The Bible is NOT a manual for Christian living, full of step by step self help guides. The Bible is all about Jesus, and its purpose is to continually point us towards him.
And the verse that Mike points to is Jesus saying just that.
You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.
There is no life in the words themselves, and so there is no life in the instructions you find in the Bible. The law does not bring us life.
So then what exactly are we supposed to do with the law? Well Jesus has answered that for us as well, the law is supposed to point us to him, where there is life. In Jesus we have the power to keep God’s law, outside of him we have no power at all. So when I said before that the Bible wasn’t a step by step self help guide, I wasn’t really being accurate. The Bible is a one step self help guide, and that step is towards Jesus, the only person who can actually help us.
So often I want the Bible to be more (or rather, less) than what it is. What I really want is the Bible to tell me exactly what to do to fix all the problems in my life, how precisely to become a better person. But when I read the Bible, it doesn’t offer me what I want, it simply points out my helplessness and turns me back towards Jesus.
Where the Bible contains an instruction, I have a choice. I can admit that I can’t really obey it and throw myself on Jesus, or I can pretend that I can obey it and fail miserably. My initial reaction is usually to do the latter, clearly the former is a better choice.
I’m not usually one for making new years resolutions. I am of the general opinion that if I’m going to make a change I might as well make it here and now instead of waiting for January 1st! I’m also of the opinion that if I set out a list of “things to do” over the next year, I will invariably either fail to do them, or simply forget I made the list in the first place.
Nevertheless, after a very pleasant week in Nottingham with my family (including three and a bit day trips to see extended family), I have returned to Leicester inspired to take up again a couple of activities which I have neglected for a long time.
Spending time with people
I managed to plough through the harrowing but excellent We need to talk about Kevin during the break and have been reminded just how much I enjoy reading. It’s not like I haven’t done much reading this year, what with all my Relay study material, but I haven’t finished off a fiction book for a very long time.
I can’t say I did masses of exercise during the break, but I was up and about doing stuff some days, and the difference between that and staying in the house all day was surprisingly noticeable. It’s really no wonder I have trouble with my sleeping patterns when I do sometimes just sit in my house drinking tea for an entire day.
The best thing by far about the Christmas holiday though is that I had a chance to see my family (lots of them!) and just hang out. I really enjoyed the numerous games of scrabble we played, and the chance to catch up on what people had been up to since I last saw them. I do sometimes fail to do the whole quality time thing with my friends, and it really isn’t difficult, especially when I don’t spend all my free time sitting in front of a computer (yes, I know, irony has just slapped me in the face).
My house was burgled last night whilst I was down in Oxford with two of my housemates at a friends wedding. I’m not really bothered to be honest, but my computer was stolen so I don’t have ready access to the internet for the time being.
If for some reason you need to contact me, the phone would be your best bet.
As I walked home from the train station the other night I was thinking about how I travel. In the past my general approach to travelling has been to get there as quickly as possible, because the destination is the most important thing. I have now come to the conclusion that rushing to get somewhere is a bit of a rubbish thing to do. So I have devised a set of things which I should try to do whenever I’m going somewhere. These collective things will constitute strolling, which is different from just plain walking and certainly not the same as rushing to get somewhere.
Strolling should not be done too quickly.
When strolling, you should take the time to actually look at your surroundings and try to really take them in.
To show other people that you are strolling, you should smile and say hello to them
When strolling you must not worry about what time you will arrive (which means you should probably set off extra early)
At some point during your stroll, you should pause to thank God for something beautiful you have seen (if you are paying attention this won’t be difficult!).
At least some of these principles can be applied to other methods of travel too, especially public transport.
On top of this, encouraged to break out of the British mould by this post by Dave Bish, I have been chatting with people quite a bit when I’m using public transport. I have been very surprised at just how easy it is to chat with people, and how much happier people look when they’re given the chance to talk to people instead of having to sit silently for the whole journey!
Strolling and chatting have given me a much greater appreciation of the world around me, and of the people around me. I would heartily recommend them both to you!
Last night I had a really weird dream. I dreamt that I was Logan from Logan’s Run, this was weird in itself as I haven’t seen the film in a really long time and there was no particular reason for me to have been dreaming about it. It was made even stranger by the fact that during the dream there was a concert happening in the city and Tinyfolk were headlining. I think my hand thingy had turned red at this point so I was running away and had to miss it, which I was pretty gutted about.
Anyway, if you haven’t already you should definately watch Logan’s Run because it’s an excellent film. Apparently a remake is currently in production and imdb says it’s due for release in 2010. I have an awful feeling they are going to do terrible things to an excellent story, but I guess it could turn out OK.
It’s the end of April, which means I have just short of 4 months before I being Relay. For those who aren’t aware, I am about to finish my Masters and next year I’m sticking around Leicester Uni and working (voluntarily) for UCCF on their year out called Relay. If you want to find out a little more about the year here is a brief overview of it from the UCCF website.
The first challenge of the year is that it is completely voluntary, which means I have to raise all the money I will need to survive a year on my own. UCCF recommends that Relay workers aim to raise between £4000 and £6000, and judging on my outgoings from the past four years at uni I am certainly targeting the upper end of that range. Thankfully I do have a bit of a headstart on this already as I have been working during the holidays, and will be working from July until Relay begins. In theory (although I haven’t sat down and created a budget for any of this time) this will leave me with around £1500 in the bank at the start of the year without any other peoples support. Of course that leaves me with a deficit of £4500 for the year, so this is still slightly scary!
One of the things I intend to set up before I begin Relay is a newsletter which I will e-mail out to people semi-regulary which will contain a general update on what I’ve been doing and some prayer points for anyone willing to support me in that way. Another rather important step I need to take quite soon is to get a general letter written up explaining what I’m up to next year to give to all those lovely people I know who I don’t have contact with over the internet. Technology is great and all, but it’s easy to neglect people because I rely on it so much!
The other important step I need to take is coming up with fundraising ideas. It would be rather pathetic of me to not do something exciting with myself in an effort to raise money, but I’m not feeling very imaginative at the moment so any wacky suggestions would be appreciated.
There was a bit of talk yesterday at work regarding what we could do this morning for april fools. In the end noone bothered, although it has been mentioned a few times in passing.
What did happen a little while ago though, was that during our lunch break Andy was browsing YouTube, and was subject to their April fools prank. The prank was that all of the videos on the front page were fake and led to a single video of Rick Astley’s never gonne give you up. In short, I image thousands of people today have been Rick Rolled. I rather enjoyed the confusion on Andy’s face, but I refrained from explaining to him what had just happened. I suspect my geekiness would not go down too well in the office…
Since posting this, I read a few webcomics, and none other than Bunny managed to get me. As a result of this, I have also just discovered that XKCD also rick rolled me a little while ago and I didn’t even realise it! I <3 the internet!
I’ve been a little slack in writing recently, and I really ought to have kept up with the magical case entries. I shall endeavour to do some more of them in the near future.
As for right now, I’m back working at AVS during the Easter break which is great. Work has been a little slow recently but I’m assured it will pick up in the next week or so, although next week when the conference work is a little heavier I’m actually going to be away in Wales for New Word Alive, which is very exciting! I shall be spending the week in a caravan with 5 other guys from Leicester and getting some excellent teaching from the likes of Terry Virgo, Don Carson and John Piper.
In my last entry I talked about my new guitar, and I’ve been spending a bit of time learning to play worship music with it. It’s rather odd having to learn to play music in a completely different style, having learnt to play classical piano I’m quite good at sight reading and tend to rely on having music in front of me when I’m playing anything. Playing the guitar for worship is very different! I have a few chords and that’s about it, working out exactly where the chord changes come and how the strumming should sound is entirely up to me, and it is rather tricky sometimes. I have a lot to thank my Mum for though, she gave me a couple of really useful pointers which have made things much easier.
In other news, Jon has come back to Leicester so I’m not on my own in the house anymore which is nice. I also managed to muster up enough energy and motivation to actually cook some proper food last night too, so I have a tub of lovely stuff in the fridge ready to eat up, yum! I really need to get back into the habit of cooking regularly. I really enjoy cooking and eating, and even more so when I have friends round, so if you want some munch then drop by my house one evening!
One last note; on Saturday my dear friends Mark and Susanna are getting married! I’m very excited, and will almost certainly write something about it at the weekend when I get home.
Term ended last week and since then I was supposed to do 4 days of work, unfortunately I wasn’t very well during the week so I missed two days. Thankfully I’m feeling much better now having had a few days to rest and recover.
Yesterday I went to see my Grandparents in Melton, we sat in their lounge for the afternoon chatting about all sorts of things which is always rather good fun! We had lunch and tea there before heading up to Nottingham for about 6pm. Today we went to the farmers market in the morning and I bought Chris his birthday present (only a month late!), which consisted of a tea egg and two types of tea, some russian caravan and some green tea which looked interesting. We also picked up some blue cheese, some fair trade olive oil, a selection of fancy olives and 6 duck eggs. The farmers market in West Bridgford is very posh!
After the market I went into town with my Mum and we spent a little while looking at guitars. Initially I wasn’t planning on buying one at easter, this was just a chance to go and try some out and get some idea of prices and all that jazz. What happened though was we went to a shop called The Music Inn and there was a very helpful guy in there who told me a little about the guitars they had and pointed me to some good ones to try. I played a couple and we decided that one of them was really good, but the guy told us to sit down, relax, and play lots of them and generally take our time. We spent probably half an hour just messing around on all sorts of guitars from all price ranges (I even played on one worth over £1000) and decided that the one I had liked initially was the best. It was so good in fact that I bought it, so now I own a really nice guitar! Because I love big willy so much, and he has named his guitar Jade, I feel I must also give me guitar an appropriately obvious name, and so I shall refer to it as Faith from now on. It even has it’s name emblazoned on the head so I won’t forget!
Now I can finally give Jon his guitar back, and I suppose I ought to start learning to play some sensible music instead of just messing around like I normally do.