this road with me, and cared for me. Thank you.

My family have been a huge encouragement to me throughout the year. Seeing them cope with the loss of my uncle was extraordinary, and seeing Dad complete our shed which has taken months of hard work is great to see. They’ve stayed up late at night, helped me study, but most importantly, been the best Mum and Dad ever. Thank you.

My friends have also played a huge significance throughout this year. From old to new, you have helped shaped me to become who I am today. Your constant care and support has been unwavering, and it is with the upmost gratefulness that I am honoured to be called your friends. Thank you.

And special mention most go to A and A…no, I’m not talking about the car recovery service…two friends who have been with me through hell and high water. You have helped me through so much; my addiction, during my uncle’s death, problems dealing with my faith…and out of all this, you two are without a doubt the most understanding people I know. Thank you.

And by now, if you haven’t figured it out, I am a Christian, and damn proud of it! My faith is my life, and one day, I plan on becoming a youth minister to spread the word of my Savior…

To you, my Jesus… Alpha and Omega. Beginning and End. The Lion and the Lamb. No words can describe the thankfulness that I have for your provision of strength, kindness, mercy, faith, hope, friendship, grace and love to me. It is you who I live for, now and for all my days, for there is none like you, my Jesus. Let your name be exalted on high, and may your glory touch the lives of others like it has touched mine. And may your voice, word and light be my guide for all my days. Thank you for what you did 2000 years ago, and continue to do everyday of our lives. May Christ be the centre of my life, and may I take up the challenge that you have given me: “To live as a Godly man, not just on the outside, but on the inside, and through everything I do…”

Already change is on the way. I have friends going to Africa with HFH, friends already in India helping the Leprosy Mission. I have exams coming up, friends doing their Leaving, me preparing for my Leaving. Friends moving away, and friends growing closer. A new president, and worrying financial future… Change is coming.

And so to 2009…

The Year of Change…


Bring it on…


Let Him be the Nexus of your life…


In His Name, and for His Glory…

“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
-Ephesians 5:1-2

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
-Galatians 2:20

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
-2 Corinthians 4:18

“The promise of being transformed and ignited to holy passion by understanding and beholding God’s glorious personality is for all believers. No matter how weak or strong we feel, regardless of our previous failures, irrespective of our natural temperaments or personalities, each of us can be set ablaze with passion for Jesus.”-Mike Bickle

“In light of all this, here's what I want you to do. While I'm locked up here, a prisoner for the Master, I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel.”-Ephesians 4:1

“Can I bear the torment,
Of the bloody war for my soul?
Or will I tumble into darkness once again?

Take this mind and mould,
You very existence into being,
For though I may not see it,
You still live inside of me.

Should darkness take me back,
And all I know separates,
You still hold he candle,
That can free me from its chains.

For you light will never die.”
-Philip King

“So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.”
-2 Thessalonians 2:15

“May the Lord direct your hearts into God's love and Christ's perseverance.”
-2 Thessalonians 3:5

“Jesus said, “I am the Road, also the Truth, also the Life. No one gets to the Father apart from me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him. You've even seen him!””
-John 14:6

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.” -John 3:16

Budapest...

Monday
-Bernard doing Daft Hands on aeroplane
-No glasses in glasses case for Bernard, forgot them in Ireland
-Taxi to the apartment got lost, despite using his GPS
-Switch card game score: 7-3 to Bernard
-No breakfast foods or drinks in the food
-Hungarian Nickelodion!
-Lidl, Aldi, Tesco, Spar, Subway all in Budapest

Tuesday
-Pillow Fight in the morning
-Hungarian Sex Shop (Szex Bolt)
-Got stuck in Spar trying to get out
-Got quarter in McDonalds, gave away receipt to stranger, therefore, I couldn’t go to the toilet!
-Lion with tits-Barbie Bus!
-Hotel beside the apartment had a toilet with triple ply
-Travelling on the Metro
-Trampoline in the City Park
-Statue with massive crotch in Baths
-ICE-CREAM!!!
-Bought Bernard fizzy water instead of still
-Ducks
-Speckled Pigeon
-Phil being moody
-White hot chocolate
-FARD! (Card with “f” replacing “c”, used whenever we lost a game of Switch)
-Bernard’s camera getting soaked
-Having a bath
-Phil losing stuff
-Tram
-Jog on Margeret Island
-Fountain on Margeret Island
-Ferret
-Dinner at Menza
-Bernard hiding in cupboard
-Sitting by the Danube
-Lady at Metro Station trying to fence with Phil
-Phil gets “diarrhoea” from burger
-Switch score: 15-7 to Bernard
-Fridge in our room on max, with nothing in it

Wednesday
-Bernard juggling knife
-Phil getting sick
-Bernard going to market, buys t-shirts
-Fly in Eye
-Funfair: losing several “children”, roller coaster, dodgems, “Break Dance”
-Tourists!
-Bungee Trampoline, destroyed thighs
-Macarrana on Water Slide
-Fart
-Making our videos (coming soon to YouTube)
-Phil being grumpy
-Funhouse
-GAYE: Gay As You Earn
-Phil skipping sex scene in “Kingdom of Heaven”
-Phil tickling Bernard’s ass with his foot
-Phil: “Screw You!” Bernard: “No” *Bernard’s pants fall down*
-“Magic Trick”
-Thunder

Thursday
-Bernard being grumpy
-Phil getting good night sleep
-Lots of pain
-Bernard no talks to Phil
-Tickling
-Getting lost in Metro Station
-Cable Car
-Long Walk in Buda Hills, got lost
-See-Saw
-Bernard hopping himself
-Bernard climbing tree
-Phil getting stick
-Lovely steak dinner
-Children’s Railway
-Phil given out to by weirdo
-BOND: Brilliance Of Never Dying, BONDAGE
-LOLAGE
-Bernard whistles at girl, turns around
-Bernard playing air guitar on Metro
-Bernard spinning around, loses pants
-Went shopping in West End
-Hot Chocolate= “The Sex”
-Phil falling asleep on couch, forcing Bernard to break into the apartment
-Christian band outside Metro station
-Close call for Bernard getting on tram
-Bernard getting a Subway
-Watching Scrubs
-Watched rest of the “Kingdom of Heaven”
-Switch score: 20-8 to Bernard
-Bernard’s crotch is a “beautiful thing”
-Deathness
-Phil: “Deathness to all…” Bernard: “…And to all a good night”
-Gaylien
-Bernard chocking on his own spit

Friday
-Phil longing for MGS4
-House of Terror
-Phil losing travel pass
-Bernard being very moody due to headache
-Swimming in rain in empty public pool
-Bernard loses contact lens
-Trying to help an American tourist
-Kebabs
-Bernard sleeps because of moodiness
-Phil fails to order Subway, gets Bernard to do it instead
-Convo over white hot chocolate
-Phil intrigued by New York Subway System
-Convo about Phil’s “unmentionables”
-Being awkward in shop
-Mr. Bean
-“Szex Bolt” song
-Bernard takes out ice-cream to defrosts, 20 minutes later, puts it back in
-Bernard drops plug adaptor into glass of water
-Bernard goes to do painful sounding dump
-Afro Turtle

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Mutated Humanity...

I shant keep ye long, seen as Bernard be giving the ole “move along” hand gesture...

I seem to be taking a lot of my ideas from books...mainly on the Good Book...or the Good Books, depending on whether or not you’re a fan of Barets and Baretta.

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again, Donald Miller is a fantastic writer. I’ve just finished a chapter of Searching for God Know’s What entitled Children of Chernobyl. And so far, it has been the most interesting chapter of the book.

It’s hard to imagine, but I’ve had 5 cats in my small life time. My second cat, Heidi, was a beautiful gray cat. But at the same time, he was a pain in the bee-hind. He was incredibly annoying, but that didn’t affect how sad I was when he passed away. Looking back though, there was something I should have been sadder about...

It’s hard to imagine that the attacks on 9/11 actually happened. It sounds crazy when you really think about it. I mean, how could something like that happen in today’s day and age? It’s easy to the understand how the American people felt during that time...they were angry.

But not angry at what happened, they were angry that someone was trying to destroy the reputation that they had built. War has existed since, well forever, and leaving aside the fact that war’s have been fought in numerous names and beliefs, war, in its purest form, boils down to one thing...one man comparing himself to another.

But where did war come from?

You may not think it but war is a natural thing. Any simple act of violence against a group or individual can in essence be called war. War doesn’t just happen in the Middle East, or the Congo, or anywhere on the global scale...war is happening in our schools, our homes...shopping centres, parks, governments, it’s all around us, and it be stopped.

Adam and Eve get a lot of stick for a lot of what the human being has become. And there is some truth that they are partly to blame. But there was one before them, one who tricked them, one who really is the whole cause of the human downfall...

Satan...

Even before we were ever created, Satan, a fallen angel, was already at war with God. The one known as the Prince of Darkness started the biggest battle the universe has ever seen. But I think in the back of his head, he knew he couldn’t win. So he decided to trick God’s most beloved into causing Him as much pain as possible... and it all started with a couple, and an apple...

By tricking them, Satan caused not only the pain he wished to inflict on God, but the separation of us from God. This ties back into my last post, about how we need relationship’s in order to survive as human. Ever since then, we’ve been trying to replace that missing thing, the God-shaped hole in our hearts with whatever we could get our hands on. War wasn’t an exception...

Miller gives a poignant comparison to what humanity has turned into...Sasha is one of the numerous Children of Chernobyl, a 5 year old caught in the nuclear fallout of one of the greatest tragedies of human history. He has a growth the size of a soft-ball protruding from his chest, separate flows of flesh meshing into a mutated nightmare, his now gigantic legs no longer able to support his body mass, meshing seamlessly into his oversized feet, with toes the size of my fist...

It’s hard to compare, but that is what humanity has become, a mutated creature desperate to feel the need for comfort, something to fill the emptiness in our souls.

Billy Graham was asked why such things as the Columbine shootings took place. His answer wasn’t video games, or culture, or anything like that;

“There once was a couple who lived in a Garden called Eden, and in that Garden was a tree of knowledge of good and evil...”

Not only did Satan cause God the greatest pain of seeing his children suffered, he sparked the greatest rescue plan in human history...

The Nexus of our lives...

I’m sorry for the quality of this post. I’ve had to come up with something in the space of 30 mins, and I don’t work well under those sort of time constraints, but also, I plan on post a year in review post on New Year’s Eve...

I aim on making it my longest post of all time...

Be on the lookout for it....

Ciao!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Will Of God...

The Will of God will never take you,
Where the grace of God cannot keep you,
Where the arms of God cannot support you,
Where the riches of God cannot supply your needs,
Where the power of God cannot strengthen you.

The Will of God will never take you,
Where the Spirit of God cannot work through you,
Where the wisdom of God cannot teach you,
Where the army of God cannot protect you,
Where the hand’s of God cannot mould you.

The Will of God will never take you,
Where the love of God cannot enfold you,
Where the mercies of God cannot sustain you,
Where the peace of God cannot calm your fears,
Where the authority of God cannot overrule for you.

The Will of God will never take you,
Where the comfort of God cannot dry your tears,
Where the Word of God cannot feed you,
Where the miracles of God cannot be done for you,
Where the omnipresence of God cannot find you.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Relationship Long Wanted...

It’s no surprise to you who have read my blog that I love Donald Miller. I could not put down Blue Like Jazz to save my life. Miller writes in such a fashion that is both compelling and intriguing at the same time. Of course, there are the flaws in modern Christian writers that I have talked about before, so I shant go on another rant about it…unless you guys want me to…

When I was at GAP camp, his follow up book Searching For God Knows What caught my eye, and so after a quick exchange of money, I was in possession of what was sure to be another great read…and boy was I right.

Miller writes once again in his familiar style, conducting the chapters in the form of memoirs. However, this isn’t a review of the book. I’ve only just started chapter 4, so it would be stupid to write a review based on the opening 3 chapters. What this post is about is something that Miller talks about within the confines of the book.

Let’s set the scene…Miller has just stood in a car wash in the middle of the night, and told god he doesn’t exist…At this stage, I was almost tempted to put the book down, because a) I was extremely tired and b) he had given some pretty compelling arguments as to why god doesn’t exist…but I soldiered on.

The 3rd chapter, aptly named “Feet of Trees” explains what happened after that evening. Miller is a very thorough and wise man, because he knew what he had just done…he denounced god.

Read that last line carefully…he denounced god.

Again…he denounced god.

His idea of god is evident from his writings in the first 2 chapters of the book. Miller saw god, more as an idea rather than a person. He believed that god was a system of beliefs to make him feel OK, not a real Being. He didn’t want this, and wanted to encounter the true God. And he did.

But this is what I want to talk about; the system that he believed god was, is very common in today’s world. People trying to fit in, trying to have an identity. He even tells the story of how he began to memorize vast quantities of poetry, just so he could be flocked by huge numbers of girls, as was the head of the National Debating Team. This is what he compares it to.

A system for safety.

Earlier on in the book, he talks about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and it was astonishing to read that God was considered to be a safety need. Something to make us feel warm and cosy, to make us feel right.

That isn’t god. That’s a 6 pack of beer, 4 packs of Doritos, and day-time TV. (Note, I have, nor do I plan on drinking at any stage…it was the first thing that popped into my head…)

So the question then is who is God really? He isn’t a god of formulas, and bullet points. No, he’s so much more. And I could go on for hours trying to come up with sufficient words to describe Him, but nothing that I could say would come any where close to who He really is.

So then what of those formulas that the “imposter” god symbolises? What is the point, if there is, of those rules even existing? Maybe we need to look past the rules, and focus on the bigger picture. We said earlier on that the god of rules was there to give us an identity, a reason for people to say nice things about you.

What if our whole theology is based on a relational foundation?

Normally, at this stage of reading a book, I would have found something to disagree with. The Rob Bell books are a good example of this. But oddly enough, all that I've read so far is actually making sense.

People, when you look on the surface, need the safety that the god of rules can provide. But deep down, they want more than that. Humans are designed to be relational beings. We need other people in order to survive. We need relationships in order to live. That’s what God can give us.

God is desperate to give us the life we fully need in order to function as his creations;

“My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”

- John 10 v 10

Part of that is having a relational based life, with friends, family, and of course the Big G. I can honestly put my hand on my heart and say that if I didn’t have the friends that I have today, I don’t where I would be. Each and everyone of my friends reading this has played a huge part in my life. You are part of the reason why I am who I am today.

So how can we gain this full and everlasting life? Coming up to Christmas once again, its easy to lose sight of the fact that Jesus came into the world so that we can have this full life. He died on the Cross for us. And it is through Him that we can have this full life.

So how can we get this life we so desperately need?




Simple…



Place Him as the Nexus in our lives…

“…He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.”

- Isaiah 53 v 5

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Faith Unwavering...

Yes its true ladies and gentlemen, I'm back! And I'm back for good! I have a number of ideas in my head, which is very confusing. I hope you enjoy!



This Friday past, I headed up to youth group once again, and unlike my previous experience, I was delighted to see it was on. It was great to see everyone there, and I think they were glad to see me...I think. Almost immediately we were called into a prayer/devotional time, led by Ethan. And its what he talked about that I want to talk about.



David is an amazing man...and no I don't mean David Bowie...I mean THE David...You know the one from the Bible? But anyway, yes, David is awesome. I mean, he was a shepherd, and then went onto to kill a giant, and become King of Israel. I've spoken about David before, and now that I come to think about it, what I'm going to talk about now, but as in depth as today.

David was awesome, but not just because of the fact he was king, or the fact that he toppled the huskiest of men with a barrage of pebbles, but because what happened to him after that. Saul, the king before David, was furious when he found out about David being king, and so chased him and his men around the land, forcing David to live in caves. David also committed adultery with Bethsheda, and killed her husband because of it. David was far from perfect.

But that is what makes him awesome. That he's the epitome of the human being. He's the perfect example of what a human is at its very core; flawed.

We're all flawed. No one can say that he/she hasn't sinned. We're born into it, ever since the fall of man collapsed the walls of love. Since then, we've sinned all of our lives. And the fact is David is an ideal example of this.

But he's not only an example of what humans are, but also what we can become. David was terrified, knew that he should be dead, but he persevered. He continued to hold onto the fact that one day God would bring everything together for the greater cause. And that's exactly what he did.

Through David's bloodline, the Savior of the world was born. As we approach Christmas, its hard not to be distracted by lights, and presents and carols and Santa. But the true meaning behind Christmas is this; Jesus, who arrived at the pinnacle of the Roman Empire, was born into this filth-ridden world so that he could give us something;

Faith.

Faith in Him, in heaven, when times are joyous, when times are hard. There's no doubt that life sucks. But Christ came so that everything evil on this earth would be a minor hindrance. He came so that he could undo the damage done by Adam, and give us the faith that this world so desperately needs.

David knew what was to come, and because of him and his amazing faith, the world was saved. Even though he was beaten down, ridiculed, mocked, taunted, and hurt, he believed; He believed in something far greater than anything; the coming of salvation.

Its this faith that we have been given. And it is through this faith, that all things are made new in God's sight. And it is through this faith that we believe, and continue to believe in, no matter what the cost.

"Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come...For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ...The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord..."

-Romans 5 v 14, 17, 20-21

"A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of."

-John 10 v 10

"When all around me starts to fall,
and when my faith it seems so small,
even in my darkest hour,
I will believe..."



Let Him be the Nexus in your live.


Sunday, December 7, 2008

RAW 08...

Sorry guys, once again, I'm extremely tired, and I really can't concentrate enough to write something from scratch. I will however post up an old post from my Bebo page. Hope this enthralls you:

RAW 08: Changing the Rhythm of the Nation.

Well it’s that time once again ladies and gents, my summery of yet another Ovoca camp. It’s amazing how quickly these camps come, but also how quickly they go as well. All I can say is that RAW has to be one, if not THE, greatest camp I’ve been to. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.

The whole experience of RAW began before I even set a foot on the manor’s grounds. It all began at Connolly Station, where I was to meet up with, who would turn out to be some of the most annoying people, Kirsten, Courtney, and David. Why do I consider them annoying? Ask them yourselves. They’ll be happy to explain.

Once we actually reached the manor, we were instantly greeted by Damo, who told us to literally, strip off our top clothes, and put our white t-shirts on…which we did, albeit reluctantly. Inside, we were greeted by familiar face, and received our name badges. By this stage, we were wondering why we were wearing white t-shirts. And so came the answer, in the form of Damo, saying he wanted this camp to be “anti-clique.” For those of you who were there, you understand, but for those who weren’t there, he basically wanted people to feel comfortable about talking to anyone, at any stage. Clever idea.

We were a bit early (well about 3 hours early) so we got our rooms sorted, and then just waited… Yep, waited till the rest of the campers started to arrive. Then it was party time! Dinner, and then some free time before our first worship session and talk, where Damo’s wife, Jeannine, gave a talk on what exactly changing the rhythm of the nation means. Very interesting. Then it was time to go to the chipper…Unfortunately, due to the Irish weather, we were forced to stay inside. However, all was not lost, when Damo announced that we watch some movies instead. Then it was time for bed.

After waking up from about 5 hours of sleep, it was time for breakfast. The normal cereal and toast were once again are only option. After breakfast, it was time for our second talk with Holly, who told us of her experiences in Jerusalem. Then it was time to personalize our white t-shirts, with out names on the back, and RAW 08 on the front, spray-painted in different colours. A lot of them turned out really cool. Before heading to our next activity, I decided to check out the prayer room, an area where we could just come before God and be silent. I have to say, that the organisers did an amazing job with this room, as well as the chill-out room, an area to play games, and just chillax. Great room. It was then time for the highlight of the day. After we were shown a clip from “Ballykisangel” we were told to finish of the scene in different TV styles, for example, Home and Away. We were given some conditions which had to be met, and then we were split into different groups. I have to say, that I don’t think I’ve laughed so much in my short life. Some of the stuff was pure gold. Be sure to check back here for the links to the videos.

It was then time for dinner, and after, our next talk on things which give us fear, given by Fishy. After the talk, we all took part in the “labyrinth,” a set of rooms, in which were to complete different things of a spiritual nature. I have to say that this was really amazing. Finally, after some more amazing worship (led by Jonny Somervile), it was time for bed once again.

Again, woke up after 4 hours sleep, breakfast, and then our next talk by Andy, who talked about Paul. More worship, and then it was time for the main activity of the day. Once the troops were gathered in the conference room, commander Parle instructed his troops on what they would face; games involving rescuing campers, while dodging eggs, tomatoes, and water balloons. After that, it was a giant paint balloon fight with the goal of capturing the opposing team’s flag. Somehow, I managed to stay clean, but that can’t be said of everyone! :P Again, dinner, worship and a talk from Jonny. Bed time.

After receiving only two hours of sleep, we woke at 5:00 in the morning to go to see the sunrise on Easter morning. Pretty tired at that stage, so it didn’t take me long to get back to sleep. After we woke up (again) we were greeted with a fry, something which is rare in Ovoca. Another talk, this time from Damo’s mother about St. Patrick. The rest of the day was spent relaxing, just chillin out with friends, playing games and talking. After that, it was time to get dressed for the Oscars, where our films would be screened. Amazing fun!

Then came what was possibly the highlight of the camp, the evening worship. Just pouring out everything to God, was just incredible. There are more personal things which happened that evening, but I can’t really say. But to those of you who know what I am talking about, thank you.

Monday morning came, and the fact that camp was almost over dawned on everyone. With some final worship, and a pep rally by Damo, we cleaned the manor, grabbed some group shots, and then proceeded to head our separate ways. What an amazing camp.

The End…











You guys should know me by now; I don’t finish things like that. I urge you to keep reading. There’s some good stuff waiting for you.

There are a couple of messages I want to give out. To those of you who feel disconnected, dejected, uncomfortable at home, in school, in a relationship, know that God will fix this.

To those of you who find Christianity illogical, it is. Choosing to follow Christ was the most single most illogical thing I have ever done, but I have, nor will I, ever regret making that choice. He is perfect, despite being illogical. If everything was logical, there would be no need for faith. We could never fully put our trust in something. (Look out for a future blog on this topic.)

Finally, to you who feel like utter crap, I have one thing to say; there is a reason for everything.

“That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.” Romans 8:28

I have my own way of describing this; I don’t believe in coincidence, or chance. Those of you who went to RAW, went to it for a reason. Those of you who feel disconnected from God, that’s for a reason. Those of you who feel like utter crap, God’s got a reason for it. Know that he’s going to get you through this rough time.

Guys, if we don’t do something, the world is just going to get worse. Look around you today. How many broken hearts do you see? How many teenage live do you see destroyed by drugs? How many broken relationships do you see? Violence, pain, sex, despair, sorrow, grief, war… these are all things we weren’t meant to experience. But since the fall of man, we have. Now it’s time to make a stand. Now is the time when we fight for our generation. I believe in violence, but I fight with a new kind of violence; the violence of love! Praying, worshiping, becoming a stalker of Christ. You want to join the revolution? Gods already called you. All you have to do is accept. Hold on tight, ‘cause you’re in for the time of your lives!

And now come the dedications. Again, I know this should be at the start, but whatever.

Once again, to my friends, both old and new, once again, I must thank you for standing by me, through the good and bad times. You give me the strength I need.

To the group of 5 (you know who you are) when I look at you, I see more than what is on the outside; I see warriors for Christ, standing proud and strong, willing to fight for your king. To think that you would consider me you friend is quite frankly astounding. It is an honour to be called, and to call you, my friends.

To the two who talked to me. Words cannot describe the pleasure it gives to even be in the same room as you. You continually advise me, and when I am down, you encourage me so much. You must be so sick of me asking you for advice. Thank you though for sticking by me, throughout the time I have known you. I know that I am not the only one who faces problems, and so I wish to do my bit to encourage you. Everything happens for a reason, no matter how good or bad it may seem, it is all in Gods plan. Everything happens to you for a reason. All I can say is that God has an amazing plan for you.

“I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” Jeremiah 29:11

Guys I don’t know where our lives are going to take us, or if you’re even reading this. But one thing’s for certain, I will always consider you my friends.

And finally to Christ, who has given me more than I ever could have been expected. Easter is not about chocolate bunnies, or hanging out with friends. It’s about you, who 2000 years ago was crucified for us, so that we can have a second chance, that we might be able to sit in your presence in heaven, and that we might love you. You entered the gates of hell, and battled Satan for our souls, so that you might say to him “This is my child, you no longer own him. I have paid for him.” But 2000 years ago, you rose from the grave, to show your perfect love. Just thinking about this makes me confused. I guess we’ll never really know what happened until we are in your presence. And now you have instructed us with the task of taking this generation back. THE REVOLUTION IS ABOUT TO BEGIN!!

From The Screwtape Letters
“Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy's will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys."

“In light of all this, here's what I want you to do. While I'm locked up here, a prisoner for the Master, I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel.”-Ephesians 4:1

“The promise of being transformed and ignited to holy passion by understanding and beholding God’s glorious personality is for all believers. No matter how weak or strong we feel, regardless of our previous failures, irrespective of our natural temperaments or personalities, each of us can be set ablaze with passion for Jesus.”-Mike Bickle

“It won't be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good.”
-1 Peter 5:10

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.” -John 3:16

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Apologies...Again...

Hey peeps...

Sorry again, but you'll have to wait until next week for a proper post. I'm completely wrecked, so I'm going to have an early night. Sorry again...

Ciao...

Friday, November 28, 2008

I'm Back....

And no, I didn't say that with an Austrian accent....just in case you were wondering....

So yes, my exams are finally complete, aside from my French oral on Wednesday, but that's not a big thing. They went better than I expected. It feels so good to be free from the study...at least for a couple more months anyway.

I shall be posting my regular post on Sunday....question is, what do I post it on? Suggestions?

Its great to be back guys!

TTYL!

Ciao!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Apologies...

Hey guys,

Sorry for the late post, but due to stupid early Christmas exams, I'm afraid I won't be posting for about two weeks or so. This has really bummed me out, but the study is absolutely killing me, so I've decided to focus on it. In the mean time, if you guys have any suggestions as to what I can do a post on, feel free to let me know.

See you in two weeks!

Ciao!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Next-Time...

Quick post,

I've finished typing up my application letter for Christmas work at SuperValu...Hope they take me back, cause I'm really gonna need the money...

I have something picked out for next weeks post.


"Sometimes, there are things that seem confusing to us...


If we want to move forward, we just need to do them..."


That's just a very brief look at what I'll look at next week...

Until then,

Ciao!

A Freedom Hard-Fought...

This week, history has been made. And no, I'm not talking about me getting the 40th cold this year, which is probably a world record. Barrack Obama, has finally become the president elect, and now we wait until he takes up his office. Listening to some people talking about this momentous event, I heard one woman saying "At last, the freedom we've so long waited for has finally come..."

Freedom.

That's a funny word. I mean, really, what exactly does it mean? To be free to do whatever we want? Well, if that was the case, we could commit great atrocities without so much as a scolding, so that really doesn't work. Free to shape our own paths? Well, to a certain degree yes, but much of our lives are shaped by the circumstances of others, and the world, so that doesn't work either. I realise I'm knit-picking, but I am getting to something.

As discussed in an early post, I talked about how God gave us free-will, and the implications of doing that. Because of free-will, we are who we are, but because of it, we have become trapped by the very ideals and morals of this world...So to you sitting at home, do you really think you're free?

The world, whether you want to accept it or not, infiltrates every part of our lives. And not only that, it manipulates us, to the degree that it takes over.

As long as the world exists as it does today, we will never truly be free.



Metal Gear Solid is perhaps one of the greatest stories ever told. I just finished playing the 4th installment for the 23rd time, and I finally realised what the theme behind the whole story is. I'll let Big Boss explain it;

"We all fought a long, bloody war for our liberty. We fought to free ourselves from nations... And systems... And norms, and ages. But no matter how hard we tried, the only liberty we found... Was on the inside... Trapped within those limits. The Boss and I may have chosen different paths... But in the end, we were both trapped inside the same cage... Liberty. But you... You have been given freedom. Freedom to be... Outside. You are nobody's tool now... No one's toy. You are no longer a prisoner of fate. You are no longer a seed of war. It's time for you to see the outside world with your own eyes. Your body... And your soul... Are your own. Forget about us. Live... For yourself. And find... A new lease on life."

Freedom to be outside. Outside of the ideals and morals of this world. Outside of corruption, greed, malice, debauchery, jealousy, war, poverty, manipulation... That is what freedom is. The only question is how, in this world, do we gain that freedom...other than becoming a super soldier and taking on bipedal tanks, bisexual vampires, talking arms, and the occasional love interest...?





But you see, we have that freedom already...

"For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God."

-Romans 8 v 20-21

"For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men..."

-1 Timothy 2 v 5-6

We have been set free through Christ. His blood was shed for us, so that we may walk outside of this world. No greater price was ever paid, and no greater gift was ever given. Then why do people choose to throw aside the gospel, and live according to the morals of this world. The thing most people would say is that they have become accustomed to it, and are afraid to venture outside of the safety zone. While that is true, just as Big Boss said, they are in a battle...

A battle for the freedom of the soul...

Its almost like a game of tug-o-war... but instead of two opposing teams vying for a trophy, it is the world vs God, with us in the centre, being tugged from both sides.

And not only this, but the world has conspired to make sure that we have as difficult determining who God, or Jesus really is. Some TV evangelists, church groups, governments...all of these and more try to fog our minds.

But to us who believe, we see as clear as day;

"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."

-1 Corinthians 1 v 18



So how does the world reach that point..?


Yep, you guessed it... Place Jesus as the Nexus of their lives;

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."

-Romans 12 v 2

Freedom comes at a price, both for us, and for God. He gave his only Son so that we might be free. We in turn must give up our lives to Him. And in return, we will become free from this world, and we'll finally be able to walk with Him...


Freedom comes when we turn to Jesus as our Nexus...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Good Week..

Well this has been a good week! Obama is now the president elect, and I have to say major congrats to him. I believe he can make the change in America, and not just there, but the world...

I'm heading to CERN in May! Yep, the European Centre of Nuclear Research has beckoned me forth! I've paid my deposit, so my place is guaranteed.

School's been going good, but as always, its very tiring.

Church on Sunday, along with celebrating my Grandad's 93 Birthday! Should be great!

Next post will be up either Saturday or Sunday...








Don't think I've forgotten about the MGS post...


It






Is












Coming....

Saturday, November 1, 2008

An Account Of Hearts...

I’m not a huge fan of Halloween. It just really isn’t that much of a big deal to me. And so it’s nice to know that at that, Ovoca Manor’s doors would once again open to the multitude of teens, gathering to have an experience with God. This year was no exception.

GAP 08 was amazing, not only because of the insane amount of fun that we had, and not only because I finally had the time to chill with all my friends under one roof, but because of the way God moved throughout the camp. I’m going to give a very brief outline of what happened in the camp, and then move to the main body of the post.

As per usual, a meet and greet was first on the menu. Meals were prepared by the fantastic Susan, who once again prepared meals fit for kings. Many games ensued including ice breakers and time in the sports hall. Much of them were the same games. Time for using the slide, climbing wall, and archery was also present. Toy Story was watched by many…what, can’t we older kids enjoy some classic movie magic?

A lot of the time was just spent chilling out. Relaxing was something that I wanted to do, and I did it in spades. For the first time, for me anyway, the girls slept in the attic, while the lads enjoyed the nicest showers in the manor. Quiet times were awesome, with Stephen Byford, a good friend of mine. Sleep came relatively easily, despite the amount of sugar products in our rooms.

Of course, we can’t forget about the main body of the camp. Jude and Jonny organised a stellar camp, and part of this was because of who they got to speak. Ferg Breen is a legend. Full stop. From leading some of the most powerful worship ever, rivalling that of TeenStreet, to speaking incredibly on the Father Heart of God, he was astounding in every way.

Here’s a quick list of the name of the talks;

1) God the Father: Who He Really Is…
2) Jesus the Son: Why the Father Really sent Him…
3) Suffering: Where Our Father is when it hurts…
4) Prayer: Resting in the Presence of Our Father…
5) Worship: Praising the Heart of the Father…

God worked miracles in that camp. I know that the previous statement is true for me, and I’m sure that the same can be said for many of you who attended. Some of the stuff that Ferg talked on was amazing…so amazing I’m going to share my thoughts on 2 of them.

The first point comes the 2nd talk, where Ferg asked the question “Why did Jesus come?” Many people answered straight away with the statement to die for us. But there is something was wrong with that. If that was all Jesus was sent to do, couldn’t he have been killed as a babe, and still have accomplished the same? You see there’s another reason which had skipped passed me; and it fitted perfectly with the theme of the Father’s Heart. We are all broken, clasped in darkness. People back then had no idea about what the Heart of God was really like. And so Jesus came, not just to save us, but to reconnect us to our Father’s true heart, that we may also turn from our life of slander, and run home to our Father, who is already running to us.

The second point I’m going to simply show you in picture form;


We all need a father. Someone who can guides us down the road of life. Someone to give us advice when we need it. Someone to comfort us when the pain is too great. Someone who we can confine in when the problems of this world arise.

Unfortunately, not all fathers are like this. Some are cruel to their sons and daughters. Some lie about the world and its corruption. Some are untrustworthy, selfish, mean, lazy...I think you get the picture.

I myself have an amazing father, who I know loves me very much. But I know that in this world, there are children who are afraid of what their fathers have done to them. They are scared of the anger within their father's heart. I have never met a father like that, and it is one of my greatest desires that I go through life without ever meeting one.

But there is another who is perfect. There is a Father who loves you, no matter what.

GAP was an amazing camp, because once again, something that I had glanced at suddenly came and smacked me in the face. I am a prodigal son. I have taken all that God has given me, and put it to waste.

But I know that when I go back to my Father's house, I know he will run to me, with his arms wide open, and will rejoice over me;

"...But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him..."Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found...""

-Luke 15 v 20, 22-24

And so I leave you now, at this the end of my shortest account of any camp. But before I go, I'll leave you with this. Just something that sums up GAP;





Let Him be the Nexus of your life...

Friday, October 31, 2008

Recovery...

Well I'm back from GAP, and I have to say it was an amazing experience. Just to see all my friends, the mad craic, and the encounter God was something else...


My throat is almost gone...at least it happened while praising God...


My spiritual post will be tomorrow, seen as I'm going to see Quantum of Solace on Sunday. Looks great...The post will be on GAP and just what I've learned...


I still haven't forgot about my Metal Gear Solid post... it shall come...


For now, I'll leave you with a pic from GAP...


Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Review Of A Challenge...

To start off, this won't as long as the other spiritual posts. It will short, but to the point where it ends in the middle of this sentence....

I've been waiting for an opportune moment to write this. Seen as a few people have read the following book, I decided to write up my thoughts on it...

"Blue Like Jazz" is quite frankly a masterpiece of theological writings. But that statement there is in itself something. Donald Miller has done something quite extraordinary, taking many of the common aspects of the Christian faith, and writing on them as if they were...well...weren't aspects at all. The tag-line for the book is quite true;

"Non-religious thoughts, on Christian Spirituality..."

Books like this come very seldom, but whenever they do, I have great joy in reading them. Every night, before I would lay my head down to sleep, I would reach for my copy of the book, and read until the chapter head breathed its last. It is marvelous.

And what is more astounding, is that, unlike other books that I've read (aside from the Bible) this book challenged my faith in a huge way, forcing me to come face to face with many ideals and aspects of Christian faith that had simply sauntered on by. Those of you who have followed this blog will know just how challenging this book was. For those of you who haven't, check some of the previous posts.

And unlike "Velvet Elvis" where I found large portions that I would disagree on, "Blue Like Jazz" has managed to escape the same effect on the same scale. That is not to say that there aren't parts that I disagree on, but that many of these parts made sense, but that I would not succumb to them. Disagree is a very harsh word for this, and I would be more inclined to say that if I one day meet Donald Miller (and I hope I do), that I would be happy to discuss where our differences in opinions lie.

But one thing strikes me, and this is not just for "Blue Like Jazz." Many of these new-age Christian faith books all share something in common. Books from the hands such as Shane Claybourne, Rob Bell and Brian D. McLaren, lack Biblical context. OK, I haven't read much of "A New Kind of Christian" by McLaren, but books from Rob Bell and Shane Claybourne have a woeful amount of anything linking back to Scripture. Some people say that's the whole point, but in a world which solely focuses on itself, it is a great comfort to me to open my Bible and bring whatever is being talked about back to the Gospel. I think the Christian faith needs to take a new step. I admire what these writers are trying to achieve, but isn't there a way to present Christian Spirituality to the masses in a new and invigorating way, while leaving one of the foundations of our faith as a centre piece?

"Blue Like Jazz" is a book which must be read, not because it will give you advice, or because its a really good read, but because it is a challenge. Get a copy, and read it. Having been challenged while reading it, there is great satisfaction in saying that challenges come for a reason, and if you're looking for a challenge, this book is what you're looking for...







Next week, my account of GAP.






.....I think I'll do a Metal Gear Solid post sometime....


Yes, that's a good idea.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Quick Posty...

I'm not on long. In a teachers house, and if you don't know the story behind that, then ask me at some stage. Things are going grand, school is easing up a bit, family life is as it should be, and I've only got 1 more day of school till half term...nice!

Found out yesterday that Ferg will be speaking at GAP...This is gonna be one amazing camp!

Ciao!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Lesson Hard-Learned...

NB-May contain traces of Revelation...

My English teacher has this weird thing about putting different sayings on her door. To be honest, most of them are quite thought-provoking, and I've had many a discussion about the meaning behind each of them. For about a week or so, probably one of the most thought-provoking sayings has been staring me in my face;

"Life is the hardest of teachers; It gives you the test first, and then the lesson..."

As many of you know, I have a terrible memory, but this Friday has to be the pinnacle of my forgetfulness. I've recently started to call City Gates church home. Its a fantastic church, and well worth a visit. One of the great things about the church is their dedicated focus to serving youth. And so with that, most Fridays, the youth group known as GAP is held in DEC. Now, I've only ever been to one GAP, and I have to give credit where credit is due; its amazing. Its a place where I can just relax with some of the greatest people I know. I made a promise after TeenStreet to get up to GAP more often, and so I decided that this past Friday would be a good opportunity to head up, seen as I had gone through quite a lot the past week (see past post)...

Of course I did remember to check make sure that it was on...

I was heart-broken. I had spent roughly 2 hours travelling through rush hour Dublin for empty red-bricked church, and a barren parking lot. I don't know how long I cried for after I got a text from one Adam Faulkner telling me it wasn't on. I has so been looking forward to it, and to see it wasn't on...well...you get the picture...


I'll never want to trade away that evening...


David had it pretty rough too. Think about it. One day, the prophet Samuel picked him, and told him that he would one day be king of Israel. If I was David, I'd be pretty stoked. And if I were David, I would also be devastated, being chased through the desert by Saul, watching his best friend, Johnathan, die, having to hide constantly in multitudes of caves, just to get enough sleep to carry him through the next day. Its hard to think that David would go through all that. But he did. He was crushed beyond belief, and at one stage, it almost looked like he had given up.

I too had almost given up that Friday. I began thinking why God would put me through all this, and I couldn't come with any reason. I started to turn away...

And yet through the pain, through the struggle, and through the misery, God was still there, both for David, and for me...

Psalm 71 is a Psalm that I had never read up until yesterday. I'm pretty sure that God has one of the biggest senses of humour, because the Psalm talks about something that I had just gone through...hardship, but more than that, praising God in those times;

"My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendor all day long....For my enemies speak against me; those who wait to kill me conspire together...My mouth will tell of your righteousness, of your salvation all day long, though I know not its measure."

-Psalm 71 v 8, 10, 13

One of the hardest lessons that we'll ever have to learn, is to praise God, no matter what the circumstance. I had heard this before, but there and then, God finally began to teach me what that truly means...and so when I eventually arrived home, I grabbed my mp3, put on some Hillsong, and gave my praise to God...

David kept going, but through his perseverance, he continued to seek the glory of God, praising Him in all circumstances. I'm often reminded of Romans 5, where Paul talks about how suffering brings about perseverance, perseverance, character, and character, hope. We have a hope in God, because he poured out His live when He gave His one and only Son... Jesus...

But more than what is said in Romans, I believe something else comes from suffering...


...A title...


I've just finished reading Matthew, and one thing strikes me. Its hard to imagine Jesus, being born an infant, teaching on the banks of the Galilee, and riding in Jerusalem, being the same person hanging on the Cross that faithful day, when human history changed forever. And yet its true.

But here's the thing. Through His suffering, Christ became central to the whole of history. He was exalted and given the honour of sitting at Hid Father's right hand...He was given a title, so to speak.

David was also given a title, because sure enough, just as Samuel promised long ago, David became king...and it is through his suffering that God prepared him...He was also given a title...

We've also been promised a title;

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled...Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven..."

-Matthew 5 v 6 and 10

God promises each of us a crown in the New Jerusalem. And through our suffering, God is preparing us so that we may enter His kingdom, and with Him, watch over the next world...See I told you Revelation would pop up!

But now the question is how do we get from here, to there? Simple; follow the conduct of David, and the word of Jesus... David could have given up at any stage, and yet he persevered. Why? Because he always put God first, making Him the Nexus of his life. And Jesus himself said that the greatest commandment of all was to "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." In other words, place Him as the Nexus of our lives.

Persevere. Hope is found when Christ is your Nexus...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Is It Just Me, Or Am I Really Forgetful...?

Well the name of the post isn't really anything to do with this post, but rather tomorrow's post.

For those of you who know me, and that would be nearly everyone who reads this, my life has been quite stressful as of late. School has been extremely stressful, what with all the work that my teachers suddenly decided to spring on us...

And some of you also know the situation with this girl in school, which has been a major stress, but not the biggest thing...

I've got a CU to run, and a teacher who's adamant that he's in charge. I've got friends at each others necks, and one who's stopped going to church and the like...

My cousin has got an e-coli infection in her C-section, so along with having to recuperate from losing her baby (died after taking one breath), she's got this to worry about now. And my gran and grandad are still trying to get over my uncle's death...

Not to mention my addiction...

But most important, my relationship with God has been...well...not as good as it has been...

And most of you reading this will probably think;

a) I complain too much
b) I stress about things too much
c) Why did he post a topic on toast?
d) All of the above

Well fret no more, because while heading up to Dublin yesterday to go to youth group (which I didn't check see if it was on, hence the title,) I had one of the most spiritual experiences that I've ever had, and now I'm feeling super great! And my relationship with God has entered rehab, and its going strong! The topic tomorrow will be about that experience, so please read tomorrow's post...

And apology to Nicole, your idea shall have to wait till next week!

I finished Matthew, and what an experience! And something that I had never experienced happened when I decided to look back on the book. Maybe will include tomorrow.

Just over a week to GAP camp! Its gonna be awesome! If anyone can give me a lift down, I would be major thankful! Let me know!

Praise God! Ciao!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Updaterino...

I've recently rediscovered the Simpsons, so please forgive the above title...

Not much has happened in the past week. Mum and dad were on holidays so I had the house to myself. Good experience, watched movies and play games. Went up to Dublin for a meet up on Saturday, which was great craic! Sunday I spent study for two tests that I had on Monday.

First came the Business, which was a cinch! 95%!! Boo-Yaa!!

Second came the Irish test, which was actually pretty easy. Still waiting on a result.

But now to one of the main updates...


CU is finally off the ground! Yes after about a month of planning, we had our first discussion on "The Bible; Fact or Fiction" led by Mr. Elliot. We had a total of 5 students, including myself, so I was extremely happy...that was until I found out that those other 4 now want to come regularly! I am delighted! Thanks must go to God, cause He's the one who helped us. I plan on leading the talks after mid-term, so prayers for that would be great. Thanks so much for all the support guys!

Maths week this week, so I headed up to Dundalk for a lecture. Twas really good, and the KFC afterwards was divine!

Next blog post up on Sunday! Be sure to check it out!

Ciao! 

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Common Place Of Disgust...

I love Dr. Cox. But not in the way you think. Let me explain. While I do enjoy the ferocious rantings of Johnny C McGinely in the hit show Scrubs, I'm talking about a different Dr. Cox. Some reading this will instantly know who this is. Others won't have a clue.



Ted Cox is one of the greatest speakers that I've heard in a long time. One of many doctors in the physics department of UCD, he also happens to be a speaker in City Gates, the church that I now call home. Beneath the rugged exterior is a man who has spoken many truths into my life. While it may only be church that I have heard him speak, he has a great ability to converse the many and wondrous ideas in God's word.



I'm going to go off on a bit of a tangent for this paragraph. I was glancing around the internet, and on the TV, when I came across this pole; "Is it OK to have sex before marriage?" Obviously my answer to this question is no, but that is a story for another day. But that's not why I went off on this tangent. The station (I think it was GMTV) released the result. Nearly 3 quarters of the British public thought it was OK to have pre-marital sex...I was shocked. That may have not been the exact figure, but it was definitely above 60%. I couldn't believe it. For a country who has strong Christian roots, I found this shocking. And I'm sure if you pose that question to any other country, you'll get a similar figure...


I went to church not long ago, and I was delighted to see Ted was going to speak. I was also delighted to see the worship team comprised of all youth. But back to the point, Ted was speaking on "Living In Uncertain Times" a topic which intrigued me immensely. He was going to be speaking from Psalm 1, a psalm that I had never read before. But perhaps what I drew most out of the talk was not the solution to living in uncertain times, that solution being Jesus, but something which is incredible.

Psalm 1 describes the evolution of man accepting wickedness. Before I go on, let me show the actual verse;

"Blessed is the man
who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners
or sit in the seat of mockers."

Psalm 1 v 1

The creation of sin was almost instantaneous, but through the creation of society, Satan had to adapt his plan. The progression is this; 1st we begin walking with the wickedness, just going along with it. 2nd, we stand with, now standing for it in defence of it. Finally, 3rd, we sit with it, immersing ourselves in it, conversing with it.

The human race has reached a common place of sin. But while major sins such as murder is still not respected by the common people, a lot of which upsets God has become uniform in today's society; debauchery, drunkenness, jealousy, ruthlessness, pre-marital sex, envy, lust, hatred, all have been accepted in some way or another by the world today. Everything which has been mentioned above, and much more, disgusts God. We have reached a common place of disgust, and seen as we are designed to adore God, and love Him, this is completely the wrong direction.

They say the greatest trick the Devil ever played was making the world believe that he never existed. But by far the greatest ploy of his is making the human race grow ever distant from Our Savior.

The world has fallen. It has been in this state since the fall of man. And God couldn't stand being disgusted with His own children. And so, he Himself sat down with us and the world, in the place we have become engrossed in, and snatched us from the brink of destruction. He gave His Son, Jesus, to take our place in the coming death. He took His Father's disgust, and poured it on himself.

If you haven't noticed by now, I usually take most of my talks back to Jesus. That's because I believe in letting Him be the centre in our lives, or in my words, the nexus. But there's more to this. Because while Jesus' death is significant, His resurrection holds something amazing...


His display of His perfect love...


He gave us the second chance, a chance to stand up and walk away from the wickedness of the world. He has given this, and while what he offers is so great, much of the world has become engrossed in the lies of the world. But the next verse in Psalm 1 shows us how to respond to His call of a second chance;

"But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night."

Psalm 1 v 2

If we engross ourselves, not in the lies of the world, but in His perfect word, and His perfect love and grace, we begin to live the life He has designed for us. Later in the psalm, it talks about being anchored by the streams of water, or in our case, God's love, and that the fruit we will bear will not wither, unlike those who follow the ways of the wicked, who the psalmist describes as being like chaff, who will simply be blown in the day of judgement.

But we have the choice to make. We must choose to be anchored in God's love, walking away from the council of the world, and engrossing ourselves in His truth, the ultimate truth, that He loves each of us so much, that He would bear the punishment of all humankind, and take our place, just so that we can walk with Him in the new Eden...

Anchor yourself in Him; May you forever hold Him as your Nexus...

Friday, October 10, 2008

A Day Off For Me...

Yes, today I have had one of my few days of school. Mum and Dad have gone on holiday, and so I'm in charge of the house for the weekend...PARTY TIME!!:P

2 weeks of school left before half-term. It'll be good to get a break.

Be sure to check this Sunday's post, entitled "A Common Place of Disgust."

Check ya later!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Mondays Make Me Blue...

OK, that's not true...especially not literally. Its just what my Garfield teddy has on his shirt...Yes, Garfield is the shizzle...



Mondays are actually quite good for me. Applied Maths class, and double PE.



Start of a four day week for me:P Mum and Dad are going on holiday on Friday, so I have the house to myself...nice!



I never realised how good the gospels are...OK truth be told, I've never read anyone of them fully. But I recently started reading Mathew, and I'm hooked! Seriously, they're a great read...and I've only finished chapter 8 of Mathew! New target; read all gospels by end of November.



Sunday, October 5, 2008

A Different Kind Of Free...

Quick post,

I just turned my music onto shuffle, and a song that I love came on, which kinda sums up the last post to a certain degree.

Its called "Different Kind Of Free" by ZOEgirl

Enjoy!


A Life Of Choices...

Advanced apology; I haven't gone to great depths to prepare for this post. Future posts will be more thought out.

We all have to make choices. We have to choose whether to order a Crunchie Mc Flurry, or a Wispa Mc Flurry (for most of you the choice will be the latter, I never did get what was so good about the wispa...) We have to choose whether we want toast, or cereal for breakfast (for some, maybe even both...) We have a lot of choices. But not just everyday ones at that. We've had to decide where we go to school, to church, what we do at the weekend, what we do in our spare time, when we study...You get the picture.



I recently read a blog post by Nicole, talking about life choices. She has been considering what she wants to do for a career. A message for her first;



Nicole, if you decide to go into nursing, be prepared. My mum did nursing, and she says that the work is double that of the Leaving Cert...Just thought I'd let you know. After all that's what friends are for...:P


Back to the point. It was interesting, I had done a careers project last year in Trans Year. I think everyone's experience of doing a career's project is different. While some my find the prospect of having to do a project based on what you will more than likely pursue as your career daunting, I found relatively un-daunting (if there is such a word.) By now, if you know me, you'll know that I plan on doing Mechanical Engineering in UCD...but that's not my career. God has called me to become a part of youth ministry/ministry in some form. This is a story for another time.

What's amazing is the fact the seriousness of the decision. This is more than likely going to decide what job you get. Of course there is always the prospect of doing another course in a totally different career, but who wants to go through another minimum of 4 years education?

Choices like this can be hard. And this isn't the only hard one. Choices of whether or not you budget your finances, who you date, are you ready to marry this person...Hard choices crop up everywhere...

God has had some tough decisions to make as well. But without those decisions, we wouldn't be where we are today.

Quite recently, I was asked by a friend in school, "Why did God create the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil if he knew that we as humans would take advantage and eat the fruit anyway, despite the fact that God told them not to?" For a minute I was stunned. Let me explain. Alot of the people in my school are...well...lets just say that they aren't as in tune with theology as some of us. So the fact that this guy was asking this question in the first place was quite something.

Why did God create that tree? If he is all knowing, then surely he could have seen it coming. For a long period of my life, I struggled to answer this question. Then while reading a book by Max Lucado, it all became clear.

Lets say that the fall of man never occurred, because the tree was never created. Never. Everything is fine and dandy between us and God...except for the fact that we're now no longer a race that God can love...because we have no free-will. God doesn't want us to love him because he says so. He wants us to love him because we want to. Without free will, we'd be no longer human...we'd just be a shell of the people that God had destined to be.

That's why he created the tree...to give us a choice; either to love him, or reject him. Unfortunately, Adam get mixed up between right and wrong, and because of that, we would be forever trapped in sin. Everything wrong in the world, from the Old Testament, right to the modern day, is because of sin. Alot of people say that because God created the tree, he created sin. But in fact, because God created the tree, he created free-will. We're the ones who created sin.

Jealousy, envy, anger, hatred, lust, greed, worry, pain, sorrow...all of these were created because of sin. We had dug ourselves into a rut, and it looked like no one was coming to save us.

God on the other hand had another idea.

The ultimate rescue plan. The redemption that would span millenia, but would last for eternity.





The man called Christ.

Jesus. The greatest person in the whole of human history. The very point on which all human life changed. God loved us so much, that just after the fall of man, he devised the greatest plot in all of time...to save all of mankind.

He loved us so much that he chose to send his only Son, so that He would take the place of us. The wrath of God poured out on Him, for the sin of all man.


Through His grace, we are free. Through God's choice, we are now called not only His children, but His friends.



We have a choice to make as well, just as Adam had. We are given the choice to love and follow God;

"Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.""

-Mathew 16 v 24

A lot of people say what you choose to do in college is the most important decision you will ever make. Others say who you marry is the biggest. But all of the worldly decisions are meaningless, compared to choosing to walk with our Savior. The biggest decision we will ever have to make, is whether or not we love God, but not only that, but that through loving Him, that we trust in Him, and obey His very word.

The road of Christ is not easy. Rather it is the single hardest thing that anyone will ever do. What awaits you in this world is ridicule, pain, sorrow, jealousy, despair...

But the happiness, the joy, the comfort, the peace that you will also feel will be enough to sustain you. And what awaits us at the end of our lives is something that no one can even comprehend...




Paradise...


Choose. Will you let Him be the Nexus in your life?





""...For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.""

-Jeremiah 29 v 11