Want some truth? Check this.

Shai Linne

The Atonement

I bought this album today, I've listened through it a couple of times now; it is next level. It is like listening to sound doctrine through Hip Hop. Even if Hip Hop isn't your thing I think you should check this album; it takes you on a journey from 'the fall' through to Jesus, His sacrifice for us and salvation. I love it, it reps Christ the whole way through.

Cue up the sample tracks here at Holy Culture Download.

Favourite tracks; Actually I thoroughly enjoyed the album the whole way through, I haven't really picked out any particular favourites but these are the ones that stood out the most as I listened through: School Daze, Through My Eyes, Jesus Is Alive (House of Tea Remix) and Throne of Grace. But seriously, the whole album is a definite winner.

Sola Dei Gloria.



Future Musings.

Feeling a bit blue at the moment. Everyone has left Sheffield now and it is just too quiet. The months of June-September are always weird ones; a bit like being stuck in limbo. It is hella hard to get a job at the moment so I have pretty much nothing to do; I am thinking of applying to CLC which is a Christian book shop in Sheffield. CLC is completely voluntary work and even the managers live on faith, all their money goes towards charities worldwide. This is their mission statement:

"CLC is an international missionary organization made up of individuals from many denominations. We are bound together by a common purpose: we desire to see people come to faith and maturity in the Lord Jesus Christ and we believe that evangelical Christian literature is an essential part in this process."

So, a really good organization and if I'm just waiting for a job I think I would like to have some kind of focus.
My training has just totally taken a back seat over the past few days; I have a pretty sketchy neck. I don't know what is wrong with it, but of late it has been hurting loads and I've not climbed or training for fear or damaging it more. Please pray for healing for it because it is becoming quite a problem and I am just dying to go climbing, especially with all the free time I have right now.

Aight, so what is really going on with me at the moment? Well, in September I am due to start Form, which I am pretty sure is the right thing to do, but over the past few days I have just not felt any kind of peace about any of the decision that I have been making recently, including whether I should have stayed in Sheffield for another year, especially with the lack of money going around at the moment. But looking back a few months ago I felt that it was the right decision and an obvious door that had been opened by God so I went for it, I think now that I just have to trust God that He is laying the path out in front of me even though I can't see it myself.
I am thinking quite a bit about what to do after this year in Sheffield. The aim of Form is to train and equip its students to be able to go out and plant ministry anywhere in the world regardless of language and culture because the truths of the Bible transcend things such as culture and age that we live in. With this in mind and also just opening my mind to dream wildly about what I would like to do I have started thinking about China again. China has been a nagging thing in the back of my mind for a few years now but a thought that I have never really developed much. I started learning to speak Mandarin about a year ago but had to put a hold on that for my final year of uni so that I could give everything to the course but now the interest and the urge has been returning quite a bit. Here are my reasons for exploring this further:
(1) As a young aspiring preacher I think it is important to get world experience; I know that a lot of pastors in full time ministry wish that they had worked in the world for a few years before they went into the church full time. And I definitely think that I want to do that.
(2) China appeals to me, for years it has, since having Chinese friends from back home I just bought into the culture and the people and the lifestyle so much. I think that things that we enjoy and sometimes things that are planted in our mind and appeal to us for no apparent reason can often be promptings by God.
(3) 2009 - statistics are saying that this is officially the worst year to graduate, the economy is in a mess and there isn't anywhere much safer than under your mattress to put your money. The opportunities for graduates to make money at the moment is low, very low. In fact, advice being given to graduates of this year at the moment is along the lines of "go, find a job outside of the UK and come back when England has sorted itself out". Basically, if there is a time to go it is now, while I am single, while it is productive to be out the country, while the fire to see China is there and especially after a year of training that will prepare me to be out there.

I was talking to my Dad on the phone about this the other day and "son, I think you just need to go, get it out of your system" was pretty much his advice. Which I am more than happy with.
So what do I plan to do out there? Teach English? Well, yeah! I always assumed that I would never do anything with my degree, but if I was ever to make any kind of use of it, it would be to teach English as a foreign language and if not to Chinese students in England then definitely in China itself. I've been Googling around for different places and courses and there are so many out there, I found my way to a site that offers 6 or 12 months contracts, fully paid for, flights, accommodation, meals etc at the Xi'an College to teach courses in Conversational English.

Ok. So I have been getting pretty into my Bible recently, which, as I ask around turns out is actually a rarity these days, especially among young Christians (but that's for another day). Now, I'm a Bible geek, I love the Bible, I love different translations of the Bible, on my shelf I keep a KJV, a NKJV, an NLT, a CEV, the Message Bible (such an incredibly passionate paraphrase of scripture), 3 adaptations of the NIV (including a Thompson Chain edition) and this week I am rocking a new ESV which is endorsed by great pastors and theologians such as Mark Driscol and Wayne Grudem (read Systematic Theology). So yeah, I'm loving the Word. So I've started to out into action a Bible reading plan to get me through it in a year (Form require us to read the Bible in a year) so this is the plan; very simple: four chapters of Old Testament a day and read the New Testament freely. I find the New much easier to read than the old so I'm not putting too much of a rigid structure on my reading of that. So that's where I'm heading with my Bible reading for the next year and I am reading through Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology as I go.

Highlights of the Week.
This is great. ok, I love porridge, and since living at Simon's I have had access to these incredible mugs that are more like bowls with handles, they are massive and hold such an incredible amount. It is such a simple joy but there is nothing better to eat porridge out of than one of these. They look like this:

So after two weeks of living with Simon and helping him move out I am now in possession of one of these incredible mugs.

I'm pretty blogged out.

Peace and Blessings

Song of the day: Alone in Kyoto - Air (You can hear this track in the film Lost in Translation, which is actually my all time favourite film)


"Success is not measured by what you accomplish but by the opposition you have encountered, and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds."
-Orison Swett Marden

I am so happy today; I am absolutely rinsed but I feel great, I conquered a real mountain. There is a new set of routes at the wall. I always like a new set of routes, it kind of symbolizes a fresh start and new challenges. For the past two days I have been trying to get a purple route on the overhang down but with little success. Today I went straight for it but once again couldn't make it onto the face of the overhang. After a couple of tries I turned my attention to an orange route on the slope. I have never made it to the top of the sloping wall, every time fear just grips me and this orange route was no different. It is such a mental barrier to get past, especially when you are up there and need to make a final push for a hold that seems just out of reach; making it for the first time is like making it over the peak of a mountain, there is an aweosome feeling of accomplishment and a fresh mantal of confidence in yourself and more importantly in God as you come down the other side. I always get so close to the top then bail. So I meditated and prayed before hitting the ascent and committed myself to only doing this orange route until I got it down and abstaining completely from the rest of the wall, however long it took me. It required a small jump reach for the final hold or a leg reach out to the overhang to the right into order to get the last hold before the top (which flipping terrified me). About two hours into the session, after several fails and a couple of falls off the jump I decided to give it a crack with the overhang foothold. It was quite a tense moment (for me anyway, I think everyone else was doing just fine) but I smashed it, and got both hands on the top; even got a pull up in before jumping down. It was amazing, I landed just grinning ear to ear. A ZA A ZA FIGHTING!

Today was such a turning point and marks the first breakthrough in my climbing. As far as fear, ability and discipline goes I can see that God has clearly been at work in me, helping me improve and pushing me forward. I took some time before hitting the routes to just kneel and pray and allow God to be the center of my task and He really was. When I wait on God and allow Him to fill me and for the Holy Spirit to flow through me when I am climbing I feel myself change, and this is something that is transferable to every aspect of my life. It just amazes me.

highlights of the day:

bff shopping trip with Si
one final climbing session with Ben before he leaves tomorrow
crash bandicoot racing and banter - good times
smashing the crap out of the orange route

Peace and blessings everyone.

song of the day: Salvation Army Band - Phil Keaggy, incredible Christian guitarist, listen through and be amazed


"Let the wind be upon your back,
and if there is sun let it shine on your face
Let the rains rip across your path,
providing swell to last all of your days"

What should we expect when we pray? This is something that has troubled me recently; I go into times of prayer and expect to meet with God. But I find that so often I limit the what God might want to do by expecting to meet or experience Him in only one way (the way that I want it). I end up asking questions like, what should I feel when I pray? How do others feel when they pray? Is there any particular physical feeling or experience of Holy closeness that comes with pray and times of meditation? I put these thoughts forward to my friend today, and what he said really hit me with a clarity that was so certain that it must have been from God. I asked him if he feels any kind of overwhelming presence when he goes into times of prayer of if he thinks that he should, or should we just press on regardless. He told me that he doesn't experience those feelings when he prayers, but (this was the bit that hit me) when he prays, he prays believing that God hears all prayers, that God answers prayer and that Gos is true to his promises. Immediately I knew that he had hit on something, whether he knew it or not I don't know. Believing these things is what it means to have faith in prayer, whether there is a feeling of the presence of God or not I still believe that He hears and answers my prayers and that He is a covenant keeping God who cares about me and is always close to me, that's a promise:

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9

I went climbing today. The routes have changed down at the matrix and there are some pretty awesome challenges that test both my confidence and ability. Was gutted that the route changed before I managed to get that orange route down but there is a new purple one on the over hang that is flipping hard and hella scary at the final few holds. I tried it a few times and got to a point where I just couldn't commit to it. Up until this point I hadn't meditated or prayed about, as soon as I gave a thought to fact that it is through God that I will overcome the challenges and dangers my performance just improved, I pushed forward with determination and endurance. It is amazing what God can do through us when we let him. I'm confident now that next time I climb I will nail that route without fear but full in strength and with great confidence in God who moves through me.

This is going to be the largest test of my faith in the coming weeks. In September I am starting the Form course with my church, St Thomas Crookes. It is two days a week (Tuesday and Thursday) and I need to work for the remaining three weekdays. With such limited flexibility and availability getting employment seems pretty impossible at the moment. However, God provides.

Peace and Love

Song of the day:
We Are Yours - Charlie Hall


I became more convinced than ever that God finds ways to communicate to those who truly seek him, especially when we lower the volume of the surrounding static. I remember reading the account of a man who interrupted a busy life to spend a few days in a monastery:

"I hope your stay is a blessed one," said the monk who showed the visitor to his cell. "If you need anything, let us know, and we will teach you how to live without it"

ok, it is time for a life audit. Two days ago I moved all of my things out of my house and into my friends house where I am staying for the next two or three weeks. Looking at all the packed boxes and many bags and surveying the amount of just "stuff" that I have I have come to the conclusion that it is time for most of it to go.
Here's why: A year or so ago I was reading Brother Lawrence's The Practice of the Presence of God. Brother Lawrence was a cook in a French monastery in the18th century and learned the wonderful practice of entering, staying in and enjoying God's presence. This resonated with with me and after praying on it I received a clear word from God one Sunday morning that has stuck with me and has since become the crux of the philosophy that I tend to apply to my life. The word Simplicity of Joy.
Not long after receiving this word God started to stir something up inside me. It was an overwhelming contentment with simple things and living life simply and a growing dissatisfaction with the materialistic mentality that seems to dominate Western society today. I find that I am at my happiest when I have less (including money). The type of lifestyle that connects with my spirit the most is without doubt a simple lifestyle. The training, climbing and parkour disciplines that have crept into my life recently, for some reason seem to strike chords with me in a life philosophy that practices simplicity and God's presence.

So, we come back to my many boxes of packed possessions. I think it is time to part with a lot of things. Simply for the sake of simplicity. I want this next year to be completely given to God and free from the unnecessary distraction. Also, personally, I find that I am just so much closer to God when I am removed and disconnected from the material world I live in and go my own way with it being allowing myself to be free from those things.

So what are my aims?
(1) To have a ruthless clear out of my stuff and bring it down to the bare minimum
(2) To live off as little money as possible, wasting nothing (especially food)
(3) To be careful with what I eat and consider my diet more in my training

ok, so onto my diet. After three years of what I can only describe as a student diet I have come out pretty healthy, but undeservedly. I recently went four months without take away food, it was incredible; my body felt great and the amount of money I saved changed my bank balance by such a significant amount. My discipline to eat well and maintain a regular lifestyle was a natural following result. It was so much better and it wasn't that hard, but it was so much easier to revert back to unhealthy eating. In the same way, on the materialistic front, I feel that, living in a society where the pursuit of happiness is founded in pursuit of "having" I have found that it has been a very easy discipline to live free from and apart from that and the results of it, especially in my spiritual life are so much better, however, despite this it is always so much easier to revert back to the pull of the Western commodity driven philosophy.
I was talking with Jin the other day about diabetes and the importance of diet regarding type 1 diabetes, and I remember being so inspired by the discipline required to maintain a good lifestyle with something like diabetes that it resonated strongly with this simplistic and disciplined lifestyle that I am moving towards. Now after three years of eating poorly, my health is fine, but I don't think that that is any reason for me to continue abusing my body with a horrendous diet because I won't suffer too dyer consequences.

And finally, onto my training. I have not trained over the past couple of days but moving out of my house has provided me with enough heavy lifting that I probably exceeded what I do in my daily discipline anyway, but I am moving into a method of training that is focused on pathway and goal. I am working towards a certain goal in parkour and until my I achieve that I will have it in mind as I train towards it.

So for the moment my goal is to master the various flips on the bars. The training I am going to do to reach this goal is going to be more intense handstand discipline, moving from timed free stands to push ups every morning, chin up and pull ups on bars with stomach stretches. I am taking a slow road to a more intense program but I am so much more concerned with learning to love the discipline than burning myself out with a discipline I can't enjoy or seek God in.

Anyways, I think that's me done for today, this is just a simple sum up of some of what I am thinking on at the moment.

Peace and Love

Song of the day: Adoration - Andy Baker & Nick Law


“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.”
-Helen Keller

Challenge: To do one thing every day that scares you.

I'm at the end of my first week and I can notice a definite difference. I've been doing a fair mixture of climbing and parkour. With both I constantly come across challenges that either scare me or that I think I just can't do, jumps and routes etc, but this week I've just applied the mentality "just do it anyway".
I started daily training again to build my upper body strength so I can practice for longer. I going to start introducing more weights and into my routine but for now I'm mostly just concentrating on handstand discipline. I've got it down to just over 60 seconds now and getting much better at my free stand.

Managed to get a pair of climbing shoe this week, finally! It has been about 2 or 3 months now since I started climbing and doing it without shoes has been pretty horrendous sometimes. Using them for the first time is a bit weird (and hurts like anything) but it just totally opens up the whole wall for you to climb, every feature suddenly just becomes available for you. So I've just been rocking up the Matrix (local climbing wall, not...the actual Matrix) this week during the day and then doing parkour at night around 9.00 or 10.00pm (I much prefer it when there isn't anyone around watching. Same with climbing really) but this incessant rain has put a stop to that today.

So in climbing this week I have just been getting used to the shoes but most of all trying to nail this orange route on the overhang. The day I get that down will be a good day.
In parkour I've been working on higher jumps, vaults and precision jumps over bigger heights. Kids playgrounds are the best places for all that stuff, there is so much stuff to climb up, hang from, jump off etc, it's great.
I think I'm really going to use this summer to just get some of the disciplines right and get into a healthier frame of mind for training, in both what I eat and motivation. And alongside all of this I want to make sure that God is my main focus, so that I don't just train for the sake of training or improve in all these areas and forget the one who gives me the strength to do them. I'm starting to take some time before and after training to meditate on God and good things, and just to invite the Holy Spirit to be with and move through me as I train.

Other things that are happening at the moment: We're packing up the house to move out on Friday, can't believe I have been here a year, it's been a bit of a shoddy house, and the top half of it has always seemed to me like living on ship but I've loved it. Tomorrow is going to be the final big clear up, it's going to be mental getting everything packed up in time. It was going to be potentially stressful sorting out the next few weeks of homelessness before moving into our new place but by God's grace it was all sorted, I have somewhere to live, somewhere to put all my gear and a car to move it all on Friday.
Been going to the morning devotionals by Mike Breen (former leader of St Thomas Crookes) for the past four days, tomorrow is the last one, this morning he did an incredible talk on John 21: Invitation and Challenge. I'm going to make sure to write it up on here because it was just that good!
Final random thought: I'm coming to be of the opinion that all you will ever need in life is a Buff, it is the most versatile piece of gear I have ever come across. I've had my first one for 6 years now and is still going strong. I wear one pretty much every day. Seriously, you can use them for just sabout anything; they are useful in every situation from covering your head to...soaking up split tea. If you don't have one, get it sorted.

Anyways I'm pretty wrecked and my laptop is slowing right down. I'm managing to write an entire sentence and not see it appear on the screen until a second or so later. Sad times.

Peace and Love

Song of the day: Can I ascend (I'm coming up the Mountain) - Matt Redman (good luck if you can find it anywhere, old skool worship action)


Yeah, it's the age old Christian debate. Is Harry Potter Biblically ok? Now I am generally unphased by 'wizards and weird stuff' but there are one or two issues that I have with Harry Potter that caused me to throw away my own copies. Actually, my issues with Harry Potter itself are in fact rather limited, what I have been struggling with recently is other Christians responses to finding out that I have thrown away my Harry Potter books.

Holier than thou?
No of course not. I believe that Christians make decisions based on their convictions. The Bible, by nature, does not address directly the hundreds and thousands, and indeed millions of scenarios and issues that we find ourselves faced with everyday, rather, it presents a set of principles; principles that either allow, or disallow certain ways of living. So it was no surprise that I could not find anywhere in any translation of the Bible a particular passage that alluded to whether or not it was canonically acceptable for a Christian to read Harry Potter.
Now if a Christian feels, by their own conviction and reading of the Bible that it is fine to read Harry Potter then that is absolutely fine. I am not anti-Harry Potter and this is not an anti-Harry Potter blog, I don't read in myself anymore but I'm not spearheading a movement to have the books stripped from the shelves.
So, the thing that has been an issue for me is the amount of opposition I have had from Christians on finding out that I threw my books away. What I have found is that those avid fans of the Harry Potter series who are also Christian become very quickly defensive when they come across a Christian who disagrees with the series.

I'll explain the reasons why I felt it was right to ditch my Hogwarts collection. I'm a fantasy fan as much as the next person who has read Lord of the Rings, Narnia and played a Final Fantasy game or two. And I did myself enjoy a bit of Harry Potter. The thing for me that I started to become unhappy about with the Harry Potter series was not so much the magic and wizards, because that stuff is quite present in other fantasy genres that I feel are fine, but more the incredibly accurate parallel with the occult. Fantasy magic by my standards is fine but Harry Potter includes a good amount of well researched elements of the occult that is practiced for real.
These are one or two things that the Harry Potter books include (please understand I am not trying to convince anyone to get rid of their books, but just explaining the reasons why I got rid of mine):
witches, potions, spells, magic wands, flying broomsticks, books titled: standard book of spells, history of magic, magical droughts and potions, dark forces: a guide to protection, the idea of ghosts and spirits as being helpful, the study of the stars as a way of increasing magical ability in spells and herbs and fungi used for producing various magical arts.

These are all elements that are intrinsically linked to the occult. The occult is not just another religion, it is the antithesis of what I believe as a disciple of Jesus. So that alone is enough conviction for me to not have anything to do with it:

10"There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one "who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer,
11or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.
12"For whoever does these things is detestable to the LORD; and "because of these detestable things the LORD your God will drive them out before you.
13"You shall be blameless before the LORD your God.
14"For those nations, which you shall dispossess, listen to those who "practice witchcraft and to diviners, but as for you, the LORD your God has not allowed you to do so.
[Deuteronomy 18:10-14]

Harry Potter presents the occult as something that can be used for good as well as bad. Unlike Narnia where any practice of the occult was destroyed by what is purely good. To me this seems like quite a deception.
So why do some Christians deem it to be ok to read and others not? My general observation has been that those who think it is fine, think so on the grounds that it is (1) a harmless kids books (2) it's underlying themes are about love, not magic and (3) it is just so damn good.
My answer to the 3 points of argument are (1) perhaps it is harmless and kids aren't turning to the occult left right and center, but I don't think that negates the responsibility of a Christian to exercise wisdom and dessernment and to remove a work of literature that promotes occultish influence rather than just accepting it. (2) This looks very much like the half-lie tactic of the enemy, that something good is bound to mixed into it to make it look alright. Good heavens I've had Christians telling me that there are strong Christian parallels in it and that it is a Christan book because of the clear cut good vs evil themes. Harry Potter is not the only book that has good vs evil. The fact that that good is linked to a type of magic that is so opposite to what I believe as a Christian just sends up a warning signal to me. (3) I wouldn't mind seeing some Christians defending the Bible with same passion with which they defend Harry Potter. I've read it. Yes it is a flipping good read, but not so good that is stands up against the Bible. As I mentioned earlier, if you read it and by conviction feel that it is fine for you to read, then read it but if you just like it so much that you don't want to give it up then I would suggest reevaluating the focus. In Timothy, Paul says that the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; it has been the same in every age. There comes a time in our Christian walks where it is easier to embrace and believe what people say because it fits in with our own theology and philosophy of life than to conform to biblical truth. Fact. Sometimes we see Christian friends doing, saying, reading, watching or buying things that you just feel a Christian shouldn’t do, say, read, watch or buy. Because the sinful nature always looks to what you can get away with and the righteous nature always looks to see what is lawful to God. I used to thoroughly enjoy the Harry Potter books, they are cracking stories, but I just couldn't keep hold of them knowing that I felt wrong about it but not letting them go because they are such a good read.

Now, I know that the Deuteronomy verse talks more about actively taking part in the practice of the evil things and that Harry Potter would barely qualify as actively taking part in the occult, but for me; thinking of Philippians 4:8

whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

I just find it much healthier to keep my eyes on things that are from Jesus and not dwell on things that are not, however seemingly harmless they are, which for me includes novels that are affiliated with the occult.

So, are the Harry Potter books harmless? yeah probably. Probably not many people practice the occult as a result of reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher's stone. But is it good practice for a Christian to be constantly reading or for children to be reading, I would personally say not.
So this is something that happened on Wednesday that completely changed my life so that my relationship with God hasn't been the same since.

For a while I have been feeling pretty distant from Jesus, I have just had a hard time connecting or feeling anything. I just couldn't feel close to Him, the main problem was that for all the love I was reading about in the Bible I just wasn't seeing it or feeling it. I was reading in Psalms 103 that He heals all my disease but I wasn't receiving or seeing healing. So I was feeling dry and wanted to get the joy and the love back.
God must have really planned to hit me with something big that day. The whole day little seemingly random events and changes in plans all lead up to a point in the evening with me being in an upper room of someone's house, at some way out, under-the-radar, Christian shabba-fest known in Sheffield as the 316. Now I'm from a Pentecostal background but this was just shake, rattle and roll the whole way, some people were jumping, some where shouting, some were speaking in tongues and some where just laid-out facedown on the ground, sucking rug, arms out, soaking in the Spirit.
Now I'm not at all against that stuff, on the contrary, it is all in scripture, but I just wasn't in the place for it (to tell you the truth I felt jealous of the passion and the freedom that these people seemed to have), so instead I decided stay sitting and just pray by myself and not to allow my place of spiritual dryness to allow for negative thought towards what was going on around me:

“Perhaps, my dear brother, while they prayed together
You sat and considered, but prayed not at all:
Would you find a blessing, then pray without ceasing,
Obey the advice that was given by Paul.
For if you should reason at any such season,
No wonder if Satan should tell in your ear,
That preachers and people are only a rabble,
And this is no place for reflection and prayer.”
[a dialogue song between a “Shouting” Methodist and a “Formalist,” most likely either a Presbyterian or a Congregationalist, 1848]

Not long into this praise session the guy leading came over and asked to pray with me. I agreed (perhaps a little reluctantly) and so we got to it. At first it was a normal prayer for blessings , "fill him up Lord" overflowing cups and green pastures and etc, but soon he started to have a word of knowledge about me. He suddenly prayed for God to comfort me for the loss of a significant person in my life. Straight away I thought of my mom. I made no response but remained still but somehow he knew that it was a word from God and that he had hit on something, he looked straight at me and asked: I'm right aren't I?
I nodded: yeah. yeah you are
it a family member?
I nodded
Is it your mom?...
I have never cried about my past or my family, I just removed it to the recesses of my mind but as soon as he said that I just welled. I had to bite my tongue so hard to stop myself crying. I felt almost angry that something I spent so much time repressing had just been surfaced so quickly by a guy I don't know. When he finished praying I went outside to get some space. Two other people came up to me with similar messages that were pretty spot on. I didn't know what to do with all this, it was like it was just too much! I just wanted people to leave me alone and for God to stop giving people words of knowledge about me. Then I just heard God's voice gently say "go to Simon's house". This night had been so mental so far I had no problem getting out at all and going to Simon's, finally I would get to talk to a reasonable person who had their head screwed on. So, it was past 11pm and made my way to Simon's.

When I told Simon about everything that had happened, he didn't know what to say (other than "....flip"). We sat and talked for a while but there seemed to be no answer to everything that had happened that night. Then Simon started looking at a piece of paper he had stuck on his wall: read this.
I stood and walked over and began to read the words that were printed there. I remember it took the longest time to read, it felt like forever. Every word on the paper fell like a hammer on my heart an sunk deeper than I ever knew. Half way through reading it tears just started to stream down my face but still I held it back. When I finished reading I just collapsed to the floor and broke down. I became so overcome with the love of God that I just couldn't hold it in. Never in my life had I felt the love of God for me so personally, I felt as though it had been missing my whole life and then suddenly a dam inside me broke and a tidal wave of God's love for me just rushed in and overwhelmed me. Since that night, which was 6 days ago now, I have seen life differently and my relationship with God is just so much richer, so much closer, so much more loving and so much more enduring.

This is what was written on the paper: A message of a Father's Love I pray that God touches your heart through it as he did mine.


fear noun 1 anxiety and distress caused by the awareness of danger or expectation of pain.

I have certain image of myself, but I am so aware that that picture does not match up to how I actually am. I am also increasingly aware that perhaps others can see that I don't match up to the image that I have of myself. I don't care too much about that, but I do care that they are right. Recently I took up climbing and after a break of about 5 years (post injury) have started a bit of free running again. I love both of these. When I close my eyes and think on them I can see myself achieving the challenges and routes that I cannot achieve in practice, and the difference between me being able to do these things in my imagination and not being able to do them for real is not my physical ability, but rather the amount of fear that factors when it comes to the real.
Thinking on my background and where I've come from it is no surprise that fear is such a challenge to me, it is a hard challenge and one that I have spent the past year working on and will spend the coming year continuing to work on. The restricting and binding thing about fear is that it prevents you from doing the things that you want to do, it holds you back and ultimately stands in the way of you being the person you are meant to be because your passions and the things that you want to do are such an intrinsic part of you being you. For me these are physical, fears of injury. It seems no surprise that with such a fear that God has given me such a passion for disciplines like climbing and parkour which ultimately require me to either conquer my fear or never progress. It always seems to be the way that when you have something, like fear, that you want God to help you sort out, He never just removes it but instead provides you with opportunities to trust Him to help you overcome them.

So where from here?
It has been a significant lesson in my spiritual walk to learn that through God I can do anything. It seems pretty standard for a Christian but when you let that truth make a 12 inch journey from your head to your heart, you can really begin to see the power of God manifest in your life, transform you and replace your struggles with the good things He promises. My fear is a product of my past. These are things that are gone, things that are done that are effecting how I am now and my potential to move forward; here's a lesson for everyone:

don't allow any part of your past manipulate your future

If you are thinking, and dwelling and living out things, negative things that have happened in the past, then there is no way that you can step into the glory that God has in store for you in the future. It takes prayer and discipline and determination. This passage from Haggai declares that promise:

'The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,' says the Lord Almighty. 'And in this place I will grant peace,' declares the Lord Almighty."
-Haggai 8:9

The promise of God here is that what is to come will be much better than what as past; that the plan he has laid out will only get better and that this will bring about peace. So if I am moving forward, trusting in God to help me overcome my fears of injury and my doubt about my own abilities then my future glory will be greater than the former glory, it will be great success in these areas, and if God declares that He will grant peace, then I can believe that fear will something far removed from my life; because peace is very much the antithesis of fear. You will rarely find peace in a fearful person and vise versa you will be hard pushed to find a person who has real peace consumed by fear.

So the challenge that I am laying down in front of myself is to do things that scare me. And when I come across a climbing route or a jump that just terrifies me to the point where I make up an absurd amount of reasons not to to do it...to do it anyway. And at every moment to pray, to allow God to be in control of it and for the Holy Spirit to flow through me and improve me from the inside out, and by this see change manifest in me. Always improving, always looking up, moving forward. Taking leaps. Conquering mountains.