Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A very tolerant Christmas to you... or not?

A tolerant Christmas to you... or not?

Somebody said to me
only this week
tolerance was the thing that we needed.
That above other things
to bring peace to our world
tolerance for all must be heeded.

But can that be right?
I ask of you all
on this Christmas day 2013.
Does being tolerant help
with the clashes we'll face
doesn't it merely help keep our nose clean?

To tolerate someone
no matter their quirks
is to put up with whatever they do.
But do you want to be
the one to 'put up with' me
In all that I hold dear and true?

A tolerant Christmas?
That I couldn't wish,
as I'm sure there are things we believe
that just aren't compatible
and might well lead to battles
forcing one of us to up and leave.

No, a tolerant Christmas
I can't wish to you
I refuse to put up with you now.
Instead, I will love you
and draw you in close.
To you I shall not just say, "Ciao!"

Though there are times
when we will disagree
Instead of just tolerating you,
I'll stand by your side
and seek to understand
The important things that make you, you.

I love you, my friend,
no matter your spots
or spots as some perceive them to be.
For in truth, we're quite spotty
or stripy, but not plain
Inside we're the same, agreed?

So this Christmas, my friend,
I'll not tolerate you
Whatever you choose to believe.
Instead, I shall love you
and learn more of you
To you, a very loving post Christmas eve.


Thursday, December 12, 2013

The dark before the dawn

In the dark before the dawn,
I sit
I wonder
I wait
The water pipes creak and ping
in an odd counter rhythm to the clock's ticking
The fridge gently drones on, cooling my food
with a quiet whom, whom, whom
I sit
I lift
I sip
I wonder
My mind zigzags across today
What'll happen?
What'll I do?
What will go right or wrong?
My brow furrows.
What will go wrong?
Washing up lies like silent statues
Looming by the sink
If I blink, will they disappear?
Lots to do
Much to be done
This is the dark before the dawn
My fears and worries assail me
The day seems so big and dark and fearful.
How can I see it through in this palpable dark?
It threatens to overwhelm me
Take me
and drag me into it.
The darkness leers at me.
"What can you do?" it seems to ask
Then at the window.
A slither of light
A lightening of the darkness
A band of grey beneath the sea of black
I don't see the shadows anymore
I'm transfixed by this new light.
The horizon lightens further
shadows hiss and flee before it.
Beneath the tallest buildings, darkness tries to hide.
It dives behind hedgerows and sneaks inside sheds
The sky begins to burn
Darkness is scattered to the tiniest corners,
my fears along with it.
The dawn has come
light has banished the dark.
It was just darkness
The playing of my fears in a mind with no light.
Daylight fills my eyes
Warmth hits my face
and for the first time today I begin to smile.
The dark before the dawn it over
Light has banished the darkness
and so I begin my day,
the sun risen high in the sky.


Sunday, December 08, 2013

Another weekend

Another weekend flies on by
The hours are drawing on
Soon I'll wake up to Monday's cry
A new day hits anon
Friends we've seen and things we've done
Though more we wish we'd had,
If time could be remade, undone,
Could more seconds be made?
So much achieved yet more I wished
I could have made to be
Yet in life's pond I've busily fished
And prizes have come to me;
Time spent with those I love
And time to just be me
Though I might raise my eyes above
These things help make me, me
Journeys carried to and fro
To many different places
Yet these people with whom I'll always go
Are some of my favourite faces.
Money was spent and time was given
The hourglass ran dry
Yet all I gave I'd give again
To hear my special ones sigh.

Yes, another weekend's flown by
And though I'm truly shattered
I'd not swap a single moment
My family's what made it matter.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Jesus doesn't want your tweets

I sit in the auditorium with a hundred others. The person at the front is talking about this person called Jesus. I hear something that strikes me. I think to myself, "I must tweet this!"

I pull out my phone and tweet this juicy twitbit of spiritual goodness. "Other people will read this and can benefit too!" I think to myself. Feeling pleased for my little bit of Jesus twittering, I listen for the next morsel I can fire into the twittersphere.

It doesn't take long. That song I know really well come up with that line which I love. Out comes the phone mid-song and I'm tweeting spiritual goodness to the world. This time so take the chorus to think of some good hash tags to make my tweet easier to find. "There!" I think to myself as I tap the send button. "Some really encouraging stuff is out there now."

But, does Jesus really want my tweets? Does he want my catchy, bite-size nuggets of wisdom I've carefully gleaned from this morning's meeting? Does he want my fingers flying over my touch keyboard as I sing or listen?

Or instead, does my loving father just want to me to be still and listen? To say what's really on my heart? To hear what's really on his heart?  When he looks at me, does he have a heavenly tally chart for my tweets and blog posts with score cards for spirituality?

"Woah! That tweet's a definite 9! What do you think, Spirit?"
"Pfft, what's that all about?! Maximum 4, archangel Michael."

That's not my father. My father longs for me to not put up a religious show of quotes, snapshots and acts of goodness but to enjoy a relationship with Him. To be honest with him about my shortcomings. To remind myself who he is (my father) and who I am because of Jesus (his child, loved simply because I am his). 

So, does Jesus want my tweets? More than a million tweets, retweets, favourites and quotes Jesus wants a relationship with me. He wants my heart in its dirty, scarred and broken state. Why? Because he loves me. Because I am his. Because his plans for me are good, to give me a hope and a future.

And that is far, far better than a million retweets, likes favourites and quotes. This is life. This is hope. This is love.

Jesus wants me. Just the way I am. To hear my voice, for me to hear his voice and be changed from the inside out. In singing, in hearing someone talk about who he is in the bible, he wants me to engage with who he is and enjoy a relationship with him.

Tweets are helpful. Most are good. But if tweeting memorable phrases comes above our personal day-to-day relationship with God then we need to consider what is my priority here and now? How can I know him better right no?

He loves me and wants me to know him. Wow! Maybe responding to that now comes first. There's always time for tweeting later on. I don't want to waste now.


Everlasting, you don't grow tired
Though my body aches and tires.
Everlasting, you stay my strength
Power that had no depth or length.
Everlasting, your love is great
Greater than my sin-caused fate.
Everlasting, you stand by me
Walk me through each trial I see.
Everlasting, you stand as mine
A shield against the devil's lies.
Everlasting, you wait for me to call
Then gather me up whenever I fall.
Everlasting, you hear my every prayer
And answer me with love care.

Everlasting, I don't understand your ways
But help me to trust you all my days.
Everlasting, sometimes I don't understand
But I know each day you hold my hand.
Everlasting, my life seem harder each day
And yet you give me strength enough today.
Everlasting, I forget who I am in you
That you gave your son to make me yours
You promise today to see me through
And arrive one day upon your shore
To be welcomed in my father's arms
Free of every thing which held me back.
Everlasting, you stand today and tomorrow
Help me to trust you in the joy and the sorrow.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Freedom forever

Oh what a saviour!
Freedom forever!
Freedom from guilt of the things that I do
Freedom to trust you in all that you've done
Freedom from fear of the life yet to come
Freedom to trust you through all you have done
Freedom to wake with a joy in y heart
Freedom to live life with a bright new start
Freedom to stand when all around falls down
Freedom to stand upon your solid ground
Freedom from worry of today's uncertainties
Freedom to cling to you in your certainties
Freedom from apathy, life just part lived
Freedom to love you in all that you give
Freedom in trials and freedom in pain
Freedom to ask your Spirit to make me whole again
Freedom in sonship and freedom in grace
Freedom to stand in my now rightful place
Freedom to know I shall always remain yours
Freedom to know Jesus' love holds me sure
Freedom to face the new in every
Freedom to choose every day to say,
"Freedom is mine through my saviour's blood.
All glory to Him, my sweet Jesus, God.
You hold me in freedom through your most precious life,
Your freedom draws me to call you my own.
Freedom!" I cry with renewed voice.
Now, in his freedom, my Jesus my choice,
"Freedom in Him!" is the cry of my broken heart,
And in Jesus He frees me to enjoy His bright and shining, joyful and invigorating, tear-flowing and peace filled
New start.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

A poppy pinned

A poppy pinned

Poppies in a grassy field are seen,
In Flanders' wide and tortured fields.
Splotches of red upon a sea of green,
Remind us of those who did not yield,
But chose to stand against the flood
Of forces poised to steal our peace
And even scared, stood firm so we
Could live lives free of tyranny.

But that was years ago, say you.
Tell me it straight, what did they do?

They stood beneath the field of war
In trenches dug with sweat covered hands
They stood for neither rich or poor
But for every child, woman, man
They are the cries of friends and foes
Thrown down upon that muddy waste
Barbed wire stood where grass had once
Yet all of this they chose to taste.
Upon the bugle's rally cry
They mounted ladders slick with rain
And charged, those brave men, their's to try
To buy our freedom through their crimson stain.
Now near one hundred years ago
On Flanders' fields they took their stand.
Many gave their lives to show
That evil could not take our land.
So stand with them upon this day
Free to live your lives in peace
A poppy pinned to stake our thanks
For men and women and died for you and me.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Delighted in me!

This poem came to my mind as I read 2 Samuel 22. David's just been delivered from all his enemies and in his triumphal prayer of thanks God, he says,

"In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I called.
From his temple he heard my voice and my cry came to his ears."
"He bought me to a broad place; he rescued me because he felighef in me."

Not out of duty, but out of lovery and delight. This poems comes out of these verses.

Delighted in me!

I called out my voice
In my deepest despair
And my voice carried up
To his throne and his ear.
He heard my voice calling he heard my heart's cry
And out of his love
Comfort could not deny

Delighted in me!
Delighted in me!
My God and my saviour
Delighted in me!

When still unaware
Of the state of my soul
Of my deepest disgrace
Of my need to be whole
He sought out this sinner
And made him his son
He paid for my sins
Even every one!

Delighted in me!
Delighted in me!
My God and my saviour
Delighted in me!

When one day he comes
With the trumpeter's peal
And all earth sees clearly
His glory revealed
He'll look to his children
And welcome them home
We'll reign with him then
For one reason alone.

Delighted in me!
Delighted in me!
My God and my saviour
Delighted in me!

Sunday, August 04, 2013

At the foot of the cross

At Formacion 2013 we've had times to reflect in silence. Time just to be still before God  and listen. This poem started forming during the time of singing before we headed into our reflection time and then continued into it. It's very honest and quite personal. I think these are the most honest poems as they show you your heart and mind. They're like a window in. This poem is both mine and everyone's. Everyone's welcome at the cross of Jesus.

At the foot of the cross

At the foot of the cross I lay my fear
All those worries that I hold so near
For he listens as he holds me dear
And calms my troubled heart.

At the foot of the cross lay my dreams
all things I'd hope to be
For he knows the plans he has for me
And I know those plans are good.

At the foot of the cross I lay my pride
Those selfish thoughts I keep inside
Your cross shows a servant side
To the person you want me to be.

At the foot of the cross I lay heart
In all its broken, battered parts.
You gather up the broken, Lord
And restore them in your love.

At the foot of the cross I lay my sin
These blood-stained rags I'm living in
And watch your son put them onto him
Making me whiter than snow.

At the foot of the cross I kneel, my king
My only plea is that of Him
Who died to buy this sinner free
Would cover every sin of me.

At the foot of the cross I stand once more
As a child of the living God restored,
My eyes are fixed on the heavenly goal,
Oh, sweet, sweet Jesus you've made me whole.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

What can I say?

This poem came out of a word someone brought this morning at church. It's simply a reflection about what I've come to know about what Jesus has done and what that means. It just leaves me thinking, What can I say?!

What can I say?
What can I say
My new-found friend?
What can I say
'bout the God who sends
His son to change
The state I'm in?
To make me free
From a weight of sin?
I'll tell you what
I've come to know
Then have a think
Is this what you know?

You took an accused
You made me free
You paid my dues
And ransomed me.

You gave me life
At your great cost,
Gave your son
To save the lost,

Stepped into this fetid pool
And purified its waters

Took all my sin,
Bore it for me,
Carried it all
To Calvery.

You chose me first,
Gave up your rights,
Held legions of angels
From their saving flight,

Took all that sin
that stained my soul
And bore it on the cross
To make me whole.

So, what can I say
To the thing that you did?
What can I say
To the choice that you made?
What can I say
to a father's love?
What can I say
To the price that you paid?

But thank you, dear father,
Thank you my king,
Thank you sweet Jesus
For giving everything.

For choosing this sinner
In spite of my stain.
For enabling this stray
To become your child again.

For making a bridge
'cross the chasm-like pit.
For holding my hand
As I crossed over it.

For welcoming home
With wide open arms
This one who was bought
By those nail-scarred palms.

Oh yes, I will say,
And cry out in song
That the thing that I craved
Was you all along.

You made me complete,
You'll see me on through
& you'll guide me each day
'til I come home to you.

So, what can I say?
My friend, simply this.
My God reached out to me
And gave one saving kiss.

Now knowing what I know,
I leave it to you.
What will you say
As he reaches to you?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The rainbow fox

The idea for the rainbow fox came from Tanya's twitter feed today:

What is the rainbow fox, you might ask?  This is the rainbow fox.

The rainbow fox
Have you ever wondered
about the blueness of the sky?
Or the scented rose's redness?
Have you stopped and wondered, why?
Why are colours all so vivid?
Why's the world not black and white?
Well, today do choose to look and see
The world's most marvellous sight.

The rainbow fox my friend is out!
He touches every flower he sees,
from the tiniest of daisies
to the most towering trees.

He skips among the children's clothes
and dots between the shops
and all the while he smiles his smile
as colour waves he drops.

His tail is like a burning fire
all oranges and reds.
And crowned on top in crimson flame
stands his majestic head.

His eyes are deepest pools of ink
each darkest shades of blue.
But if you look more closely
there are others colours too.

His paws are striped bright green and gold
like emeralds flecked with light
each blade of grass he graces leaps
and dances in their light.

His body, oh that glorious sight!
changes all throughout the day
From orange with the rising sun
to purple late in day.

Keep your eyes open and you'll see
a glimpse of foxie's art.
From the yellow in your cornflakes
to the greenest leafy park.

Each sunset graced by foxie's tail,
is laced with goldish tones
and when that chariot meets the sea
he sits his golden throne.

So now you see, my new-found friend
the colours all around
are the rainbox fox's finest work
our master artist, found.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Couldn't give life

Couldn't give life

Sometimes I think I'm the giver
The supporter, the sustainer,
The shoulder to lean on,
The listening ear.

I can give life

I can ease pain
I can make it better.
I'll listen to your problems
I'll carry you through
When your feet won't carry you
When you stumble and cry
I'll steady you.

I'll give you life.

I'll lend you my legs
My hands and my feet
My heart and my mind
If it will help.
My time and my energy,
Ideas and creativity,
All that I am I give.

Can I give life?
Is it mine to give?

I can give my friends all of me
But I can't give you life.
Every ounce of me I can give,
Down to the last molecule of hope

But life I cannot give.
It is not mine to dish out
Though at times I wish I could.

It is someone better's to give,
Someone more loving, more caring
He can give his friends life.
It is his to give.

If you were offered life
Would you say yes?

Sunday, May 05, 2013


I know I can try and do things myslf. In fact, I really like to. I like to be in control and know what's happening. I like crafting my own life. But in fact, God reminds me that it's his nail-scarrd hands that want to fashion me, change me and mould me into somehing more beautiful, more loving, more like Him. This poem is about hands.


I created my life with hands of steel
I chose to stand and never kneel
Though I kept my hand on the driver's wheel
I easily lost my way.

I created my life with hands of silk
My problems slid by, they held no ilk
But I never cared enough to milk
The best of every day.

I created my life with hands of stone
I held onto all that I could own
I succeeded in life, but cold and alone
No-one ever stayed for long.

Then He crafted my heart with hands of love
Each sharp, rough edge he smoothed away
He took these hands that loved to craft
An taught them simply how to hold.

He took these hands and held them close,
Enfolded in a Father's palms
He taught this restless heart to calm
To love to walk, hand in hand,
Now together we stand.

Now he shapes my heart and crafts my life,
Though hese hands do itch to work
I'd rather follow the craftsman's lead
And see justs how he works.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Has anything changed?

Has anything changed?

Let me tell you the truth.
My child, don't you see?
Everything changed
When you came back to me.
Your old past forgotten,
Your old mind renewed,
Your future is certain
Now I live in you.
Your fears have no power,
Your security is me,
You're never alone
As forever you'll be
My dear one, my child,
The love of my heart.
You'll stumble and wander
But never depart
From the love that I showed you,
On that rough, rugged cross,
As I bought and I ransomed
Your soul at my cost.
I freed you forever
From doubt and despair,
From negative self-image
And that mask that you wear.
Look now in the mirror,
Look close and you'll see
That the person you see there
Is loved full by me.
You asked me what's changed?
Remember, and you'll see
That everything changed
When you came back to me.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Love came down

Love came down

Lost in myself
Adrift in me
Loveless and unloved
Though many claimed so.
And some did
In their own way.
Some more than others
Others not at all.
Lost in the flow
Of me and myself.
Unable to steer
A useless rudder,
This stone heart in me.
It cannot change my course.
These oars move nothing
My strength but a breath in the wind,
I was dragged by the torrent
Down towards the falls.
But love came down.
Love melted this rock
That used to be my heart
For the first time
It began to beat
And love flooded this body.
I took my hands off the oars
I knew I could do no more.
His was my strength.
His was my love.
And I began to turn
Into the current.
Others called out
I was crazy, insane,
Unrealistic, wasting my strength.
But I replied it wasn't mine,
I was leant more by another
And I would pull against the current.
I would dig my oars
And cut a new course.
I would follow the wake of another
Who'd ploughed these waters before.
He had made it,
Back to the source
And I would follow.
I would pull against the flow
Knowing I was too weak
To overcome the pull myself
But He,
Oh He,
His strength would be enough.
His love would be enough
Even for me
For this unloved,
For this despised by me,
His love would be enough.
For He was love.
And I looked upstream
And saw His boat,
Ploughing a furrow
Through the choppy waters
And his wake beckoned to me
It reached to me
And it reached right to the falls.
All could turn
and lay down their oars
Before picking them up again,
Not out of necessity
But out of thankfulness
And pure, unadulterated joy.
The journey would take a lifetime,
Yet that rest at the end
Oh hat rest would be sweet!
For there He stood
At journey's end,
Smiling and beckoning to me,
To me!
He waits for me,
His love always enough.
Even for me.
And so I dug my oars
In such sweet joy
And pulled upstream and onwards,
Eyes fixed on my sweet, sweet Jesus.
He was waiting for me,
And I'd see Him soon.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Encourage the good

You know that child, don't you? The one in your class that sometimes gives you a headache just thinking about them. The one the other adults talk down when they're not around. Every classroom has one, right? Some of you may be thinking 'only ONE?!'

'Encourage the good wherever you find it.'

Easy words to palm off or throw away.

This struck me freshly last week and does every day with my class.  With my friends.  With my colleagues.  With my wife.

Sometimes I feel like I'm tuned to the negative things around me.  They're easy to see, because I am a fallen creation.  I have fallen short of perfect standards and I like to point out other people are down at my level.

I can see the imperfect in everyone.  Just ask me and I can think of something.

'Encourage the good wherever you find it.'

But my children need to be shown they have potential.  They need to be reminded when they slip up that I love them.  That I care for them.  That they belong.  For 8 hours from Monday to Friday they are mine.  My children.  Mine to care for.  Mine to nurture.  Mine to encourage.  Mine to lift up when they call themselves rubbish.  Mine to wipe the tears from when a child hits them out of frustration.  Mine to stand with as they rage against things and feelings they don't understand.  Mine to listen to and learn.

'Encourage the good wherever you find it.'

And these people around me, my friends, colleagues, family, wife.  These are people precious to me.  And far more to my loving Father.  Yet I knock them down with my eyes.  With my words.  With my actions.  With my inaction in coming to their aid.

These people are precious to me.  Entrusted to me.  Brought alongside me to encourage and bolster, lift up and enable to soar.

'Encourage the good wherever you find it.'

This is a choice I must make.  Yet when I look at myself I know I have no encouragement.  I am selfish.  I serve myself.  Without love, my words tear down.  Yet He is love.  Here is love, vast as the ocean.  Here is my Father, waiting to give me love enough for them.  For the child I find a challenge to teach.  For the colleague I don't know how to speak to.  For the family member who makes me roll my eyes.  Here is love enough for them.  And love enough for myself.  Especially myself.

'Encourage the good wherever you find it.'

And I see the effect of choosing to see the good.  Their eyes are brightened, their attitude changed, their mind opened to see their great potential, lifted from the miasma of self-pity and mental degradation.  Here in a culture of encouragement the enemy has no hold on them.

They know their worth.  They know they are loved.  They know they belong.

And in that they will know His love.  And they will be changed.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Poem: A simple meal

Just a piece of bread,
Or is it something more?
A sip of red wine,
Or a more significant picture?
I tell you I've eaten good foods
A lover of tastes and flavours
That's me.
I love to cook and taste
And nibble and savour
Every morsel and every flavour.
But each was only a bite
A small offering to my rumbling belly.
But each bite of bread,
Thr smallest crust with my family
Reminds me of what you did, Jesus.
How you gave your body for me.
To be scourged and beaten
And nailed to a tree.
And that wine, tangy and sometimes sweet,
Maybe ribena for some tastes.
Each is good and perfect
In the picture it shares.
As Jesus hung up there for me,
His life dripping from him,
He turned to God and simply said
'Forgive them, they don't understand
What they've done.'
And then to a thief,
'Today you'll be with me.'
And not in the grave, but paradise.
In one mind it's a simple snack,
A bite of bread and a sip of the red stuff.
But to me and my family it reminds,
It moves and encourages.
It says I'm not alone, that I'm loved,
That my efforts aren't enough,
But Jesus' were and always will be.
That I am those people watching,
Yet also the thief, who joined Jesus that day.
It reminds me I am His,
a child cherished by an extravagent father.
It reminds me that my troubles are worth it,
That he knows them,
understands them,
Stands with me through them,
Cries with me when I cry,
Smiles when I laugh.
This is my God, my sweet Jesus.
He knew me as I really am
Yet still chose to die for me
So I could rejoin the family
And know his love, purpose and joy.
This simple meal, just a bite and a drink
Reminds me I'm His,
And forever.