Thursday, 8 September 2011

Cool.

Snow Patrol aren't cool. They are like Travis and Embrace. Music for the people not very into music, people who buy one album a year and don't go to gigs. I was listening to them on the way home tonight. I was listening to a song called 15 minutes old. I love it. You see secretly I like Snow Patrol. But tonight while enjoying them my mind reminded me they weren't cool and I almost turned them off and thought wouldn't life be easier if there wasn't a 'cool' if things just were.

Truth is Im obsessed with cool. I want cool music, cool clothes, cool films. I want to be cool. And I'm not alone. Truth is when we go shopping we want cool things. We want to be cool. As a generation we value cool.

In Philippians 4 v 8 it says

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."

I don't think it's wrong to like cool things. But I was thinking wouldn't life look different if we valued the things mentioned in the same way we value cool. Like If we could get it in our subconscious when we are talking, living, sleeping, dreaming so before our mind said 'is it cool?' it said 'is it true, noble, pure, right, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy?'

Wouldn't that be cool?

Sunday, 28 August 2011

No Time

I love music. I love harmonies and melodies, I love guitars and strings and I'm a real sucker for a string section. But more than that I love lyrics. Maybe pop lyrics are to me what poetry is to more sophisticated. There's a lyric that's been on my mind recently- "how many times have we slept side by side a thousand miles apart" it's from a Just Jack song called No Time. And the line makes me think of how as Christians our lives can be with God.

You see the lone I guess refers to how couples can lie in bed together side by side, but can have drifted apart from each other so much emotionally that really although in the physical they couldn't be closer somewhere deeper they couldn't be further apart.

I'm gonna be honest here, sometimes that's how it is with me and God. I've done quite a bit of Christian activities this summer; kids clubs, youth events, church things, worship things. But somehow in the midst of serving God I've forgotten what it is to know him. To want him. You see sometimes we surround ourselves with Christians and get busy doing stuff 'for God' and we have prayer times and good times and we can feel we are really loving God. But sometimes God himself can get left out. Sometimes we are so busy trying to serve God we stop falling in love with him. We stop becoming more like him. Stop seeking him. Stop doing all the things he actually wants us to do. I'm there.

About 4 years ago I read a book called Blue Like Jazz and it changed my life. It was the story of one mans journey with God, and at one point in it Donald (the author) says he was always struck by people who talked about God like they really new him. Intimately. I want to be one of those people. But I realised in a group prayer time recently I had stopped praying like I knew God, I talked to him like a distant friend, trying to feel what it was that once made me love my friend. In a group prayer time. At an outreach week. 

"how many times have we slept side by side a thousand miles apart" 

I want to fall fully in love with God again. I want to know him. I want to serve out of love not because it's what I'm meant to do. 

I guess I'm on a journey, and it's about to get interesting....

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Talking about a revolution



'Don't you know, Im talking about a revolution, it sounds like a whisper..'- Tracy Chapman

I've been thinking a lot about church recently and how so often it has turned into a meeting. It is something we go to, we have legalistic types who have invented dresscodes for church and other pieces of nonesense. We have more modernisers trying to turn the idea of church into a disco with better lights, smoke machines and kickass bands- they say they are just 'doing church differently.'

God never called us to do church. Never. He called us to be the church. My Pastor recently said something along the lines of when we be the church the kingdom of God is built, but when we do church people just get left out. And it is so true.

If we are the church then it cant have dresscodes, it cant have lights- it can just have people.

I'm not saying we dont have buildings- The early church met in the temple for large meetings but they done so for convenience. The Church building is not God's house it is just a rain shelter. God lives in the Church- The Christians.

So how do we be the church?

We must meet up with fellow christians as often as possible, preferablly daily. We must give to the poor and needy. (Acts 2:44-47)

We must preach the gospel to eachother and to others (Mark 16:15) - This is where our sunday meetings come in. They are to equip the church. Not to be the church. If you aren't gonna be Gods church during the week, then don't come in to learn how to on a sunday- you are wasting your time, and think twice about taking communion.

We must be loving but disciplined. (Ephesians 5:2-5)

We must pray always- (1 Thessalonians 5:17) the 24/7 prayer movement has been awakening a passion for prayer in many of our churches.

We must take part in social action-( James 2:26)

And we can dream big, knowing God is in control and can do more than we could ever dream.

Now imagine if we got this, if we each as christians. as the church acted like the Church. The Underground church in China are doing it... Christians in the Middle East are, I have read books of communities in America living this out, And have spoken to many people here in little Northern Ireland about it and they feel the same. Little pockets of real, raw body of Christ church is springing up. Its up to you to join them... remember we are the church... Talking about a revolution, it sounds like a whisper....

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Top Ten Albums of 2010

Last year I done albums of the decade, down to albums of the year this year:
Now, this is just my opinion and maybe nobody will read this or agree but I like to put it out there.


10.Ellie Goulding- Lights

9.Paul Weller- Wake Up The Nation

8.General Fiasco- Buildings

7.The Drums- The Drums

6.Example- Won't Go Quietly

5.Take That- Progress

4.Tinie Tempah- The Disc-Overy

3.Nathan Jess- O Rescued Ones

2.Katy Perry- Teenage Dream

1.Brian Houston- The Raw Sessions

Also Checked on itunes my most played song of 2010-
Katy Perry-Teenage Dream

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Hakuna Matata

I'm a thinker. My mind is always buzzing with thoughts about work, study, God and love. I'm currently sitting with a large cup of coffee thinking about what to write, how long it's been from I've blogged, how does my hair look. I'm thinking about how much I love Christmas and how I miss Heather when she is down in Belfast and I'm in Lurgan.

God can use thinkers, often my thoughts are full of dreams and ideas of how to further the kingdom and God can really use my thoughts.

However, sometimes my thinking is a hindrance. My mind wanders backwards through mirky thoughts to messy mistakes in my past. When my mind works like this and these thoughts prevade I find myself as the prophet Bono writes 'Stuck in a moment and I can't get out of it.'

I'm sure you have moments like this, where you remember what a mess you are and how you don't measure up to what you think God wants.

I've come to believe this isn't healthy. God doesn't want us stuck in a moment, because if we are we can't move forward into what God has for us now. In this moment.

In the book of Galatians Paul addresses some legalistic Jewish Christians who point to the law that God gave Moses and they tell the new Christians that they have to follow this law in regards to what they can eat and circumcision. (ouch...)

But Paul writes to that church and addresses these guys and says no. No. No.

Paul says to them wait a minute guys, we weren't saved by obeying laws, we knew we were guilty because of the law. Jesus came and lived that life we couldn't live, then dies to take the punishment so we wouldn't have to and no through Him we are reconnected to God.- Thats the Gospel. (Now that's my own paraphrase read the letter yourself for Paul's words)

So what about our dwelling on the past? God says to leave the thoughts there. Well not just leave them there, leave them with Him at the cross. Because there they were dealt with so we could leave in freedom. He took on our failure so we could escape it. No he just wants us to love him, leave for him and tell everyone about him. And when we fail to, leave it with God and move on and thank God for the cross.

Hope this was helpful.

Mark

Friday, 17 September 2010

7 Queens Place


There are some times in you're life that change your life forever and that you will remember. I am 20 years old and have a few of these times already: My trip to Uganda this past summer, My trips I have made to London with CEF, My time in Lurgan College. However for the past year I have experienced one of those journeys that help define you. I moved out of my family home to live with Chris McCune in 7 Queens Place. Now a year on I am moving home! (Mum's are very persuasive, houses are very dear and Chris is moving back to Belfast so it was inevitable) However, The Past year has changed me, made me laugh, made me cry, help me grow as a person and I will always remember.

I hope to someday write a book aout the journey I went on from 2009-2010 but just incase that never happens I will write this blog entry.

So I moved in in september and was a different person than I am now, Even to look at. I had this strange idea that tracksuit tops were cool to wear everyday, I had strange hair and I was unaware at the time perhaps but I was quite unhappy.

Lesson 1 I learned in the house was be yourself. Chris told me that I didnt dress like me, I dressed like Liam Gallagher and that was because i was trying to be him. I remember Chris told me often how different people had influence on his thinking, humor and stuff and these people ranged from the band Creed to Austin Powers, I guess I knew that I had loads of people who I had admired and looked at and was frustrated at my own lack of self so tried to be someone else. Chris told me one night I needed to find out who i was and be him. So now look at the top pictures again thats me. Big Glasses, Shirt all buttoned up, Funny quiff, thats me that is! haha, However being yourself is more than what you look like, this year I have thought deeply into who I am, why i dream what i dream, why I think what I think and questioned is my way of thinking always right. Being too inward can kill you but if you can't look inwardly and know who you are and what you believe then you need to ask how long am i going to wander through life not even knowing myslef.
lesson number 2 I learned was look after yourself. One early night in the house I was on my own and heard my bin in my kitchen falling over- INTRUDER I thought and i rang Timmy Johnson to see if he could come in and protect me. when i went down it turned out my bin had actually just fallen over. Since then I have had to learn to do with noises. I like to think I have became more domestic this year, I still cant cook and cant clean yeah, but I know where to buy cheap waffles and finally know how to work the oven!! it is a start. One night during the summer I was in bed and Chris was downstairs with his girlfriend Helen so i knew i was in company and safe and went straight to sleep, this taught me something the ultimate way to look after yourslef is to surround yourself with people. i think thats why jesus wanted us all to love eachother, so we could all just stay together in community and sleep easy!

Lesson 3- Fall in love, Live your story! As I said before I remember one night with Chris and his girlfriend- yes GIRLFRIEND! Me and Chris were very single when we moved in and often discussed how we were the dangerous boys girls could flirt with but would never be able to commit to because they want safe boys. Now we both got the GFs! Chris taught me to go for it with girls even if you think you have no chance- Just live your story if the story is the girl laughs at you and you look a fool thats cool, roll on the next story but you never know when the girl will say yes, or you will get the job, or whatever it is you are going for just go for it! We went for it this year- girls, gigs, blogs etc!

Lesson 4- Friends are what makes life so good! I love my friends and this year they have filled my house and my heart with laughter, whether it is our X factor nights last year, our erm 'christmas party' Jordy and I organised for the 5 guests, DVD nights with everyone or whatever we have had a good time, My friend Matthew has had to stay many a night to watch me to make sure i dont have mental breakdowns in hard times and he came to comfort or celebrate with me after my driving test fail and pass i had in the house! Patrick one night was locked out of his house with no key but he knew my door would be open and he could stay!

So yeah- It has been good and the house has had a lot of guests and I loved it, So thanks to Chris for a great year and all my regular visitors Steve I, Pat, Dicky, Phil, Gareth, Jordy etc. 

I'm on a journey.....

Monday, 9 August 2010

Stop Blaming 'The Church'

Church. One word. One syllable and yet such a confusing concept. I like books, lots of books, books change my life, however I have been noticing a lot of books i like criticize 'the church' point out problems in 'the church' but this summer God has been showing me he loves the church, and the problems arent that bad because really a lot of the problems, arguments, disagrements and hurt isn't caused by the church as founded by Jesus but by some other organisation that we made up. You see Jesus said he was going to build his church, he told peter he was the rock on which he would build the church. Jesus was talking about Christians, Christ followers, believers or whatever term you want to use. But so often when we think of the church that is not what we imagine.

We are the church and when we live lives that follow God's guidelines given to us in the Bible then the church works we as part of the church are working and glory goes to God.

So when you put someone before yourself, God is pleased with his church, when we help people in need God is pleased with his church. He doesnt care about the pews, the hymn books, the flowers, the slick programmes, when we do what he cares about us. Our lives because we are the church. I believe it is good to meet up with other christians as we do on a sunday and be together as the church and I think God is grieved when individuals don't live according to God's word, but I think we need to stop blaming 'the church' for all our own shortcomings.

The church is not an institution or organisation so it is time to stop blaming 'the church' for pushing people away or being old fashooned or stubborn because we are the church, the church is God's idea and we belittle God's idea if we make it into something else.

I want you to think of 'the church' in your head...
What do you see? Old men? old buildings? miserable looking people?

This is your own misconception when God sees the church he sees al his followers. Children singing God songs they are the church, Homeless men in LA crying out to God they are the church, Women and Children who know God living in the slums in Africa unable to prevent preventable diseases becuase they weren't born in the west they are the church. The Church is bigger than your local congregation, your town, your country, your continent. God is not dissapointed n the church, and if you love God you will love the church.