31 Dec 2013

From The Old I Travel To The New

I mentioned on Sunday that we were talking about resolutions at Church. We also sang a pretty old school song that I sang in Primary School.

One More Step Along The World I Go. I've put a copy of the words below so you can refresh your memories of the lyrics - or read them if you don't know the song.

One more step along the world I go,
one more step along the world I go;
from the old things to the new
keep me traveling along with you:
And it's from the old I travel to the new;
keep me traveling along with you.

Round the corner of the world I turn,
more and more about the world I learn;
all the new things that I see
you'll be looking at along with me: Refrain

As I travel through the bad and good,
keep me traveling the way I should;
where I see no way to go
you'll be telling me the way, I know: Refrain

Give me courage when the world is rough,
keep me loving though the world is tough;
leap and sing in all I do,
keep me traveling along with you: Refrain

You are older than the world can be,
you are younger than the life in me;
ever old and ever new,
keep me traveling along with you: Refrain

Now when you are younger you don't necessarily realise what you are singing and I suppose when I actually took in the words on Sunday I understood with a new set of eyes what I was singing. 

There is some powerful stuff in there!

As I travel through the bad and good - keep me traveling the way I should.
Give me courage when the world in rough - keep me loving though the world is tough
And it's from the old I travel to the new - keep me traveling along with you

As I leave 2013 and head into the unknown of 2014 I want those lyrics I sang to be more than words. I want them to be little prayers.

I want 2014 to be a year where I:

  • cling ever more to God
  • become more loving in all I say and do
  • enjoy beautiful friendships
  • experience new adventures
May I wish you all a very Happy New Year!

29 Dec 2013


Today at my Church we were talking about how sometimes when you make resolutions you find that you fail to keep them in the first few days, let alone the whole year. 

I have for a while had my suspicions about New Year's Resolutions. There is quite a big build up and generally a bit of a binge before New Year's Eve. I can remember when my resolution was to go running every other day and I made it for 2 days before giving up when it was a bit wet outside. 

You see I like the whole idea of starting something new at the beginning of a year. It's like I love using December as my month of reflection and then January is a month of goal setting/creating aims for the year. However, I don't ever think you should wait until the New Year to start something good. 

For instance I can remember when I wanted to read the whole Bible but it was about May and so I waited until the January so that I could do the official Bible in a year reading plan. Now, ideally I would have just started then and gone with it. Why waste time?! Far too often I am one of these people that has to wait to start something at the beginning of a year, a month, a week, a day, an hour, rather than thinking..."hmm this is a good idea let's go for it". This reminds me of how when I was at university I would be writing essays and I'd take a break and always say I'll have 10 mins...now if I forgot to look at the clock and it had been 11 mins I would then choose to wait until it had been 15 mins before getting on. 

This year my Dad asked me for an Inspirational Calender (he gets one every year), however I looked all over in London and couldn't find the one he would normally get. So I had to resort to being creative and adding inspirational quotes to a standard calender (it is actually an Amazing Earth one which has some pretty stunning pics in it). A couple of the quotes I chose really stood out to me. 

"The wise does at once what the fool does at last." Balthasar Grecian

"It is never to late to be what you might have been." George Eliot

Now I don't want to be someone who waits and puts things off until a "good time". I don't know who but someone said "there is no time like the present" - New Years is a good time to start things, but so is today! 

So as I think about what I want my goals/aims for the year to be, one of them is going to be to start good ideas straight away. The rest I'm thinking about.

19 Dec 2013

Hopes and Fears

I don't know about you but I generally find that December is a brilliant time for reflection. There is always loads going on, but there seem to be more opportunities to steal moments to think a bit more deeply. Whether it be at a carol service, or sitting in a cafe taking a break from shopping...December seems a good point to take stock.

There's a Christmas carol that I have sung a number of times already this advent season: O Little Town of Bethlehem 
"O little town of Bethlehem
How still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight"

Now I generally find it difficult to understand anything that isn't in plain English (working with London slang is hard!) and carols generally aren't simple to understand. This verse talks about how Jesus is the everlasting light and that all the hopes and fears that you and I might have are in his hands. 

This has had me thinking. 

You see I never in a million years thought I would be a youth-worker when I grew up (not sure that has happened yet!) I mean as a teenager my thoughts were that I wanted to change the world. My hope was that I would make an impact with my life. My thoughts were on going into politics, or becoming a missionary...not working with young people. 

My fears have always been that my life will count for nothing. That I will be forgotten, rejected and alone. 

As I was thinking about this post a story popped into my head that you might have heard before:
"When I was a young man I wanted to change the world 
But the world was quite a big place, so I thought maybe I'll change my country
However, the country was difficult to influence, and so I decided maybe I would change my town
I didn't have the opportunities to change my town so I thought about impacting my family
My family all had their own ideas 
As an old man I thought if I had changed myself, maybe that would have changed my family, and maybe we would have made an impact on our town and maybe that would have influenced the country, and who knows that could have changed the world."
(I don't know the original source of this - it's just from my memory having heard it a couple of times)

I know that for myself I can easily look around and think about the things I'm not doing. The ambitions I had for myself in terms of impacting those around me, doing good with money, travelling the world. I saw this picture and it made me stop for a moment and think.

My personality is one in which I always want to look at the big picture - where am I going, what does it look like, how am I going to get there. It's good! (It's called being a visionary) But it sometimes means I miss the things right in front of me. 

You see God has my hopes and dreams (not just because the song says it, but because the Bible says God knows a thought before it is even in my head!) - he knows them full well. He knows how I have been made, ambitious and wanting my life to be worth something. But he also has plans for me. 

So often we can get caught up in the whole wanting to be famous and recognised thing. I know I do - so much of the time I want people to see the stuff I do and thank/praise me. But actually I can change the world a) By changing myself into the type of person God can use, and b) By using every day, simple, nothing massive opportunities to bless those around me.

Also you are never too old to either - I think as a kid I thought it was all about being a grown up, then I'd know what to do. But as an adult you can feel like you missed the moment. Neither are true - every moment can be one where God is fulfilling our hopes and laying our fears to rest.

15 Dec 2013

It's beginning to feel a lot like...

...normality...or Christmas...or both.

For the last few weeks its been a bit quiet on here because I've just not felt like blogging. Mainly because I've been busy and a bit stressed and so that has zapped my brain of words to write. I'm still learning the boundaries of life. When to stop and when to work harder, when to take it easy and when to turn the work phone off. I'm not great at knowing my limits yet...so I push it.

But this weekend things have returned to some semblance of normality and it feels epic. 

Not only did I enjoy a winner of a work Christmas Party which included table tennis in a club! But I also spent Saturday chilling, eating good food, celebrating a friend's birthday over an AMAZING home cooked meal. I laughed a lot. And then I spent today with lots of people who are super - at Church, having lunch,at carol services, at XLP Arts Showcase and at home. 

I think more and more I am realising how much I crave genuine relationships. The real stuff. The friendships where you can tell when people aren't ok and they can tell with you. The ones where you can just turn up and not have a plan and that's ok. 

Today at Church I was sharing about how God brings hope when we feel alone. I spoke about how in the midst of heartbreak God doesn't leave us by ourselves. I think in the busy-ness I can tend to make myself more isolated as I have less energy to give. But I was reminded of how God is a rock on which we can stand - he is always there, always dependable, always genuine. 

So as well as properly getting into Christmas mode this weekend, I've also had a blast of good people time. Long may it continue.

3 Dec 2013

The day we all dressed as the nativity

On Saturday I ventured into trying something new.


As you might know if you have read this blog for a while, every year XLP runs a mission trip for the people who come on the gap year course. For the last 10+ years we have been visiting a community in Ghana and this year we are going back. However, we are also simultaneously running a trip to Romania too. 

Because I have quite a large team they have split and half are going to Ghana, half to Romania. But for them to go they need to raise lots of money. 

Soooooooo I had a brainwave! Why not go busking on South Bank?! People do it all the time and must get good money because otherwise why would they go back. 

So on Saturday my team dressed as the nativity and went to busk on South Bank.

Clearly you can see the high quality costumes we were fashioning. Ahem. 

We spent about an hour and a half carolling and singing any Christmas Carol we could remember to raise cash. We had to move to different locations seeing as it turns out you need a license to busk on South Bank (however you can do it on bridges, in parks and outside the National Gallery without one). But thankfully it was a really nice day so we got the chance to sing, raise money and see a bit of London. 

Once our throats were dry we called it a day and counted our earnings - £23.28

Not as much as I had been anticipating, however considering our carol singing wasn't the most tuneful or coherent I'm not hugely surprised. 

It was hilarious seeing how people looked at you a little bit weirdly, but then really appreciated the fact we were singing and raising money for other people. 

Probably the most moving thing was when two homeless guys approached us to ask what XLP is and why we were singing. We told them and then they told us they had sold a big issue and so gave us a quid each. It almost stopped me in my tracks. Why?! Why did they do that? Its so bad but I know I fall into the trap of thinking homeless people are all addicts and so don't use money well. This totally challenged that mind frame and has made me reassess my own viewpoint. 

Busking - not sure I'm cut out for it on a regular basis. It's quite boring, cold and doesn't necessarily deliver what you were hoping for.

However, my team are now over 1% of the way to their fundraising target!

1 Dec 2013

The car

On the 2nd November I was lucky enough to take possession of this wonderful Honda Civic. 

You see my friend Laura went to Peru for a holiday and whilst she was gone she was kind enough to add me to the insurance and let me "car-sit".

So for the last month I have had this view... 

...rather than having to shiver at the bus stop. 

I have LOVED IT! I mean I don't think I could ever afford to run a car long term as I had forgotten how much petrol is; but having the freedom to be able to pop over to someone's house in the evening, and not have to worry about getting the bus in the cold/wet, has been fantastic. 

I have used the car to go:
  • To Church (a number of different Churches)
  • Home to see my family
  • Shopping (always better than carrying bags on the bus)
  • To the countryside 
  • All over Lewisham for various errands
  • And bless other people with lifts
Today I went to collect Laura from the airport and to return her car - she has been so kind in lending it to me and also getting me this gift!

Chocolate Covered Oreos!!! What a winner. 

So massive thanks to Laura - the car has been a blessing.