Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Worship Wednesday

These are the words to the song as I remember them, so may not be completely correct. Originally written by the Penguins in Africa band in the early-mid 1990's.

Red River

From Genesis to Revelation
The people of God face no condemnation;
'Cause there's a river that flows,
The red river of blood from God's own Son.
When I walked through that river,
My chains fell off, my heart was set free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee,
Yes, I was in bondage, but now I am free
Yes I was in the river, but now
I'm in the wide open sea
Taken from the tunnel, onto the highway;
I was in debt, but now I have no more to pay.
They cast the nails through His feet and His hands
They raised up the cross, and dropped it in its stand.
The river flowed for you and I,
Curtain split between land and sky.
Live like me is His only request,
Make your lifestyle worth my death.
Or did Jesus die in vain,
Are you gonna stay the same?
I can only speak for myself when I say,
I've been washed in the blood of Jesus Christ,
Hanging there, Jesus paid the price.

From Genesis to Revelation,
The people of God face no condemnation.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Meditation Mondays

I'm introducing a new series called Meditation Monday. Before everyone starts gathering images of emptying their heads to gain inner peace, STOP!

What I have in mind, instead, is filling our minds with thoughts of God. Getting to know God's word better. Chewing it over, digesting it and living what we've learned.

That is my definition of meditation.

Sunday, 24 April 2011


Christmas is glorious
Of its Holy gift we sing
Of a manger and baby
Our blessed newborn king

Thanksgiving is so grand
Our thanks to God we give
For His unending bounty
Gracing each day we live

Valentines Day is romantic
A day we are filled with love
Love from spouse and family
Love from the Great One above

But there is one holiday
That rises above them all
Rewarding each one of us
Whether strong, meek or small

Of all of God's gifts
Easter shows us our fate
Forgiven we will rise
And pass through Heaven's gate

This Easter remember
The sacrifice of a Son
And through His resurrection
Eternal life we have won

This Easter I pray
That the love of God
Is resurrected
Reborn, renewed
Inside your heart

-- Author Unknown

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Worship Wednesday

I know that I only posted this song last month, but with Easter coming up, there's always a time to remind ourselves of its true meaning.

How Deep the Father's Love

How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished.

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection.
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom.

Lyrics by Stuart Townend

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Understanding? HUH!???

“The Spirit produces the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience.”  Galatians 5:22

Over the last few weeks, I have repeatedly read that one should ask God for understanding. I can just hear everyone saying "HUH??? That's not in my Bible?! That isn't one of the fruit of the Spirit!"

No. It isn't one of the fruit of the Spirit, but it is in the Bible. Incidentally, Proverbs provides the answer: "Whoever is patient has great understanding"- Proverbs 14:29.

There isn't much excuse for being judgemental (in fact, God, through the Bible, explicitly tells us NOT to judge others), or for having a lack of understanding. However, from experience, I have learnt that both of these require time. Time to listen to people, time to REALLY listen. To hold back that judgemental voice and realise that just because someone's on a different path to you doesn't mean that it isn't the right path for them. We are, after all, each living our own lives, with our own backgrounds, experiences and challenges.

Take time to get to know those God brings across your path; take time to really understand them.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

"We still pick the turn-offs"

The Christian life is often described as a road, a path through life. Similarly, one hears of "the road to hell". A story frequently used to describe redemption is that a person is on the road to hell, and at any stage along that road, they can do a U-turn, choose God, and they will directly be on the road to heaven, to life.

Several years ago now, a friend of mine said that "we still pick the turn-offs". Apparently I had been having a discussion with a different friend about this scenario at the time, so noted this statement down. I just came across it this morning, and it still offers pause for thought.


The four-lane highway stretches off into the distance. Few people are on this side of the highway; in fact, there isn't another car in sight, either before or behind. The opposite direction, in contrast, is queued up beyond the horizon, with angry people gesticulating, honking horns and generally shouting abuse at one another.

If only there was a rest-stop soon, somewhere to get away of the stifling heat and glare of the road. Unsurprisingly, no sooner the thought, than there is a sign indicating a rest stop, two miles down the road. The relief in the cabin is immediate. A break is in sight.

We get to the exit, and the turn-off is taken. Anticipation climbs ever higher as desire is followed. But no. Signs to the rest-stop are absent; instead, a maze of roads, leading who knows where, becomes the order of the day. Spirits sink as we realise there never was a rest-stop.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Writer Interview: Ian Peaston, author of Who is Kai?

And here we found our place as prescient Firsts
Eluciaë preparing signs in verse
And sculpting symbols hidden in the skies
Awaiting One so Ephaïl may rise
At last reborn in thew to clash divine
With Déhath ere His darkness vanquish time

Extract from The Elucian Epic, Ian Peaston

Just over a year ago I was privileged to be introduced to the science fiction work Who is Kai? by a fellow writing friend I had just met on Facebook. As the story, which is posted online once a week, was already quite a few chapters in, I was determined to read through what had already been posted in order to catch up with the story, since the merest glimpse at a few sentences convinced me that it was going to be worth it. At the same time, I was getting to know the author, as he enjoys interacting with his readers (aka followers) on his Facebook page.

My overall impression of this fantastic writer is that he can only be given one title: Master Wordsmith. He is brilliant at his craft, conjuring images upon images in a gentle yet determined manner, constantly drawing one onwards through a scene to a greater one beyond.

I digress. It is an honour to introduce you to Ian Peaston, the author of Who is Kai? and a wonderful musician. He styles himself

Eclectic violinist and writer @ Author of impressionistic SciFi @ Frequent refuter of coffee dependence.

Ian, please tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a musician. I played violin for many years in orchestras before I realised that I don’t like playing violin in orchestras. I think my writing, like my electric violin projects, has been about finding a new way to express what I don’t get to express through the traditional channels of orchestral playing. It’s a very “developed-world” problem, I know.

Your “Who is Kai?” story is a science fiction work. What attracts you to science fiction?

I grew up with science fiction – mainly movies and TV, such as Star Wars and Star Trek, etc. I think it was the sense of wonder that I loved – amazing characters, places and adventures. Later on I started to realise how you could tell “real” stories using science fiction (or any genre) as a backdrop.

Why do you write science fiction?

As above. Also, when I read Tolkien as a teenager, I remember thinking, “I want to write something like that!” (There seems to be a big crossover between fantasy and science fiction – perhaps it’s that limitless, otherworldly sense of wonder again.)

How did you first meet Kai?

Kai’s story actually began with the plot rather than the character, and that plot began with the ending (which I probably won’t get to actually write in prose until about 4 years from now). I first used it in a really rather terrible Star Trek movie script I tried to write. It was about 500 pages long, so I realised it was never going to get made, and would probably fill out a trilogy. After that I started jotting down some notes for another story for a Han Solo/Indiana Jones-type character. It was going to be an out-and-out action movie. Over time, however, the action alone lost my interest, and it combined itself with the science fiction plot.

You have a very interesting style of writing. How would you describe it?

I once called it “stream of visual consciousness”. But even just plain-old “poetic prose” will make enough people laugh to make me happy.

What influenced the decision to adopt this particular style?

It grew naturally out of my poetry, which had been a completely separate part of my writing before I decided to write Kai in prose, and my visual style, which I’m pretty sure came naturally from me thinking in terms of film.

I've seen that you like to use images or real-life people that relate to characters or scenes described in your writing. Which comes first, the images (or people), or the ideas?

The ideas come first. I think characterisation and dialogue are the least-developed parts of my writing, so I imagine actors or other real people as I write the characters in Kai’s story to ground them to some kind of reality.

To publish or not to publish, that is the question?

The answer is yes, but I’m not sure which way yet. I have various ideas, but I’ll probably wait until I have a complete manuscript. I think it might be a hard sell, though, so another story entirely might actually become my first novel.

What advice would you give to other writers?

Don’t think too much about what you are meant to write, or what will be accepted. If you write that way, you may well be accepted and published, but you probably won’t be saying anything worth reading.

Any upcoming news or plans?

Musically, yes -- I’ll have my new electric violin performance ready by this summer, which I’m really excited about, as well as electric violin lessons and workshops. In terms of writing, I’m continuing as I have for the past year or so, releasing one chapter every week. When I have the full book, that’ll be the time to work out what to do next.

If you didn't play the violin, would you still play music? If so, what instrument?
No doubt. Maybe piano, or electric guitar in a band. Or I’d be an electronica “laptopist”.

Would you go into Space, given the chance?
Whoever offered me wouldn’t need to finish the sentence.

What's your favourite place in the world, and why?
Still looking for it.

Coffee or Hot Chocolate?
Who said coffee? WHO?!

Summer or Winter?
Summer. Winter should be banned.

Black and White, or Colour?

Favourite Food?
Pasta. Or shrimp. Or pasta and shrimp.

Car or Motorbike?
Car. I love cycling, but I’d be too scared for my violin hands to ride a motorbike every day, as everyone – everyone – falls off at some point.

Ian, thank you very much for taking time out of your hectic schedule to answer these questions. It is a privilege to have got to know you over the last year, and an honour to have you “resident” on my blog.

Well, now that you’ve met Ian, I urge you to read Who is Kai? to get to know Kai. Even if science fiction isn’t your “thing”, I can assure you that you will be mesmerised, as I was, by the sheer power of words. You can rest assured, you will never have read anything quite like it, or have seen such scenes as Ian builds in your mind.

Please feel free to ask Ian any more questions that you may have – he has carte blanche on this post!

Links for Ian and several of his projects can be found here.

Permission to use the images in this post obtained from Ian Peaston at the time of planning this interview.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Worship Wednesday

Because of You

There’s a place where the streets shine
with the glory of the Lamb
There’s a way we can go there
we can live there beyond time

No more pain no more sadness
no more suffeing no more tears
no more sin no more sickness
no injustice no more death

There is joy everlasting,
There is gladness, there is peace
There is wine ever flowing,
There’s a wedding, there’s a feast

All our sins are washed away and we can live forever
Now we have this hope because of you
Oh we’ll see you face to face and we will dance together
In the city of our God because of You

Because of You because of you
Because of your love Because of your blood

Lyrics by Paul Oakley, 1996

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Being a Good Steward

I received this devotional in the mail today, and am I so glad that I did. Tithing is often a touchy subject in churches today. People prefer to hold on to their money, especially if circumstances are tight, rather than to give back to God what is really His in the first place. There is a fairly strong argument for giving the money to the church family that one is specifically a part of, but for me, that has never sat very well. When I was growing up, my Mom gave money to various mission organisations as well as to the church that we were members of. So what do I do in turn?

This reading has just given me such a sense of peace, that one must give one's money to where God wants it, and not always according to tradition. God does provide for those who are obedient.

“Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.” – Proverbs 3:9-10

Dr. Brian Kluth was the Senior Pastor at the First Evangelical Free Church of Colorado Springs from 1999-2009.  In the fall of 2009 the church commissioned Brian to a newly created full-time staff position as a Generosity Minister-at-large to the body of Christ across the country and around the world.  This new role allows Brian to serve through writing, guest preaching and seminars at churches, conference/seminar speaking, and the development of video and online training and generosity resources.
Brian wrote the following: “While ministering in Africa, I met a Christian worker who raised his 6 children on $10 a month. He told me the story of how children in his village were going blind because of a disease that could be prevented with medicine that only cost 50 cents. He began to pray and ask God to send a rich person to their village to help give the money for the medicine, but no one ever came. As he kept praying, the Lord told him he should give the money to buy the medicine. But with 6 children and only a $10 a month salary, he couldn’t see how he could do this. But he and his family prayed and decided that every month they would buy the medicine to help one child. When I last spoke with him, he'd been doing this for 7 years and had saved 84 children from going blind. And his family saw God meet all of their needs.”

The Lord asks us to be a good steward of the money and goods we have. Today in prayer, thank the Lord for all that He has given you and seek to bless others with what you have been given.

“Feel for others - in your pocket.” - Charles H. Spurgeon

God’s Word: “"Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. "But you ask, 'How do we rob you?' "In tithes and offerings.” – Malachi 3:8

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2011, Devotional E-Mail

Friday, 1 April 2011

It's all very artificial ...

I've spoken about this before, but it's only in the last week that my thoughts have coalesced into something that made me stop and think.

We all know the current economic climate in the world. Credit crunches; redundancies; cost cutting; austerity measures; bail-outs; these terms almost manage to fill the everyday conversations around the country, and around the world.

So what made me stop and think? I realised that it's all very artificial .... and more so, JUST how artificial it is. You see, what many people don't know about me is that I studied economics for four years. This means that I have a better handle than most on just how artificial economies are. Monetary policies (that's the interest rates and exchange rates), fiscal policies (that's the tax stuff) ... they're all based on theories - theories on how the masses will react to the policies that governments and central banks decide to enforce. And as with all theories, there is a basic assumption that people will react in a particular way, and that their behaviour will follow predefined patterns.

If all that just went completely over your head, just take one thing away from this post: never forget that it's artificial. There is a real world beyond the money and policies that govern our lives!