Monday, August 03, 2015

A story's tale

Endless landscapes at your fingertips
Stretch from page to page
Adventures jump like firework sparks
On each new story's stage.
Terror and the unknown wait
On each new line to come.
But what will each new story hold
By the time that it is done?
Turn leaf by leaf as tales unwind
Like wisps of smoke they twine
With words, they they paint a masterpiece
Upon your canvas of your mind.
From new-bent spine to last creased page,
Fresh mysteries await
A patient turning finger
Guides you through each character's fate.
So, take a book between your hands,
Turn pages oft well-read
And join each book's adventures
In the landscape of your head.

Sunday, August 02, 2015


New poem from worship in our international service at church this morning!


Lord, it is so good to meet together!
Brothers, sisters here together
Sinners all come broke together
Old and young, we're here together
From all nations here together
Called into one call together
Walking the same path together
Daily messing up together
Daily knowing grace together
Calling on our God together
Holding onto faith together
Learning of our king together
Letting voices sing together
But never on our own, just no,
We're made to meet this God we know
Loneliness is not your way to go
Through you, community's what we're brought to know
Coming on our knees together
Coming honestly together
Hungry hearts come feast together
Cold and worn out hearts, come warm yourself with us, together
By the fireside of his love
Through the promise of that holy dove
That we are His alone forever
Destined for his side together
So, my friends let's come near together
Meeting with our God together,
Knowing him afresh together
Looking forward to the great forever
When we will all come together
As his children, for you, my friends, in Jesus, are his forever.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Who are you working for?

I was struck yesterday morning in church that, as a congregation, we have a lot of different jobs.  Some of us run small businesses, others are teachers or work with young people.  Some of us are full time mums or dads, others are elders.  Last week, the verse in Colossians 3:23 stuck in my mind:

23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

Recently, I've been finding work particularly hard because of the pressures involved. However, knowing that I'm in this job to primarily glorify God changes the way I view today.  It reminds me that my worth's not measured by my performance at work but by the fact that Jesus died for me; and because of that, that I'm his child.  I'm so thankful that, as the verse says, I'm serving Jesus and not my work.  I'm thankful that my work doesn't define me.  I'm thankful that Jesus' righteousness if sufficient for me.  If it weren't, I've have no chance.  I'd be serving one master or another - as a teacher, most like work - and burning out becomes a real danger.

Yet, Jesus says to 'work heartily' - how? - as working for him.  Matthew 11:28-30 says:

28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

I've found that bringing my work to him changes my attitude towards it.  It doesn't lessen the responsibilities or the pressures but it changes why I'm doing it.  It puts my work in perspective and reminds me that my loving, heavenly father's over it.

Out of all the above, a poem came to me in today in church.  Here it is:

I wonder how you see your work today.
Is it joy, or pain, maybe mindless drudgery?
But, know today God's placed you where you are
That, through your service, folk may be set free!

To you, running small businesses, take heart,
For, he has given you these to bring him fame,
to serve the folk your business caters for
and, through the way you run it, glorify his name.

To you who teach the youngest to the old,
giving hours of time I've given to get it right,
Take heart that I am your defining worth
and through your love shine to your kids my light.

To you who work with hands the things so many need,
though some think these tasks bring little fame,
work in all you do as serving me
for each care-laid brick, wooden beam and twice-checked wire
brings glory to my name.

To you who work with people each and every day,
Serving their needs & giving all you have,
keep your eyes fixed on him as you give of yourself
as Jesus did, just like his heavenly dad.

For, whatever your do, work with whole heart,
as for the Lord and not for men,
knowing his inheritance will be your reward
when he returns and all raise the amen!

So, church, you are not made to work,
but, through whatever gifts he's given you, bring him praise
for, work cannot define you, church, but this,
his cleansing love's redeemed your every day.

So, just as Jesus followed in his father's footsteps,
crafting beautiful objects out of wood,
God calls you, where you are within your jobs
to work with all your heart,
that Jesus' worth be understood.

Each of you he's chosen, each with gifts he's given you,
that you might serve in every way with what hr's given,
that, through your live for him and whole-hearted service,
you and all are around might see, hear and know Christ risen.


Monday, June 15, 2015

Love is...

Inspired by Tanya Marlow​'s blog post, 'Love is a midnight blue towel.'

Love is...

Love is a midnight blue towel
Daily folded back up on the rail.

Love is a much loved toy rabbit
With a freshly sewn on fluffy tail.

Love is a slow drying pile
Of dishes stacked up on the side.

Love is a fresh cup of coffee or tea
Which you didn't asked for, placed beside.

Love is an evening's dreaming
About days and years yet to come.

Love is helping face together
Truths that one might shy away from.

Love is bearing together
As the tears roll down both of your faces.

Love is sometimes being the both of you
When one of you can't trade places.

Love is in tired eye bags
As milk is poured out in a cup.

Love is a sandwich bag note,
Which makes your smile turn up.

Love is a fresh cut flower,
Simply picked as a personal surprise.

Love is their looking at you,
When it's you that fills their eyes.

Love is the smell of dinner,
As you walk back home late through the door.

Love is retracing your steps,
Through the memories you knew once before.

Love is in changing your footwork,
As life changes under your feet.

Love is in taking their hand,
When walking along in the street.

Love is a soft, yellow cushion,
Which has supported you for so long.

Love is a constant companion,
Whose strength daily helps keep you strong.

Love is the glass of prosecco,
By a bubble-filled bath when you're home.

Love is a meal together,
And the one on the side if the phone.

Love is a silent bear hug,
When words are not needed at all.

Love is a long day at work,
Broken by a surprise phone call.

Love is an ever-changing thing,
Every day it's a choice that we make.

Love is a way of being,
It's what you give,
Not expecting to take.

Original blog post:

Sunday, June 14, 2015

New poem: Who am I to you?

A poem that came out of worship this morning as we began to look at who God was and what redeeming authority really means for us.

Who am I to you?

When you look on my face
as you stand here today
I wonder, what do you see?
Do you see an old man,
tattered and worn?
Is that what you think of me?

Do you see a promise
written down long ago
one that guarantees untold wealth?
Is this promise before you?
Does it fill your thoughts,
or is it tucked away up on a shelf?

When you look on my scars,
where you sin pierced me,
Does a tear well and roll down your cheek?
If not, come on back,
know the cost that I paid
to bring you fully back here to me.

As you sing these songs
and soon hear my word,
what ground shall my truth fall upon?
For the softer the ground,
the firmer the rock
underneath with you stand upon.

Am I just a song
or simply a name?
If that's what I have become,
lift your eyes to my face,
see who I truly am,
take my hand, let me bring you home.

Who am I to you, child?
Take my hand and find out,
Come near, for deep down, I know
Your every thought
All you have done
and yet, I still love you so

I loved you most
when, on the cross,
I gave up my only son
to take your place,
to die for you,
my lost, but most beloved one.

Who am I to you, child?
The truth is, I'm here;
a loving father with outstretched arms.
Come close to me,
Learn who I am
and let my love be your pain's sweetest balm.


Monday, May 25, 2015

People watching st Paddington station

People watching at Paddington station

Waiting for trains on a Monday morning
Some rush around eying up information
So many coming and so many going
As I people watch here at Paddington station.

The lady in front with the blue-blond hair
The man sat beside her with silvery streaks
Both sit with papers, the rush not their worry
A calm, quiet start to the busy, full weeks.

A tired young dad stands nearby with his kids
A baby asleep in the pram by his side
Their excitable screams fill the air with elation
While I people watch here at Paddington station

Bustling businessmen and women alike
Push black leather briefcases or satchels along
Glancing at notes, rehearsing oration
While I people watch quietly at Paddington station.

Off to the left by the underground entrance
A lady strolls up in a waving, white skirt
Her smile adds to this life sweet variation
As she saunters along through Paddington station.

Small crowds have gathered by snack bars and cafes
One last chance to fuel up before the whistle is blown
They hurry along, looks of mild frustration
As I just people watch here at Paddington station.

A cluster of backpackers stand in a group
Tube maps in hand they glance all around
Honest confusion mixed with determination
As I sit here and watch folk at Paddington station.

Holiday makers with colourful cases
Sit near my spot, awaiting their trains
From their look, a long waited, well earned vacation
As I watch them relax here at Paddington station.

Groups of the thirsty stand by snack bars and food chains
Hot beverages their refreshment of choice
Most stand by and sip, waiting outs duration
While I secretly watch them at Paddington station.

And I, when my chariot is finally announced
Board the train with regret for I love all these folk
They all pass through here, one of each in creation
'Neath the watchful eye of Paddington station


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Come to the father

A wee poem that came out of worship on Sunday.  I felt God wanted to challenge how we come to him as our father.  Do we come with hands full of good things we've done and reasons he should love us or do we come empty-handed but through Jesus his son; sufficient for us? God says to come broken and weeping, frustrated and weak, just as we are.

Come to the father

Come to the father
but how, you might say?
With good things you've done?
Nice things that you've prayed?

No, come to the father
through Jesus, his son,
great things he has taught us
great things he has done.

Come to the father
you low, broken souls,
know this is the father
who alone makes you whole

Yes, come to the father
through Jesus, his son,
great things he has taught us
great things he has done.

Come to the father,
you proud, stubborn hearts
have them broken here now,
for he fulfils your deepest part

Yes, come to the father
through Jesus, his son,
great things he has taught us
great things he has done.

Come to the father,
bring your tears and your grief.
His comforting love
is your sweetest relief

Come to the father
through Jesus, his son,
great things he has taught us
great things he has done.

Come to the father
with nothing to give
so you can receive
he who makes you live.

So, come to the father
through Jesus, his son
not by the strength
of your tired, weary hands,

But stand in the knowledge
that you are his child;
held fast by your father
through the storms rough and wild.

For when he looks on you
though he knows all your sin
he chooses not to remember
and instead smiles with love
for Jesus' blood is enough for him.


Monday, May 04, 2015

Give him the glory

Poem number two from our weekend away.  This one came out of worship when we sang 'To God be the glory'.  It made me think, 'what is God's glory?' Then, it reminded me it's who he is.  To give God the glory, is to recognise who he is and what he's done.  So, First, we need to know what he's done for us before we can give him the glory.

Give him the glory

Give him the glory
through Jesus the son
but what is his glory
but the things he has done?
Remember the truths
that you know to be true
Who our glorious Lord is
What he's done for you
Give him the glory
for he has done much
Stepped into your fight
Taken every punch
Raise a shout now out loud
For the enemy would still your voice
With lies about our father's truths
To praise him is your choice
So, lift up your voice
though weak and burdened, come,
assured, you stand before his mighty throne
Your claim, my friends
is not your perfect life
for the father looks at Christ in you
and says, "My precious child, my own."
So, give him the glory
through Jesus the son
Let your praise come from knowing
That you, through Christ, are his beloved one.


Feed your faith (with what he's done for you)

Here's the first of the 3 poems that came out of our recent weekend away at Heatree up in Dartmoor.  This poem came out of our first session together with John Groves and picks up the coldness of the barn and the coldness of our hearts when it comes to faith.

Feed your faith (with what he's done for you)

Today, you came into this coldish barn
Clad tight in jumpers, coats and scarves
Our faith, for some is like our toes, quite cold
And some of us come here only by half
But you, though cold in heart have come to him
In faith, you came for you know he provides
Like sunshine in a darkened place, he shines
With warmth to melt that stone heart deep inside
So, into waters warm and deep dive in
His love awaits the coldest, broken heart
Come, sweet, dear-loved child, come near
For he has loved you from the very start
In faith, we come today, to learn more of our Lord
to enjoy time together, friendships old and new
So, come and look upon your risen king
who, by his blood is making all things new - even you!
Feed your faith with truths about our God
that whispered lies would simply not hold sway
for he alone is out most glorious joy
He is the brightness in our day
So, stand under the waterfall of love,
torrential love that he would pour on you
Arms wide, receive all who he is once more
and feed your faith with what he's done for you


Sunday, March 08, 2015

New poem: You are beautiful to me

You are beautiful to me

When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
Are your face and your body what you want them to be?
Regardless of how the world says you look
You are beautiful to me.

Your past holds dark secrets you dare not share,
Things that you've done and had done to you.
But this is not who you are, my child
You are beautiful to me.

Your disease has stolen the strength you had,
Reduced you at times to a worn out husk,
But in my eyes that's not who you are
You are beautiful to me.

There are things which have happened which changed who you are,
Some things poisoning you deep inside.
But despite how this darkness is gripping your heart
You are beautiful to me.

Your beauty's not measured by the shape of your form
Nor the dark things that altered your life
Because I am your father, I see who you are,
And you are beautiful to me.

So, when looks are the thing that fills your mind
Or what's happening dominates your thoughts
Know beyond doubt that you are my child
And you are most beautiful to me.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Beneath the veneer

New Poem: Beneath the veneer

Beneath the veneer
I see the cracks
Long, deep gouges reaching deep
Great, dark ravines
Slicing through
The fair-set surface others see
Beneath the veneer
I choose to look
The surface not enough for me
I want to know the truthful face
Beneath the soft veneer
Beneath the jagged cracks
Is delicate beauty
Cautious love
And tender hope
I shall give my love
My time
My patience and care
To mend their cracks
I choose to know them,
Each wartorn crack
And weathered cut
With love I'll fill them
So scars still show
They'll always show
But bound by love
Those wounds will ache no more

Thanks to Donald Daly for his original blog post which inspired the poem. I'll post the link when I find it!

Sunday, February 08, 2015

A call to worship (Remind us)

A call to worship to say together as a group, church or on your own.

We come here cold
Lord, remind us of your love
Remind us who you are
Because we forget
Remind us of your grace
Because we don't deserve it
Remind us that we are yours
Because we often don't believe it
We come here hungry, Lord,
We want to know more about you
Tell us freshly who you are
That you are our God
And us, your children,
Fully loved,
Fully welcomed,
Fully yours
Because of what Jesus has done for us
Come, Lord,
Remind and teach us more
Of who you are
And change us
In your power
And in our weakness
To become more like you

Sunday, January 11, 2015

New poem: It begins with me

As part of our afternoon together as wider leaders, we talked honestly about how we want more people to come to us, learn who Jesus is and join our church family.

Sharing Jesus with our friends can often seem daunting, scary and like we're not up to the task. The truth is, this makes it all abhout us. WE provide the words, WE drum up the confidence, WE have the answers. The truth is, we don't. We have Jesus. He has the answers to the questions our friends have. Sharing Jesus with our friends doesn't begin with me, it begins with Him. As our Father, this is what he'd say:

It begins with me

It begins with me,
Your father, lover, redeemer, friend,
It begins with hope
It begins in dust
It begins with time-worn knees
And upturned hands
It begins with humble hearts
And hungry hearts
It begins with honesty
About your sin and shame
About my forgiveness and love
About the penance you owed
About the cost I paid
So you could call me father
And I call you my child
It begins with knowing me
It begins with spending time with me
Talking to me, chatting to me,
Yelling at me, crying with me
For I weep with you
And laugh with you
I hear each whispered word
your unspoken, burning desires
Are known to me
So share them
I know the things that trouble you
So bring them to me
I know the worries that plague you
So lay them at my feet
I know that you are weak
Will you let me give you strength?
The life I have given you
And continue to give to you
Is to bring you alive!
It is not a dreary list of things to do
And rules to keep you back
But a living relationship
With your one, true father
One who listens to each word
One who understands your hurts
One who experienced your pain
One who loves for you
More than your mind and heart can comprehend
It begins with you and me
So come
Come to me
My sweet and lovely child
My special and well loved one
Come with all your heart has in it
With all that fills your mind
And know me
Know your father and know joy
Deep, all encompassing satisfaction
As you remember His grace is sufficient for you
So come,
Knowing he is enough for you
Know me

And make me known.


New poem: Walk with me

A new poem which came out of an afternoon our church's wider leaders spent together looking forward to the next year and where we'd like to be as a church. I was remremindour lives are paths we walk. God asks us to walk with him.

Walk with me

Come, fall in step
Slip your hand into mine
Let me show you new ways
Don't worry where you're going
I know the way
The countryside is new to you
But it's familiar to me
It'll be bumpy at times
So hold on tight
I won't let go
You'll get worried if you step off the path
But I'll be here if you do
Waiting for you to come back to me
I'll never get tired
So you can lean on me
When you struggle walking,
I'll carry you
When you feel like running,
I'll run with you
When you stumble and fall,
I'll clean your cuts and grazes,
I'll bandage you up and help you continue
It's not an easy path
But it's direct
Straight to the finish line
And my backpack is light
You don't need to carry that baggage you used to
So join me on the path,
Take my hand
And find out where I want to take you.