31 Mar 2013


Recently a friend of mine who reads this blog commented that they really enjoy reading it; they're not religious, but they appreciate the love that is communicated - excellent encouragement for me.

However, it got me thinking. I have no idea how many of you reading this are Christians or not - I write my own thoughts and from my own perspective, which is, quite clearly, Christian. But today is Easter and it is SUCH A JOYFUL DAY!!

Like I cannot express to you how joyful it really is...to know that your God has paid a huge price and has defeated death because of their incredibly mind-blowing love for you...

I figured that some people might not really know the Easter story and so here is a really quick (and cute) recap of the story

And if you are thinking well that was great but I would like some more details....

Here you go:

Judas to Betray Jesus

10 Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them. 11 And when they heard it, they were glad and promised to give him money. And he sought an opportunity to betray him.

The Passover with the Disciples

12 And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, “Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?” 13 And he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him, 14 and wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, Where ismy guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 15 And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there prepare for us.” 16 And the disciples set out and went to the city and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.
17 And when it was evening, he came with the twelve. 18 And as they were reclining at table and eating, Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.”19 They began to be sorrowful and to say to him one after another, “Is it I?” 20 He said to them, “It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the dish with me. 21 For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.”

Institution of the Lord's Supper

22 And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” 23 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. 24 And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. 25 Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”

Jesus Foretells Peter's Denial

26 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 27 And Jesus said to them,“You will all fall away, for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’28 But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” 29 Peter said to him, “Even though they all fall away, I will not.” 30 And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” 31 But he said emphatically, “If I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And they all said the same.

Jesus Prays in Gethsemane

32 And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.”33 And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled.34 And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.” 35 And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36 And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” 37 And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter,“Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? 38 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 39 And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. 40 And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy, and they did not know what to answer him. 41 And he came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough; the hour has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”

Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus

43 And immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. 44 Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man. Seize him and lead him away under guard.”45 And when he came, he went up to him at once and said, “Rabbi!” And he kissed him. 46 And they laid hands on him and seized him. 47 But one of those who stood by drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. 48 And Jesus said to them, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? 49 Day after day I was with you in the templeteaching, and you did not seize me. But let the Scriptures be fulfilled.” 50 And they all left him and fled.

A Young Man Flees

51 And a young man followed him, with nothing but a linen cloth about his body. And they seized him,52 but he left the linen cloth and ran away naked.

Jesus Before the Council

53 And they led Jesus to the high priest. And all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes came together. 54 And Peter had followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. And he was sitting with the guards and warming himself at the fire. 55 Now the chief priests and the whole council were seeking testimony against Jesus to put him to death, but they found none. 56 For many bore false witness against him, but their testimony did not agree. 57 And some stood up and bore false witness against him, saying, 58 “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.’” 59 Yet even about this their testimony did not agree. 60 And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?” 61 But he remained silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?”62 And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, andcoming with the clouds of heaven.” 63 And the high priest tore his garments and said, “What further witnesses do we need? 64 You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?” And they all condemned him as deserving death. 65 And some began to spit on him and to cover his face and to strike him, saying to him, “Prophesy!” And the guards received him with blows.

Peter Denies Jesus

66 And as Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came, 67 and seeing Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, “You also were with the Nazarene, Jesus.”68 But he denied it, saying, “I neither know nor understand what you mean.” And he went out into the gateway and the rooster crowed. 69 And the servant girl saw him and began again to say to the bystanders, “This man is one of them.” 70 But again he denied it. And after a little while the bystanders again said to Peter, “Certainly you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.” 71 But he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know this man of whom you speak.” 72 And immediately the rooster crowed a second time. And Peter remembered how Jesus had said to him,“Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down and wept.

Jesus Delivered to Pilate

15 And as soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. And they bound Jesus and led him away and delivered him over to Pilate. And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.” And the chief priests accused him of many things. And Pilate again asked him, “Have you no answer to make? See how many charges they bring against you.” But Jesus made no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.

Pilate Delivers Jesus to Be Crucified

Now at the feast he used to release for them one prisoner for whom they asked. And among the rebels in prison, who had committed murder in the insurrection, there was a man called Barabbas.And the crowd came up and began to ask Pilate to do as he usually did for them. And he answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” 10 For he perceived that it was out of envy that the chief priests had delivered him up. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release for them Barabbas instead. 12 And Pilate again said to them, “Then what shall I do with the man you call the King of the Jews?” 13 And they cried out again, “Crucify him.”14 And Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him.” 15 So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.

Jesus Is Mocked

16 And the soldiers led him away inside the palace (that is, the governor's headquarters), and they called together the whole battalion. 17 And they clothed him in a purple cloak, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on him. 18 And they began to salute him, “Hail, King of the Jews!”19 And they were striking his head with a reed and spitting on him and kneeling down in homage to him. 20 And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. And they led him out to crucify him.

The Crucifixion

21 And they compelled a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross. 22 And they brought him to the place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull). 23 And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. 24 And they crucified him and divided his garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take. 25 And it was the third hour when they crucified him. 26 And the inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” 27 And with him they crucified two robbers, one on his right and one on his left. 29 And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, 30 save yourself, and come down from the cross!” 31 So also the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. 32 Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also reviled him.

The Death of Jesus

33 And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 35 And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “Behold, he is calling Elijah.” 36 And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reedand gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.”37 And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. 38 And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he[h]breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son[i] of God!”
40 There were also women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. 41 When he was in Galilee, they followed him and ministered to him, and there were also many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem.

Jesus Is Buried

42 And when evening had come, since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 44 Pilate was surprised to hear that he should have already died. And summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he was already dead. 45 And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the corpse to Joseph. 46 And Joseph bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud and laid him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock. And he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid.

The Resurrection
16 When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

May you, each one, have a happy and blessed Easter.

29 Mar 2013


Sometime in the last couple days I inched over the 10000 blog views mark. Just want to say thanks for reading. 

It's ace to know that my ramblings are providing good enough reads for you to keep coming back.

Just want to encourage you that if you are new to reading the blog, do feel free to leave a comment and say hi - it's cool to know who's reading. 

Here is a bit of motivation for a Friday - 

28 Mar 2013


I don't know if you have noticed the mass appeals for aid/relief in Syria?

I have. In fact I feel like everywhere I go there are posters, adverts, emails, urging me to support the people who have become refugees. 

It's times like this when I feel quite helpless. Clearly I want to be able to support these people. I wish I had an unlimited supply of money to be able to respond to crises like this. I wish I could make a long-term impact for good. 

But sometimes giving a fiver just doesn't feel like it does anything. I have given to various organisations helping in the Syria conflict, but it's difficult to know how that money is helping as it's not much and the scale of the problems are MASSIVE.

3 million (3000000) have fled their homes. 
Since the start of the year the number of people leaving Syria has increased from 1000 to 8000 PER DAY. (If I related that to my home town Tunbridge Wells it would be empty in 8 days)
Half of all refugees are children

"Syria is fast becoming the greatest humanitarian disaster of this century"

All of these facts were taken from Nicola Hulks twitter account as she was at the Disasters Emergency Committee briefing this morning at the BT Tower.

She also reported some actions people could take:
Governments have pledged money - but holding them to account is vital. I have no idea how long the political situation is going to continue in Syria, but it's quite clear that Syrian people need help NOW. Encouraging Governments to give what they have promised will help the situation hugely.
Giving as little as £5 can help provide life saving medical care, or it can provide a blanket to help someone survive the cold nights.

There were also stories of neighbouring countries selflessly giving of themselves and their resources. Whether it's teaching double shifts so that Syrian children can go to school, or rescuing elderly Syrian people who cannot flee by themselves. In the midst of chaos there is hope and compassion being shown.

This whole situation seems so bleak - the problem seems huge and the solutions I can do seem small and insignificant...however if we all did something small and insignificant it actually can become quite big.

If you would like to find out more you can visit the following websites:
Disasters Emergency Committee
TearFund - they have a lot of stories you can read. 
Christian Aid

Both TearFund and Christian Aid have prayer resources too. 

25 Mar 2013

Porn. And sexualisation in general

As a youth worker there are a few topics you have to teach/cover throughout the year that you hate.

Recently I did a week looking at sexual health. I didn't hate it (which surprised me) but I did find it a struggle and just really sad. 

We have been working through a series on healthy living in our School lunch clubs since Christmas and have looked at healthy eating, healthy friendships, healthy finances, sport and exercise. So sexual health fitted into the theme and was something we thought relevant to cover. 

Trying to work out what to say in a 5-7 min talk to 11-14 year olds about sex is really tricky. I tried to keep it simple and spoke about knowing the right time for sex, how being in a stable, committed, long-term relationship was a good place to start. How we, as youth workers, care about and believe in them and that we want the best for each of them. How if they were having sex that they needed to be sure that they visited a Sexual Health Clinic to get tested etc...just realised you probably don't need all the details....

...anyway. At the end of one particular talk we got into discussion groups and were talking about how sex is all around us in the world. A year 8 boy asked me what I thought about porn, and before I got a chance to answer, the boy sitting next to him said, "porn is actually really bad for you, it reduces your sex-drive." This was a year 7 boy. When I asked him how he knew that he told me he had looked it up on the internet. 

In every school we talked about this in there were young people who clearly were engaging in some form of sexual activity. Whether it was full on sex, or looking at porn, having pictures of their peers in limited clothing on their phones, posing for those pictures...

I just find this incredibly sad. 

It is no surprise that there are attitudes like this when porn is becoming more and more easily available. It used to just be in top shelf magazines and page 3 of the Sun. Now it's clicks away. 

I think what saddens me most, is the fact that girls I work with think that their value comes from posing for a half-naked (or in some cases, naked) picture to send to a guy they like. 

Porn normalises sex. It gives unrealistic expectations of what context sex is appropriate in and how girls should behave. It actually makes me angry that people think it's ok for kids to access this as it totally skews their own morals/ideas. 

Teens need more help than ever navigating through the whirlwinds of puberty - even though talking about sex isn't my favourite thing...someone's got to do it.

24 Mar 2013

In too deep

The title of this post reminded me of this song from my teenage years -

Ha! That takes me back.

However, I didn't post just to talk about Sum 41. In fact I am feeling myself like I am in a little too deep. 

Some of you may know that I enjoy public speaking; I relish in opportunities to learn new things, research, study and know enough about something to be able to speak about it. My job doesn't give me huge amounts of opportunities to do this and so when I was asked if I would speak at Spring Harvest to 400 11-14's I figured "sure, that will be something great to work towards". Then when they asked if I'd consider doing a couple seminars I figured pretty much the same thing. 

Then when another youth organisation asked if I would speak at their youth event a couple days before Spring Harvest I thought, "that will be quite a lot, but it's only a short talk, it will be fine". 

And then I realised that I have to complete and hand in my 3 year strategy for XLP youth work in Lewisham by the end of this week too. 

I also realised that this week I am down 2 members of my team as they have annual leave to take so I am more limited in taking time off projects to write/muse. 

So to recap - LOTS going on + limited time = potential panic.

Thoughts: I can't do this, I've over promised and now I'm going to under deliver. I'm going to end up doing them all badly and never be asked to speak at anything again ever. I am useless and a failure

Truth: I am capable. I am going to have to pull some late nights but I can do this. God thinks I am valuable - Luke 12:6-7 

I think trying to snap out of a meltdown on my own is really hard, as there can be a vicious cycle of: try, get tired, fail, feel guilty - but God's truth is that however I may feel about myself, he values me enough to know the hairs on my head and he believes in me. And breathe.

However, to try and learn from this - I would like some advice on how do you know when to say no?

22 Mar 2013


Maybe I understand,
Maybe I don't.

Maybe this feeling will pass,
Maybe it won't.

Maybe, if circumstances had been different, I wouldn't have broken your heart,
Maybe it was inevitable right from the start.
Maybe, if I had been wiser, it wouldn't have gone so far,
Maybe I regret nothing, because we were beautiful, it's worth the scars.

Maybe feeling completely torn is all part of the process,
Maybe we need to establish a line to make any progress.
Maybe feeling distant is now the new normal,
Maybe it will always feel weird to try and be formal.

Maybe the reminders will come less often,
Maybe the rawness will begin to soften.
Maybe you'll learn to trust me once more,
Maybe we're not beyond our God to restore.

Maybe if you told me what you were thinking I wouldn't feel so sad.
Maybe if there was less ambiguity we would both know where we stand.

Maybe my heart will never mend,

Maybe we'll get to a place where we can be friends.

Maybe the questions I have will never be answered,
Maybe one day I'll look back and understand.