Saturday, 26 December 2009


For many centuries the quote “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” has been used to express the view that beauty is a subjective matter. The human race has spent millions of pounds and untold hours in the search of this subjective concept. We all have an opinion of what we find beautiful from the acts of kindness that we describe as ‘doing a beautiful thing’ to jewellery and motorbikes to the natural world. Some of us will search to find beauty in the mirror and some take this to the extreme and go under the knife in order to reshape what they see until it matches their view of beauty.
I wonder however how subjective beauty is and if there is something that we would all consider beautiful. A new born baby perhaps, a sunset, a cobweb caught with frost, a forest glade. Even here though we would disagree, there may be more of a consensus but there would still be some who didn’t like the look of the baby, some who don’t like sunsets, cobwebs speak of spiders and forests difficult to find.... what about a manger or a cross?
I believe we have been given a desire in our very being to search for beauty, to appreciate beauty, to experience true beauty. Our search may have been corrupted over the years but our longing to fix our eyes on something of beauty is a desire to be explored and the finding of it perfected by the knowledge that it is part of our created purpose. To find this true beauty I believe we must go to the one who put the desire in our hearts, to the one who created a world full of beauty and culminated his work with man and woman. Maybe it is as simple as looking in the mirror, to look not with subjective eyes but with eyes that speak of truth and say that we have been created and considered very good. Our journey to find true beauty can and must go deeper. To turn our gaze from what we see with our natural eyes to look upon the one who created us, created this magnificent earth, this overwhelming universe. The one from whom all things have been created, all things! It is there I believe our journey to find true beauty really begins.

Thursday, 17 December 2009


I have been thinking today about disappointments and how I could look back on the decade and note the disappointments, the prayers that weren’t seemingly answered, the relationships that didn’t develop, the opportunities that were missed, the expectations that were not met and leave 2009 with a sense of disappointment.
Proverbs 13 verse 12 tells us that hope deferred makes the heart sick and we have a nation that is not only physically sick but also spiritually. A nation of people soaked in disappointment of what could have been this year, this decade. And I ask myself are the people of God any different?
I learnt in Biology about Osmosis with potatoes put in water and how over time the potato will suck up the water and become all bloated and bendy and wonder how much of the culture around us have we soaked up? How bloated have we become, how have we bent our theology to fit our disappointment? If we are surrounded by disappointed, critical, negative people do we, by osmosis, become critical and disappointed too or are we the ones that are oozing disappointment over others?
The rest of the proverb says that a longing fulfilled is like a tree of life. I was listening to Godfrey on Sunday night talking about this proverb and asking about the health of our wells, are they overflowing with life giving water or full of rubble. I had to admit mine had rubble and God in his grace and truth pointed out that some of the rubble was disappointment. He showed me moments where things had not gone the way I had hoped and I had resolved not to go down that path again. So my choice, as he always gives us a choice, to carry on with my well drying out or to deal with the disappointments, to make some new resolutions to hope, to hope no matter what the circumstances or the outcomes of my hopes. To leave the disappointment in the past.
The bible says that for the joy set before him Jesus endured the cross. In a book which calls us to persevere and fix our eyes on Jesus we too should look ahead to the joy set before us, to have faith – being sure of what we hope for. Disappointment is maybe just another form of unbelief and I want to be a person of faith not unbelief. Faith in the one who comes full of grace and truth. Maybe as we draw close to a new decade we should look at the state of our wells and see if they are bringing life or full of rubble, whether there are disappointments to be left behind and a renewed resolution to hope. To soak up the culture of heaven rather than the culture of the world. To, by osmosis, become bloated with joy and love and grace and truth and bend our circumstances and outcomes to the truth of heaven.

Friday, 11 December 2009

2010: The Year We Make Contact

I’m quite a sci-fi fan and remember as a teenager loving most of the 60’s classic ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ – at least the bits once the apes had stopped bashing jaw-bones and there were some space ships involved. In 1984 they made a movie of the sequel, ‘2010’.  It was a very different kind of movie to the original.  Where the original was slow, ponderous, philosophical and, frankly, a tad self-important the sequel was being made by someone much less interested in philosophy and much more interested in making a political drama set in space with some great effects.  Although much shorter and less weird the result was, by no means, Star Wars and it failed to appeal to many of those brought up on such pop-corn science fiction.  However it also failed to appeal to the purists who loved Kubrick and Clarke’s 1968 original and so it didn’t do especially well at the box office, the sixteen years between the two films probably didn’t help much either.  The reason I’m rambling on about 2010 is that I watched it again recently on DVD with my daughter who is 14 and we both quite enjoyed it and I was struck by the tag line for the movie – ‘The Year We Make Contact’.  More than struck actually, I can’t get the phrase ‘The Year We Make Contact’ out of my head!

Contact has so many meanings – our computerised lists in our address books are referred to as ‘contacts’, estranged parents seek ‘contact’ with their kids, WW 1 fighter pilots shouted ‘contact’ to the ground-crew to indicate that a spin of the propeller will start the engine, electrical circuits have ‘contacts’ where testing can be done or power drawn off, spies always have mysterious informants referred to as ‘contacts’ who tell them what they need to know.

I’ve felt, as have many others, that we’re on the verge of major spiritual breakthrough in this group of island nations.  The Gloryfires ministries in Blacon, Chester or the Emerge Wales team in South Wales (and I’m sure many others across the UK) appear to be in the vanguard of this breakthrough.  They’re the forerunners, the front-line, the sharp-end, but the D-Day landings wouldn’t have been the historic victory they ultimately were unless those heroes hadn’t been followed up those beaches by everyone else; ready and equipped for what lay ahead.

I feel there’s a call from heaven to ‘make contact’ to tap into the reality of all that Jesus has done for us and made us to be; to spin the propeller and not just taxi around the runway but to actually take off and soar to breath-taking heights!  For us to get in daily contact with our Father and get the heavenly downloads he has for us.  For us to ‘make contact’ with our unsaved friends and family members, to ‘make contact’ with our communities and colleagues; we can make that contact between heaven and earth.  To make a contact that is sound and allows power to flow and to follow the fore-runners up the beach.

A New Year is in some ways just an arbitrary man made marker but we can use these markers to draw a line under what’s gone before and set a new agenda.  Would you like to take on the challenge to make 2010 ‘The Year You Make Contact’ as well?

Thursday, 10 December 2009

To pray..

Yesterday I posted a few thoughts on prayer by Kris Vallotton which I think are inspiring. They inspire me because they remind me of some of the reasons why we pray, to see the kingdom of this world collide with the Kingdom of God, on earth as it is in heaven, to leave as our inheritance for our children a nation in revival.... so we turn our attention to heaven to pray.
Prayer seems to have such a lot of 'stuff' attached to it, there are millions of books to read about how to pray, I have read my fair share, we have our professional prayers, our intercessors, our prayer mountains, prayer closets, prayer networks all there to help us to focus our attention. Very clever people tell us how to pray, we have prayer strategies and prayer books, prayer maps, prayer aids .... and so it goes on and before long we wonder are we praying 'right' or praying the 'right' prayers, what is the 'right' formula to guarantee the answer?
I wonder whether we just need to lighten up and enjoy ourselves in prayer more.
When asked how to pray Jesus suggested starting with Hi Dad, not much formality there. I think prayer is about having a chat, talking things through with someone who knows what you're going to say, taking time for some mutual appreciation. Personally I like to just sit and ponder rather than go into high intensity intercession mode. We'll have a chat as I wander about, I ask what He thinks about this and that and ask him if he could teach me more about Him and His ways of doing things. Over recent years I have found silence to be the best communication when alone, not so much in prayer times with others, bit difficult to get that agreement in prayer if no-one is saying anything....but when I am alone I get more said if I say nothing, I feel more connected if I just shut up.
Maybe today's blog is an advert for the contemplatives and the mystics or maybe just a reminder that prayer is about a relationship not a formula.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

To pray or not to pray that is the question.

Day after day, a loving Creator looks down on a broken planet longing for the day when the object of His affection will walk hand in hand with Him into indescribable beauty in the halls of eternity. In the meantime, the destruction continues, not because God is angry with man, but rather because men choose to kill, steal and destroy. This is the fruit of those who have chosen the wrong lover (satan).

Meanwhile, a hateful enemy is stalking a wounded and desperate people. He is seeking to paralyze us with fear, demoralize us with his arrogant boasts of destructive predictions, and harden us with hopelessness. Yet still, the future belongs to those who pray. Prayer is the bridge between what should be and what will be. The diligent prayer of a righteous people will ultimately determine the destiny of our children. Therefore, it is our responsibility to leave to those yet to be born a world in revival as their inheritance. Hanging in the balance of eternity is the ultimate climax of our Creator – the kingdoms of this world becoming the Kingdom of our God.

It’s been said that God does nothing in the affairs of men except they pray. Prayer is the catalyst for worldwide transformation. Prayer incites the angels, restrains darkness, and releases nations into their destiny. Prayer is the key to revival, building bridges between what should be and what will be.

Mercy Triumphs Over Judgment
Written by: Kris Vallotton