"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."

You want a killer read on discipleship? Peep Mike Breen's A Passionate Life. That book will flipping blow your hair back. By the way, before I get going; I know I got a couple of 'none-Christian' readers on this site, this is a Christian blog, I'm aware that a lot of the stuff I talk about is very much "in-house" topic stuff, I hope that's aight with y'all but that's definitely where this blog is heading over the next year.

Aight, so here's a few thoughts I've been having today:

Power Napping.
I'm a night person, I usually switch on about 10 or 11 and stay pretty wide awake until I start to push the boundaries of "I'll be lucky if I get 6 hours" into "I might as well just stay up". Sleeping earlier is a hard discipline for me, but I've been putting it into practice over the last few days so that I am ready for the 9-5 life that I am about to start in September.
In any case though, last night I stayed up way too late and made myself hella tired throughout today. Desperate to end sleepiness I Ask Jeeves what I should do (actually I Googled, but i prefer the turn of phrase). In any case I ended up reading a few sights about Power Napping and resolved to give it a shot - it is pretty good, I felt miles better after 20 minutes of just lying down. I don't think I did much actual sleeping but I managed to not move from my bed and kept my eyes pretty much shut for the duration. I think imma start trying it a bit more often. I have read so much sciency stuff about sleep and power naps on websites today so I could fire random impressive facts for a good essay length blog but I won't...but here are a couple of pretty neat things that I learned:

(1) This is how it works; what you're doing during a power nap is capturing the benefits of the first two of the five stages of the sleep cycle (I didn't look up what the last three of the five stages are but I'm well read up on the first two). These first two stages take place in the first twenty minutes. Typically I think the physical improvements of 20 minutes sleep are memory and motor skills.

(2) According to Nasa research, studies show that a nap just 26 minutes can boot performance by as much as 34%. A Nasa/ FAA study observed that when flight crews were provided a planned 40 minute nap opportunity (resulting in an average of 26 minutes actual sleep) the rendered effects subsequently exhibited were improved physiological alertness and performance. Neat huh?

Here is a quick thought that I had, which was very much inspired by Mike Breen's book. Something I struggle with a lot is the whole "spending time with God" thing. I really don't want to be so conditioned to think of God as a religious concept that I limit the time I spend with him to "religious times" (like Church). Sometimes I find it so hard to be in conversation and maintain the idea of "walking with God" and I guess the reason I find that a struggle is...I don't know really what that looks like. Often we feel as though we are just talking at God when we pray, like we have brought Him a shopping list of things that we need Him to do for us, but that doesn't seems to lack something of the "relationship" that we read about having with out Father in our Bibles. But here's something great to remember; Every time you pray, you are simply responding to the call of God in your heart (it's the same when we respond to Him in praise). Even when we give ourselves to others around us, when we give ourselves to the lost and the least and the hurting, we are interacting with Jesus. I started doing Homeless Outreach last semester, I never thought of it as "interacting with Jesus" I just got on with it then probably went home later that night and contemplated how little time I am giving to interacting with Jesus, but the truth is, I probably wouldn't be doing Homeless Outreach in Saturday evenings if God hadn't stirred my heart to do so, by going along and helping people I am actually responding to a call that God has placed on my heart.

That comforts me because often I feel like I am not really involving God an awful lot at all. Like a lot of Christians I struggle with "quiet time", I find it so hard to just sit myself down in solitude and meditate, right now I am spending so much time studying the Bible I forget to pray and when I relax I go wall climbing and bouldering and don't really leave myself enough time for quiet time. But here's something I realized, some of the most spiritual times I have are when I go climbing, especially when I go climbing on my own; it's in there that I really just chill out with God and enjoy the common grace of being able to climb, I pray about climbing, I thank God for climbing, I thoroughly enjoy whacking my iPod onto some Holy Hip Hop, some Worship or even a sermon and just hit the wall for a couple of hours. Again, this is something I could talk about for ages (another time...perhaps?) I just wanted to throw a thoughts out this evening.

I think quiet time and meditation is important, but I think we can totally enjoy that personal relationship with God wherever we are, whatever we're doing, and EVEN when we're having fun. We just gotta stop being religious and love being with Him, start knowing that He loves us, live like He loves us and walk in His presence =] Here's a verse to wrap it up:

What does the Lord require of you? To act justly, love mercy and to walk humbly with your God
-Micah 6:8

One last thought for tonight; I had a day dream about turning a room of my house into a bouldering cave. I had a look online for that kind of thing and found this immense picture:

How awesome does that look!

Anyways, I'm gonna jet and get this "early night" ball rolling.

Peace and love

Travel Journal.
You have probably heard it said before, or read it as a slogan on a piece of well marketed mountaineering equipment or seen it penned onto the rucksack of a fellow traveler, words to the effect of "the location doesn't matter, what matters is how you got there". Being an absolute sucker for that kind of stuff it undoubtedly resonated with the journeyman in me. This train of thought led me to thinking about...no wait, the thing I was thinking about in the first place which I am about to disclose was the train of thought which led me to the thought that I began this blog with...anyway I was thinking about those travel journals, like the ones that people have in movies; the old, faded, well traveled, well written in journals that include taped in pictures and notes, a mixture of pencil and black ink, bound with a piece of string or an elastic band (or in the movies it is "my father's journal" and it will lead them to the hidden location of the lost Inca treasure through the clues that he managed to leave hidden in the notes inside this worn but incredible aesthetically appealing book). So anyway, I want on of those.

For Bible and theology notes I keep a well kept, neatly written Moleskin. If you've not hear of Moleskin it is "the legendary notebook of Van Gogh, Hemingway, Matisse and CĂ©line" (it's ok, I've only heard of Van Gogh and Hemingway as well) and I was the chump that paid about £15 extra than a normal notebook costs for the privilege of owning such an incredible canvas for the neatly written and well articulated products of careful study. But I want to keep another one, an new one, a new one that looks old! with really rough edged pages (I wonder how on earth the pages end up looking so ragged; do you think there is a shop that sells them like that? with a genuine authentic ragged look...like Levis worn jeans?) with things stuck in and postcards and plane tickets hanging out, and random sketches and facts about places, historical information and local lores that I learned first hand from talking in the native tounge to the indigenous peoples of...somewhere or other. I have such a book...but an empty one, I think it is time to start writing in it, everything and anything.

Yes. I am resolved to it. It will begin!

Highlight of the day.
hitting Birmingham with Ben
Just kicking back and watching the OC
Musing about starting a travel journal (even though I've made no plans to do any actual traveling)

Peace out y'all


I thought somebody had to say something/
if not the populous would continue to walk in silly assumptions/
so I wrote this in the hopes of provokin’/
kids to study the scripts before the word is spoken//
DnA; Stephen the Levite

Where did the Bible come from?
aight, let's explore the background a little bit. This morning as I went to the Bible I brought myself to explore a question that has bugged me for a while but that I have never looked into and that is: what is the Bible? Where did it come from? Who put it together? How was it decided what gets included and what doesn't? How can I trust the words of the book that I hold here in my hands (ok, so that is a whole bunch of questions). So let's unpack this a little bit...

ok, first off; the early Christians did not have the book The Bible that we read today, there was no ESV, no NLT and no NIV (perhaps that was for the better...ooooooh no Chris, don't go there). The final contents of the Bible as a complete package was agreed on around 400AD.

"...in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians." (Acts 11:26).

So when the early Christians would talk about the scriptures they were talking about the Hebrew scriptures which we know today as The Old Testement. In talking about the Old Testement they most likely sung Psalms, studied the prophets to see how they pointed to the Jesus and told stories and shared memories of Jesus, His life and His teachings, passing on these memories from group to group.
After time had passed the church had grown but the original eyewitnesses started to die so people began to write down their own personal accounts of events, drawing on their own memories and observations of. These then became the Gospels.

So these are just memories? How can we trust that they are accurate accounts and not subject to the writers own interpretation of events?
[A] There are a couple of verses that help us along with this one. The first is in John; Jesus is talking to the disciples, He promises them that the Holy Spirit would help them remember the words that He had spoken "These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you" (John 14:25-26).
The second verse (which I refer to a lot) is more one that requires faith for the scriptures: "All scripture is breathed out by God..." (2 Timothy 3:16). If the question is "how can I trust the accounts of these men when when they are human and imperfect and liable to make mistakes?" then the answer in light of this verse is: if all scripture is breathed out by God then you can trust that he guided those whom he elected to write the scriptures to write them without error. Also, if we are approaching scripture under the presumption that our God is a promise keeping God then when He promises in John 14 that He will send the Holy Spirit to help the disciples in their remembrance of Jesus' words then we can be sure that the Holy Spirit guided them as they wrote their accounts.

So, at the same time that the Gospels were being written, leaders such as Paul, Peter and John were writing letters to churches offering spiritual advice and helping to solve problems. These letters were collected, copied and passed around the early church. Eventually the gospels and the letters were brought together to form the New Testament.
The early church decided what should be in the Bible. This is how they did it; they would look for writings that were attributed to the apostles or people who were closely associated with Jesus. Church leaders drew up their own lists of recommended reading. It is important that a group of church leaders were doing this and it is also important that they were in fact church leaders because at that time some people had started circulating fake gospels and acts that were full of weird teachings and false doctrines.
Finally in 376AD, Bishop Athanasius wrote to the churches in his region listing what he considered to be "Holy Scripture". His list was eventually confirmed by two councils; one in Rome in 382AD and one in Carthage in 397AD and this is the New Testament that we read today.

Oh and just so you know; the word "Testament" means promise. So, paraphrased; the Old Testament tells the story of God's promise to the Israelites and the New Testament tells of His promise to all people.

This has been a real learning curve for me today. It seemed like a good idea to get some background knowledge on the origins of the book by which I live my life. A couple of books that I found helpful in researching this topic are: Nick Page's Explorer's Notes and Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology (read the section on The Word of God). Because I'm no genius, everything I know comes from reading someone's book; I'm just so thankful to God that there are some people who have studied the scriptures so much and written books that help us to understand His word with such ease and accessibility.

Anyways, rinsed I am.

Peace and Love.


In the midst of the darkness, Lord give us your heart/
the world‘s quenchin' the spark that you’ve given us/
please rekindle the light so we can minister life/
to all the sinister types, tryin’ to live it up//
Spark; Stephen the Levite

Here is something that God has really laid on my heart recently. The importance of knowing scripture. It seems to be something that has become quite forgotten in the church in this day and age but at the same time it seems to be something that is being screamed out for. Even now as I get stuck into the Word and begin to understand more of it I am thinking back to things that I thought and said only a year ago that I now distance myself having learned more about God's word.

Having been convicted to know the truth of Bible I have started to take a very systematic approach to studying scripture and have found it to be such an incredible way of learning about God's word and also how to live it out in everyday life, after all, that is the purpose of having a Bible - so that we can live in the way that we are instructed to by our Father in Heaven.
So, if you're wondering what Systematic Theology is:

"Systematic theology is any study that answers the question, "What does the whole Bible teach us today?" about any given topic"

-Wayne Grudem (cf. Professor John Frame)

It knowing the balanced (not compromised) view of the whole of scripture. I think it would be so amazing if the whole of God's church just knew, understood and lived the doctrines of scripture. It feels like Western Christianity has attached this stigma to "sound doctrine", misinterpreted it for legalism and consequently separated it more and more from their Christian lives, adopting a mentality which is contrary to scripture and believes "we don't need doctrine, we just need more of the Holy Spirit". Something that a lot of people seem to miss (and I include myself in this, for I have been a Christian most of my life and until this year have never thought to pick up my Bible) is that scripture (all scripture) is the infallible word "breathed out by God" (2 Timothy 3:16). Simply, the Bible is a letter from God to us instructing us how to live. Just as an aside; if God sent a personally addressed letter to you, wouldn't you want to read it? Or even, wouldn't you be so excited about it that nothing in the world could stop you from reading it and living in the way that it instructed you to? I think that is how we should approach the Bible.

"This book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you are to meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it" (Joshua 1:8)

From this verse alone it seems that there is a clear command in the Bible to know the Bible. Simply, the importance of knowing what the whole Bible teaches us is so that we can live our lives accordingly. The word of God in the Bible is unchanging, therefore knowing the steadfast truth within it safeguards us from being "like children tossed to and fo and carried about by every wind of doctrine" (Ephesians 4:14). I could probably talk for ages about this (another time. Perhaps lol) but I do want to make one thing very solemnly, soberly clear about how God wants us to approach scripture...


Psalm 119:18 says "Open my eyes, that I may behold the wondrous things out of your law". I think that when we really allow ourselves to actually want to study the Bible and when we allow God to speak to us through it and consequently live in accordance with it, our understanding and living of the scriptural doctrines will be one of our greatest joys.

So, get stuck into the Word, have fun with it, enjoy it. Approach it with the presumption that (1) it is true, and is our only absolute standard of truth and (2) that the God who is spoken of in the Bible exists, and that He is who He says he is: the Creator of heaven and earth and all things in them (Wayne Grudem).

Peace and Love.


Sunday Afternoon.
St Tom's does a lot of work down in an area of Sheffield called Firvale with groups of Slovakian gypsies. Yesterday after church the opportunity came up to go down spend a couple of hours working with the some of the Slovakian children. My initial reaction was to decline, I'm usually so awkward round children and have no idea what to say or how to act in a way that is fun for them and no to ridiculous for me. But I really felt a gentle nudge from God to just put that reason aside (it isn't really a good enough reason to not do something, especially if you are doing it for God) so I resolved to go. I prayed about it on the way down and God really blessed the time we spend there. During this time of year most of the gypsies go back to Slovakia (the general pattern is that they are only here for the winter and then they return home for the summer months) so we thought that no-one would turn up at all and it was really hanging in the balance whether they would go down or not. But in the end they did and after hanging in the balance myself (I think I am using that phrase in context...) I decided to go down as well and just have faith that God would make me of use. In the end about 7 or 8 kids showed up which was a miracle considering we weren't expecting anyone to show up at all.

When we got down there, and the area is quite a bit different to the area we live in, a lot more police sirens going off and generally more run down (coming from Birmingham it wasn't too much of a shock). The church we met in was an old, large methodist church with one or two boarded up windows with holes from where thrown rocks had shattered the glass ("please let those be only be rock holes in the window" was my immediate thought). Anyway so that is a brief description of the area. Meeting the kids was amazing. Having never done kids work at church or anything I didn't really know what to expect but as soon as we just started playing ball with the kids and seeing them have a good time there were genuine moments where I would thrown back tears as I realized just how much Jesus loves these children and wants good things for them. My heart was so quickly overwhelmed with love for them myself that I couldn't help deciding that I wouldn't mind giving up more Sunday afternoons to this kind of work.

We spent some time playing different games with the kids and generally just having a good time. We took some time during the time to do a drama for them to show them about God's love for everyone and then played more games with them before finishing. The time there spent with these kids was amazing.

Ultimately, what urged me to go yesterday afternoon (along with the gentle nudge from from Spirit) was thinking on what was said at church in the morning. The sermon was about the last chapter of John (21) where Jesus talks to Peter about love for Christ, feeding, tending to and looking after His sheep and I was just reflecting on the importance for us to show love to people in our lives and if we claim to love Jesus then that necessarily means showing love to all of God's children as Jesus loves them. Yesterday was an open door for me to practice that and see just how much He loves and cares for all of us. I learned so much just by being there and my passion for people has just grown so much over the last day, I'm now considering more seriously volunteering at Soul Survivor and just helping out in whatever way they need for that week. Even my passion for China now has an added something something since yesterday afternoon. I can only think that God wanted me to learn something useful yesterday =]

Peace and Blessings everyone.

[btw. after listening through the Stephen the Levite album a few more times I've come to flippin' love it. great album]


My initials are C.J.H. BA(B)
The BA(B) stands for:

Bachelor of Arts BABY!

That's right, my results just came through online. The three years is finished and I'm graduating with Honours!

Get In!


Random Musings

I'm home for a few days doing a few things; clearing my parents loft (that's why I'm back), gathering my thoughts, reading my Bible and watching Mark Driscol sermons online.

I was in the CLC bookstore the other day - oh yeah, I'm applying to work there as a volunteer during my Form year, I am still looking for work and will continue to do so even after the course starts but I have been blessed to have been given full funding for the Form year so if I don't find work, it is taken care of, God has blessed me so much in my financial life recently, He is just incredible - so I was in the CLC bookstore checking out the music section and my eye fell on a free flyer that was lying on the table, it looked kinda cool and Chinese and so naturally I was drawn to it. What the flyer was about was a new album bought out by Mark Tedder who is the worship leader at Spring Harvest. The album is called The Door and it is the first live worship album to ever be recording in China. I looked it up and have been reading a bit about the project online. Bascially, against really tough restriction from the government and constant threats to shoot the whole things down and consistent denied permission the recording went ahead. It is so incredible to see God break through in such a suppressed society. I love reading about the different ways that God is breaking through in China. Government stats report that are about 21 million Christians in China (that's 16 million Protestants and 5 million Catholics), unofficial figures estimate that number to be 70 million but an 'under the radar' and more accurate figure estimates that there are 130 million Christians in persecuted China. Considering that the communist party membership is 74, that means that there are more Christians than Communists in China. The real Christian movement in China is underground but it is spreading like wild fire, it excites me so much when I read about a place that has tried to keep Jesus out not being able to stop the Holy Spirit from bursting through the door and over the threshold. As I think about the possibility of me moving out to China in a years time I can't help thinking more and more that I would love be involved with getting the message of Jesus spread wider out there. It is certainly something I will be giving a lot of thought and prayer to this year whilst I do Form.

Training? Yeah, so I started this blog, in part, to keep a track of my training and diet as a working progress. My diet has been slowing improving to a good level, my sugar and general rubbish intake has gone down considerably and has been replaced my a much more balanced diet though the problem I have faced at the moment is that I am not eating quite enough so that is the next thing t work on. As for actual training I have put on a bit of a hold over the past few days; I did something to my wrist the other day but I'm not sure what, I just haven't been able to put any pressure on it or lift anything with it for the last few days. I'm not sure how I did it but I did quite a few things that day; climbing, lifting boxes in our new house, parkour at night, they're all likely suspects so pick the coolest of those activities to blame the injury on. It has been feeling better today and I can move it much more freely but I'm going to be sensible with it for a few more days I think.

Internet Umbrella
I love finding out what is going on in Japanese technology because there is always some mental new gadget that will get big in Japan then sooner or later hit the shelves over seas. More often than not it is something we don't really need but it's usually something impressive to see. So the most recent product, created by two graduate students at Keio University is an Internet Umbrella. The umbrella acts as a photo browser displaying pictures from the internet as you walk along, it contains a projector in the handle which displays the images on the underside of the umbrella. As well as the projector the handle also includes a camera, a motion sensor, a GPS and a digital compass (so at least you'll never get lost), so there's a fair amount of technology packed into that one small handle, usually the best you can get is one of those buttons in the handle that deploys the umbrella quickly (but not always safely) off a spring load mechanism, it's cool, but it's no GPS. The Umbrella is called Pileus...in English that means "head of a mushroom"...neat huh.

Stephen the Levite
...haha, yeah, pending. I did listen through the album yesterday and today. It is taking a bit of time get into it. In fact, I'm even a little disappointed with it but I'm gonna keep listening because I know it is a good album. The guy speaks the truth.
It's definitely not as easy a listen as The Atonement but there are some great tracks on there and some real hard stuff to chew on. Favourite tracks probably include: BnA (part B), ...To Die is Gain, Soundtrack to My Life, RnA and Disconnected (feat. Shai Linne).
I think next on the list will be Timothy Brindle - the Great Awakening

Anyway, till next time
Peace and Love

(oh yeah, the Guardian mug smashed. It's a sad story)


Yeeeahyeah Hip Hop Holy, Rep Rap, Street...apples! You feel me?

I just got Stephen the Levite's 'To Die is Gain' on download. I'll get a review in when I've given it a proper listen through.

Check the sampler here.