Shabbat Shalom
It was an enjoyable experience running the Alpha course last night.
I got to church about 6:45 and blasted out some music through the speakers while I set everything up. The main thing was getting the projector connected to the laptop to play the video. Once that was working I knew I had nothing to worry about.
The other helpers (about 10 of them) arrived about 7:30, and then the attendees arrived at 8.
We didn't have as many people as I was expecting - just 6, but it could have been worse. The main thing was that everyone gelled well. We ended up sharing our stories about how we ended up at the Alpha course. The good thing about the course is it encourages people to be open and honest and it felt like we got to know each other well in just an hour and a half.
Hopefully there will be more next week, but it's got off to a good start.

Today I slowed right down. Took my time making porridge for breakfast. Took Zac to soccer training. Cooked bacon and eggs for lunch. Tidied up a bit, in between reading my book. Set the fire up for this evening. It felt like a proper Sabbath. : ) (Except the tidying bit).

(no subject)
I went to my house-group last night. Considering the problems I had on Sunday with that strange guy at my church, it was good to be with some reasonable, sound people.
There was Joel - our pastor, 30 years old, Radiohead fan, skinny, dark-rimmed geek glasses, thoroughly decent guy. Looks a bit like Elvis Costello in the 80s.
Cath - in her 40s, northerner (which probably means nothing to you unless you're from England), down-to-earth.
Her husband Steve - currently training to be a Maths teacher and finding it quite tough.
Heather - in her 40s, mother of 3 daughters, raised in France but has a posh English accent. I like her because she swears sometimes and she's the least likely person you'd expect to.
Dave - her husband, Welsh, a but querky - comes out with random stuff sometimes (!?) but I like that. : )
Gary-Lee - in his 20s but quite serious. I wasn't sure if I gelled with him to start with but he grows on me all the time.
We had a missionary with us last night telling us what she's up to in South Africa. She's really into music and was showing us how music is very culture sensitive, so a slow song with minor chords in The West usually makes us feel sad and reflective but doesn't necessarily cause the same feelings in other parts of the world. I found it fascinating and kind of enlightening. She was arguing that creativity is God-given and the more creative you are, the better.
: ) Definitely on my page.

I'm leading an Alpha course on Friday at my church. A course designed for people who aren't necessarily regular church-goers but who are interested in Christianity. Alpha started in London about 20/30 years ago and is now used in 169 countries. Anyone heard of it?
Anyway, they prayed for me and I feel really up for it. : )

Life in the playground
There's a guy in our church who's known for being rude and aggressive to people. He's in his 50s and is in charge of the sound-desk.
A few weeks ago, while I was on the desk, it stopped working and I spent a while trying to work out what had happened. When I asked for this guys help he told me to press a button which had cut out all the sound (presumably by him when I wasn't looking) ...why? I don't know. I thought it was strange but I'd heard other people say that he had done similar things to them.

This morning, I lead communion at church. I set a song up ready to play while the wine was being passed around. Beautiful song. It was working fine. No problem.
Then when I went away from the sound-desk, this guy went up to it 'to help'.
During communion, when it came for the song, there was a long pause, and then a different song came on...?!%¥ One that wasn't really appropriate...

I'm just amazed that someone would deliberately go out of their way to mess something up...
for communion...

At least my message came across. One woman came up to me afterwards and said she thought it was important to be reminded that Christ came for everyone (which was my main focus). I think that message is going to become more and more prominent in churches over the next few years.

(no subject)
There's something very peaceful about a real fire at the end of a busy week.
See all photos here:

The pleasures of not having anything to do
Bit of a weird day. It's my last weekend before I get caught up in the rat-race on Monday.
I didn't have much to do but didn't want to waste my time either.
I went for a run in the park. That picked my mood up a bit. I enjoyed running on the grass and jumping those little bushes, and muddy puddles. It made the run more engaging. It was kind of rainy/misty so there weren't many people about too, so I didn't feel like too much of an idiot doing the jumping...
Then when I got in I cooked myself some breakfast, had a shower and read a little.
I'm currently reading a novel called 'Conclave' that someone gave to me. It's about the death of the Pope and what happens afterwards. My knowledge of Catholicism is limited so I'm finding it interesting.
Then I made some mince pies with the last of the mince meat from Christmas. It took me quite a while to make the pastry by hand and then I didn't have the right tins so the mince pies looked a little odd going into the oven. I should have taken a picture. My eldest son looked at them and said: "Wow, you should be on 'Masterchef'"! (with total sarcasm).
Tidied the house. Made a chicken salad, which was more of a success than my mince pies fortunately and then spent ages sorting out my phone and getting nowhere.

(no subject)
I took Zac to the park today. This is him at the top of a little hill. He didn't go down it. I went on my bike; came back splattered in mud; asked him he wanted to try it; he looked at me (and the mud) and said, "No thanks".

Sent from my Windows Phone

It was nice to get out in the fresh air.

I'm at the end of my holiday now. Monday and Tuesday are teacher days at school, but then Wednesday I'll be back in the old routine.
Currently trying to keep in the holiday mentality.

21st century boy
I took my kids to see Star Wars today. I haven't been to the cinema for ages.
The last film I saw at the cinema was...
...Star Wars...the previous one...
: /
It was very good. I thought it might not be as good without Harrison Ford. He was always my favourite character as a kid, although I felt he was a bit done-to-death in the last film.
There were a few times where it still came dangerously close to being corny, but just about got away with it.
The references to the Force resonate remarkably closely to my understanding of the Holy Spirit which I find strangely inspiring and I like the biblical themes that seem to run through Star Wars...the Big Story...

Otherwise I've been catching up with the sort of jobs that I don't normally have time for - getting the car fixed, changing my mobile phone - how much time and energy does it take to change a mobile phone?*¥&$! Anyway, after hours of phone calls and shop visits I've now got a 3rd-hand I-phone 5... That's right. I've moved up from my Nokia. Living the dream. :/

(no subject)
I love the dark hours of my being.
My mind deepens into them.
There I can find, as in old letters,
The days of my life, already lived,
And held like a legend, and understood.

Then the knowing comes: I can open
To another life that's wide and timeless.

So I am sometimes like a tree
Rustling over a gravesite
And making real the dream
Of the one its living roots

A dream once lost
Among sorrows and songs.

- anyone know who wrote this?

(no subject)
I hadn't had a workout for about 10 days because I wasn't feeling very well over Christmas (except for a short run with my brother on Boxing Day) and I was starting to feel a bit lazy. So this morning, when I got up I did a 20 minute HIIT session with my good buddy (YouTube buddy...I feel like I know him now) Joe Wicks.
And afterwards, I felt so shattered I could hardly stand up...
I had a shower but I only managed to stay standing for about 2 minutes before I had to get out.
Then I crawled up the stairs, put my towel on the bed and just lay there...
...Happy New Year everyone.

(no subject)
I promised a picture of me in my street pastor tabbard.
It's from a couple of years ago before I grew my beard but this is it:
See all photos here:


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