Thursday, April 30, 2009

A lot has changed

A lot has happened since my last blog post. The most notable of which is that I have been removed from the list of links on Brian's Blog.

But seriously, I have become a dad which is amazing. Here is our daughter Mollie as of a few weeks ago...

I think all parents think that their children are amazing, and rightly so, because they are. I am particularly enamored with her smile :)

Things continue to be exciting and eventful at Re:Hope. One of the things I have been thinking about recently is what it means to bless God. For when he blesses us we generally tend to understand it as him giving to us or helping us in some way. Clearly this doesn't seem to work in reverse. Here is something I found that a little known author called John Piper wrote on the subject....

"My thesis is that in the Scripture when God "blesses" men they are thereby helped and strengthened and made better off than they were before, but when men "bless" God he is not helped or strengthened or made better off. Rather (with C.A. Keller in THAT, I, 361) man's blessing God is an "expression of praising Thankfulness" (ein lobendes Danksagen), when the OT speaks of blessing God it does not "designate a pro cess that aims at the increase of God's strength" (THAT, I, 361). It is an "exclamation of gratitude and admiration" (THAT, I, 357).
This is not at all a strange semantic phenomenon. If God is the primal and inexhaustible "blesser," then he must be above all others in a "blessed" state—the fullness and source of all "blessing." If this is so, then a most nat ural burst of praise would be "You are blessed!" That this recognition and joyful exclamation of God's blessedness should then be described as "blessing God" is not unusual. Other analogies, though not exact, would be our expressions like: "I mag nify the Lord" or "Let us exalt his name." Both of these expressions properly recognize and give joyful expression to God's magnificence and his exalted status. They do not mean that we make God larger or higher. So to bless God means to recognize his great richness, strength, and gracious bounty and to express our gratitude and delight in seeing and experiencing it.
Here are some texts that have led me to these conclusions:

Deuteronomy 8:10 And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.

Here "bless" is virtually identical to "thank" or "gratefully recognize as the giver of blessing."

Psalm 100:4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!

Psalm 145:10 All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord, and all your saints shall bless you!

Psalm 103:2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits,

Psalm 96:2-3 Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!

Here bless probably means: joyfully announce all these good things about God.

Psalm 104:1 Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, you are very great! You are clothed with splendor and majesty,

This psalm begins and ends with "Bless the Lord, O my soul!" This probably means that the psalm is meant as the blessing. Therefore blessing God means heartily saying things like "God, you are very great!"

2 Chronicles 29:10 Therefore David blessed the Lord in the presence of all the assembly. And David said: “Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever.”

This is a clear example of what one does when one blesses the Lord: he calls him blessed! The same thing is seen in comparing Gen. 24:27 and 48.

Ps. 34:1 I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

Ps. 145:1-2,21 I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord, and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.

Ps. 113:1,2 Praise the Lord! Praise, O servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord! Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and forevermore!"

Monday, August 04, 2008

New Arrival Imminent

OK, so Julie has reprimanded me for not blogging on this already, and for most of you who might read this blog, it's old news. But we're having a baby!

"Little Ash" as he/she is affectionately known is due around the 20th of October. This is a preview of what Little Ash might look like........

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

For Your Name

Well, after muchos delay due to numerous non-musical set-backs, we have finally released an EP. Check it out by clicking on the picture below!

If you enjoy it, then tell all your friends!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Theory to Praxis

I came across this quote from T.S.Elliot whilst reading The Forgotten Ways by Alan Hirsch...

"The greatest proof of Christianity for others is not how far a man can logically analyse his reasons for believing, but how far in practice he will stake his life on his belief."

And as I read this quote and allowed it to sink through my defensive barriers of "I'm a pretty good Christian", it struck deep and convicted.

I have grown up - as I think most western, middle-class, Christians have - with a faith that is at least 80% intellectual, and that's a conservative estimate!

Another convicting moment was at our church retreat earlier this month, where we had to write down 30 names of people we know in Glasgow who are not believers in Jesus. I realised that I could not not even do that. It would be easy to point the finger at western Christianity, at Church, at my culture. But in all reality the fault lies with me, the responsibility lies squarely with me.

I'm not sure what I shall do with these two convictions, but this I DO know, I need to allow the Lordship of Jesus to permeate every aspect of my life. I need to adhere to the calling of Jesus revealed in the bible, not the diluted interpreted message that seeps through my religiousness.

We must believe that Jesus is indeed alive and really worth dying for, and if that is true, we MUST live like it. It is only through living a life FULLY under the Lordship of Jesus that we can ever expect to see our nation changed. To see awakening and revival.

We must. We must. We must.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Pike and Burgers

Three men have had a dream this winter...... to catch a Pike on the fly.

We have been infamous in our failure to catch any fish this winter (tiny little ones not included mike). Anyway, today the weather forecast looked great, it's Pike breeding month and I just KNEW it would be our day. We stayed up last night psyching each other up and tying little monstrosoties onto very large hooks.

Driving up to loch Lomond this morning everything looked great, not much wind, sunshine, nothing good on TV, everything was perfect.

Once kitted up we headed down to the loch to find the bay we wanted to fish flooded. Not to be dismayed we waded out into the bay. I selected a fly, clipped it onto my line and had a couple of tentative casts. Just getting into the rhythm of things, I was shaping up for another cast when I heard a frantic cry of "Andy...... Andy!!!!" behind me. I turn to see wade, his rod bending into what I thought at first was weed, but no, a tail fin appears and a splash. I couldn't believe it, less than 5 minutes into our fishing! Now, this was no whopper, but it was a fish! A tiddler by Pike standards we were both a bit nervous about landing this thing, Pike are known for their sharp teeth. Anyway, here's a picture of Wade and his quarry... Enjoy

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Amazing Prayer Answer!

I am part of the intercession team at re:hope. We give out cards every week and people fill in prayer requests and we, well.......... pray.

This monday I shared with the team about a patient of mine whom I see every wednesday. She is very ill with end-stage lung disease from smoking. Anyway, before Christmas I got into a chat with her about my faith, it was really tough, she asked a lot of tough questions. I saw her again, for the first time after Christmas, last week and she referred back to that conversation saying "your prayers didn't work..." because she was feeling quite ill. Now I have NO recollection of having promised to pray for her, but was taken aback by what she said. So this week, on Monday, we prayed.

It was the most powerful prayer time I had been in for a while, I sensed the spirit moving powerfully, and staggered a couple of times, going all jelly-legged at the weight of God's presence in the room. I prayed a prayer asking God to do a miraculous thing by making this lady well at THAT MOMENT so that when I spoke to her today, I could tell her it was God. Now this was a big prayer for me, things like this don't seem to happen, even when I ask for them, but this time I really BELIEVED God would do it, it was an amazing prayer time.

This morning at my clinic she was the last patient (as always) which means we have time to chat. I asked her how she was feeling, "much better" she says. I then ask her when she started to feel better - she replies that it was around the beginning of the week. Monday? I ask. Yes, she says, monday I just felt much better, it must be the medicine, she says. I then explain the prayer I prayed on monday and how I believe God answered that prayer and made her feel better. She was astonished and she agreed to read Marks Gospel and tell me what she thinks.

I am BLOWN away, this has never happened to me before, I don't know who was more astonished, my patient or me! It is true, God still moves in MIRACULOUS ways and he hears the prayers of His people!


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Freakin' Rad! (possibly the best week ever)

Last week was the best week of 2008 so far (not bad eh?). In fact, it probably beats every week in 2007 as well.

On Sunday 6th January, in our already freezing church, with the temps in the minuses, our jet heater broke...... Pants.

Our boiler system has been broken since we moved in - and the estimated repair costs were between £15,000 and £30,000. Then Brian states from the front of church that we WILL have heat by the following Sunday..... Oh boy. We need to pray! Anyway.... a miracle happened that week and Brian has told the story really well on his blog, read it here. Here is a picture to tantalize you!

That my friends is Glorious, our wonderful boiler that is providing heat for our church, the temperature at our last service in the main sanctuary was 21 deg C! Freakin' Rad!

Did I mention it has been cold recently? Well all that cold combined with some Scottish wet-ness resulted in a whole heap of snow falling on our beloved mountains. So on my day off on Friday, Wade and Stephen and I went up to Glencoe to do some skiing, and this is what greeted us there (click on the pictures below to see bigger versions.... you really gotta click the bottom one!)

It was an incredible day, the whole mountain was covered in powder snow which was all untouched. The first few runs of the morning were fresh tracks and seriously, if heaven is anything like this then I will be a happy man.

Last week was good, God blessed the church by showing that He continues to provide for His people against all odds. We were blessed with seeing the wonder of His creation first hand and enjoying it. It's weeks like this that just leave me lost in wonder.

All glory to God on high