Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A cool little music/film project...

In our studio at work we have what is known as the 'Creative ipod'. This is where anyone in the creative department can dump their favorite songs onto a monthly playlist for the enjoyment of all. Some of the songs are pretty dire, but it's also introduced me to music that I would have otherwise never known about.

Here's one of my latest discoveries...

Check out the God help the girl website for more information.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I felt like an old man.

As I boarded the train to Waterloo, I was looking forward to my daily read. In this case I had elected to continue my brain melting education in New Testament Greek. But as I sat down and to begin my struggle with participles, aorist infinitives and the like, my concentration was shattered by the unleashing of a tinny tirade of Heavy Metal music from a few seats away.

I tried my best to ignore it and tune out, but it really was incredibly loud. After reading the same paragraph, the same paragraph, the same paragraph time and time again I had had enough. What was this person doing to their ears? To get it that loud they must have modified their ipod to deliver this ear torture.

And so before I could stop myself, I found my face peering through the gap between the seats to see the source of the irritant. Unfortunately I caught her eye and then found myself acting out turning the volume down, whilst informing her that 'it's a bit loud', a fact I'm sure she was well award of. She looked a little taken aback, before, thankfully reducing the ear-puncturing music to a more polite level.

I slinked back into my seat feeling as surprised as she was at my little outburst – but at least I would be able concentrate on my Greek now, or so I thought. Unfortunately all I did was worry about whether I had acted in a reasonable way and if I had been right to speak up... and so round and round went the same paragraph, the same paragraph, the same paragraph...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Everything's coming to an end.

As usual, I left my house with only a few minutes to get to the train station. As I hurried along the pavement I came to an abrupt halt with my foot hovering over a pigeon's corpse. To be confronted with death at 8.38am was a bit of a startling beginning to the day. I stood there for only the briefest of moments before carrying on my charge to catch the train, but the pigeon cadaver seemed to imprint itself on my mind. It looked strangely peaceful with no obvious wounds.

Due to various reasons I had got behind with Ashes to Ashes, Lost and 24, but had stored the remaining episodes on Sky+. And so it was, that in a very short duration of time my wife and I saw 3 of our favourite TV shows come to an end.

24 was full on, action-packed stuff to the end. We had little inkling of how that was going to end, and of course it leaves Jack free to go on and save the world in the up-and-coming 24 film. All-in-all, I think they managed to end the TV series very well.

The same can't be said for our other two favourite shows. The end to Ashes to Ashes felt weak and predictable, but at least it offered a certain amount of, shall we say 'closure'.

The end to Lost was another thing altogether. The show ran over 6 seasons and although my wife was growing weary of all the mystery, I was still loving it. Brilliant entertainment. It's just such a shame the ending was so inconclusive. The few mysteries that they tried to answer just seemed to generate more questions. I think fans were hoping to see some great revelation and I think the writers knew that, but unfortunately had nothing to satisfy the year's of speculation. They rounded up the story by showing a mystical great reunion of the dead/lost. A bit of a cop out and not very original (had just watched Ashes to Ashes – same sort of thing). I think they were trying to give us a satisfying ending, which whilst still being shocking, was happy. And so both shows brought their stories to a close by trying to deal with that one last door that we all have to walk through – death. They depicted death as being a place of final closure, with nice hazy light, where everyone is happy and it's all good... and I think that's how most people like to imagine things end. Reunited with friends, happy, peaceful and warm.

Hmmm, shame people don't take more notice of how God says it's all going to end. It's only through Jesus that things will end well. Apart from Him, there's certainly not going to be any nice hazy light, forgiveness and happiness. Let me quote from John 3:16-18...
'For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.'
So there it is. When we die we either stand before God saved and forgiven or condemned.

In a way, that dead pigeon I saw had it easy, it's end had come and it wasn't morally responsible for it's life. But as for us, we are... everything will end one day, but the question is, how will it end for you? Personally eternal life through Jesus is my preferred ending. What's yours?

Eurovision Song Contest 2010

I realise it's been sometime since the Eurovision Song contest has finished, but I've been busy.

It's been years since I've actually watched this rather peculiar Euro tradition, but as it happened I was at home and so tuned into this year's entrainment.

To my shame I have a dark and embarrassing secret: I actually really enjoyed it. Some of the acts had me laughing; some had me cringing (like the UK's entry); but some (in a Euro-poppy kind of way) were really good! I have whittled out the totally awful entries and compiled a playlist on Spotify... but beware. This list of songs contains some nutty entries, like Armenia's 'Apricot Stone' – apparently something of a symbol in Armenia!  But to the uninitiated it seems a trifle odd.

Click on the pic to see my top 19 Eurovision songs from 2010. Enjoy.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Cherries and preaching.

After a long day at work, I came home, cooked dinner and cleared up. It was about 9pm and I decided to go and water the plants in the garden. The evening air was refreshingly cool and I noticed that the little cherry tree in the corner of my garden was laden with ripe fruit.

It gave me a great sense of satisfaction as I grabbed a pot and filled it full  with freshly picked cherries. All I had done was planted the tree two years ago, occasionally watering it, and lo and behold there were branches full of fruit!

After preaching last Sunday I was feeling a little downcast. I had studied Ezekiel chapters 40-48 for weeks and had worked extremely hard to make head and tail of it. I preached for about 53 minutes (far too long) and was exhausted at the end of it. I found it hard to preach and I think people found it hard to listen to.

In the past few days I have been studying John's account of Jesus feeding the 5000 with five small loaves and two fish. As I was reading a commentary on this passage it developed the thought that God can take our small abilities, efforts and gifts and use them to feed the multitude. I found this to be a great encouragement – and one that was reflected in the bountiful harvest of cherries. I did what I could to enable the tree to grow, but God made it grow and produce ripe abundant fruit. Praise God, it's all down to Him!