Showing posts from 2011

Blue Christmas 2011

This year, alongside the usual Nativity plays and candlelit carol services we are again offering something different. For those who have experienced bereavement, redundancy or loss there is the opportunity to join with others at a “Blue Christmas” church service. Using seasonal music, prayers, reflection and stillness there will be a chance to seek comfort and hope together. There will also be a time to light candles as we remember loved ones, or difficult situations that have caused pain over this last year.  For many people 2011 has been a tough year, and 2012 is looking hard too. We wanted to give people a chance to be honest about how they are feeling this Christmas, and also to reach out for hope and comfort. And we also want to remember that the Christmas story is not just a happy one, it’s about a child being born in difficult circumstances, and into a family that had to flee persecution. It’s a story that has something to say to those of us struggling with difficulty today

Great concert coming up in Wolverhampton!


Machine Gun Preacher, my review

An Anthem to the Myth of Redemptive Violence Gerard Butler stars in (and perhaps equally importantly Exec. Produces) the movie based upon the real life story of Pastor Sam Childers, a drug-addicted biker who finds sobriety and hope by putting his faith in Jesus. Childers, after a mission trip to Uganda where he witnesses some of the atrocities of the Lord’s Resistance Army, becomes involved in fighting for the freedom and safety of orphans and freed child soldiers. Sam Childers is a real man, but the comments I make here are about the Sam Childers portrayed in the film. I know very little of the story of the real Sam, and so I want to be clear that my response is to the movie, not the man or his ministry. If, however, the real and the realised Sams are one and the same, then, as we say here, if the cap fits... So, a story about a terrible sinner who has a wonderful conversion, and who then develops a heart for church planting and mission, what’s not to like? Well, quite a lot. You s

London Baptist Association announce new Regional Minister (Team Leader)

For a couple of years I was part of LBA, and appreciated immensely the wisdom and leadership of the then team leader of the regional ministry team, Pat Took. She is an outstanding lady, and an amazing ambassador for Jesus, and for Baptist Christians. Her skills, talents and giftings fitted well the needs of the Baptist family in our capital city. Her retirement created a special opening in the life of our union of churches, and I guess many of who had any kind of interest had been watching to see who might be asked to fill those shoes. Today  the LBA website  is announcing the news that Geoffrey Andrews from Perry Rise Baptist Church will be the name brought for consideration at a special assembly of the association early next month. God who calls and equips, who leads and inspires may your Spirit rest on Geoffrey, the LBA and your people in that great city, Amen.

Gungor "God is not a white Man"

Loving this video, surreal, trippy, joyful, and a wonderful counter to the dour folks who seem convinced that God hates us!

Your cross is too small

Ok, sorry, I need to get this off my chest. Listen, you, quit nagging me. You keep telling me to preach The Cross, and that would be great, except when you say that what you really mean is that I should preach your own, quite limited understanding of it. You see, the problem is this:   your cross is too small. If you look at the world and see only nameless souls that need to repent, your cross is too small. If you see people trapped in destructive patterns of behaviour, and think that if they’d only try harder they’d be free, your cross is too small. If you think it is human activity that impresses the perfectly holy God, your cross is too small. If you think the life, teaching, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus can be summed up into a message that says “Come to Jesus or burn in hell”, your cross is too small. If you look at social exclusion, and think all would be well if only they would repent, but otherwise it’s none of your business, your cross is too small. If you

Out of Darkness Cometh Light

That’s the motto of the City of Wolverhampton, and we caught a glimpse of the reality of that today as people responded to last night’s riots. I have long believed that people of the light overcome darkness by living in the opposite spirit. So, even though I can understand why, I struggle with those who resort to anger, violence, prejudice as a reaction to what we’ve seen in our streets, neighbourhoods, cities, nation. So, how to live in the opposite spirit? Well, if riots are about violence, we live in a way that brings healing. If looting is about theft and destruction then we live in generosity and set about rebuilding. If the anger and violence is anything at all to do with anguish and a lack of meaning and purpose, then we live as those who have hope in our hearts, and work towards seeing our vision of a better society become a reality. About 2,500 years ago a wise man, a prophet even, said “seek the peace and prosperity of the city...because if it prospers, you too will prosp

Baptist Union of Great Britain President calls for prayers for London and our cities

Pray for the peace of the city, may peace be within your homes and security on your streets.   Will you join me please in praying for the peace of our cities, and especially for the people of Tottenham.  Pray for the family and friends of Mark Duggan as they absorb the shock of his violent and premature death- pray that the circumstances of his death may become clear for everyone to see and that those who loved him will have confidence that justice has been done.  Pray for everyone who has been traumatised by the events of the weekend- the policemen who have been injured, and their families- those who have lost homes and businesses- those who have lost their sense of living in a friendly and safe place.  Pray for our police, that there will be among them exceptional men and women, able to understand the hopes and fears of all the different individuals and groups they deal with, able to uphold the law with wisdom, integrity and discretion, able to step over prejudice, their own and

This Sunday's text


March of Hope

Here's some footage of the March of Hope in Wolverhampton last weekend. Approximately 800 (300 more than last year) people gathered and marched from West Park, through the city centre and into St Peter's Square. There was an atmosphere of exuberance, joy, love and unity. In this clip you'll see the march arriving into St Peter's Square. The video is nearly 5 mins long because that's how long it took for the marchers to make their way in!

World Book Night, One million Book Giveaway

So, it's the first World Book Night tonight, and the organisation aims to give away one million books. There are 25 titles being given away, and folks wanted to be part of the process were invited to make contact a few months ago, indicating which book they'd like to give away and why. I applied, and asked to distribute the book "One Day" by David Nicholls. I'd picked up a copy whilst on holiday a couple of months ago, a friend had suggested it, and said there would be a particular reason I'd like it. It's a book that is set on July 15th, St Swithin's Day, my birthday, and follows the relationship of two very different kind of people. It wasn't the usual kind of book I'd read, but I found it terrifically moving, very funny, and quite insightful about human relationships, life, and slowly growing older. Here's the blurb from the World Book Night site: I can imagine you at forty,’ she said, a hint of malice in her voice. ‘I can pictur

Shahbaz bhatti, the murdered Pakistani minister for minorities issues ex...

Today the terrifically sad news came through that Mr Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan's Minister for Minorities, a passionate advocate of reform of Pakistan's blasphemy laws, and the only Christian in the cabinet of Pakistan's government has been assassinated. The video here was recorded recently, and was sent to the BBC to be released in the event of his death. Tertullian may well have taught that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church, and I pray it's true, however I find myself thinking of the voices of those slain for proclaiming their faith mentioned in Revelation 6 as they cry "How long, O Lord.." Here's a hero of the Church, I ask you to join me in praying for his family, his church and his nation.

The Big Response in Wolverhampton

I've been posting this information almost everywhere, and have missed my own blog! Ooops... Please do pray for us tomorrow as more than 70 leaders from across the city and region gather to think of how we might respond to the Big Society agenda. Leaving aside the politics - and how I feel about the cuts - whatever happens, churches are uniquely placed and may end up picking up the pieces, and caring for the marginalised folks who'll slip through the gaps.