Tuesday, October 25, 2005

At Long Last...

Finally! I have actually decided to sit down and update my blog. Taken long enough!
Just touching briefly on the summer, went back to good old Hong Kong to see family, friends and everyone else, which was awesome! Missing you all now that I'm back in the UK, see you all at Christmas! Fast forward to now...
So far this new academic year has gone by quite quickly but it has been, to sum it up in a word;

KILLER

They have given us a ridiculous workload on top of our normal schedules and it's only going to get worse as the term and year wears on. I don't get to eat at home about 5-6 nights of the week, things are going to have to be cut back, the question is 'what?'.
Lets try moving on from that rant, otherwise I could go on for a while... A good story for the week, let see...

Today, at 10.25 which is the Christian Union bible study/small group (to save people the reading previous posts to see what it is) we were discussing John 4. Now, normally there is quite a rigid question structure however today there seemed to be more freedom to the discussion and we touched on salvation... lets not say issues but lets say background intricacies if that makes sense. We were looking at people being 'called' / 'predestined' to be Christians and there were two points of view (mine and someone elses :P) but the underlying point was the same. My point was that God is not unjust and I can't see God throwing people into Hell due to him predestining them to be there, however the other point (which was more throwing useful verses into the discussion, thanks Adele!) was that 'the potter' has the right to shape objects for mercy and objects for of wrath. For reference, the pivotal verse here was Romans 9:21-24, specifically, 22-23. However again taking things into context, God has this right but he is also just and we must trust that he is both. I think that the answer does not lie at the extreme that he has predestined no-one to be in Heaven or Hell nor that he has sentenced people to Hell unfairly, but the true answer lies between the two. With respect to the fact he knows who will be in Heaven and in Hell, and he has created people with different purposes and it is just. So to sum it up, we are each prepared with great care for different purposes, and although we might not see some as fair from our perspective, there is more to it than we can fathom and we simply must have faith that the plan is just.
That was a big highlight for me for this week and it's only been day one! Hope you're all good, I hope to update a bit more often now, I will have more random 30 min breaks to update. Take care and God bless!

Friday, May 20, 2005

Hmmm...

Not really sure what to put in here today. Things have been good with Cell, we've been running for 5 weeks now and things have been getting better every week. We've had a lot of growth but a fair bit of inconsistency too, as to be expected around exam and deadline time.
Work has been alright, not too worried about getting through the exams thanks to God for that, just need to remember to revise and do my part. Managed to score 47% so far out of an available 60% for my electronics module, which means I've already passed, sweet :) However gotta be a good steward so still working.
Church has been good, had a good 3-4 week break from bass at the beginning of the term but it's back to the norm now. Hmm, not too good that, I feel contented with that norm, however being in a comfort zone isn't good, need to be challenged. I'll pray about that.

Last week was sheer crap, one horrible day after another. I am almost never without a smile on my face but come Friday it was fading quite visibly. I managed alright thanks to God but it was a tough week, glad he got me through it. God is good all the time and all the time God is good. Thats all folks. Goodnight

P.S. Sorry if this reads disjointed, feeling a bit 'blah' tonight despite having a good day, not sure about that either.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Back to School...

This has been a pretty manic Easter travelling all round the country. But it's been amazing for two different reasons, 1. i got to see and meet so many people, new and old alike. 2. God taught me a LOT, and I mean a LOT of stuff.
Every place I went to seemed to hold a lesson for me which was fantastic, and if you have the time I will share these revelations with you...
First of all, the first 10 days of the Easter break (5 weeks for those who are wondering, and yes it's way too long) I was in a town called Bridgnorth, with one cinema and 42 pubs (I didn't count but I got it on good authority thats accurate) no TV, no internet, limited music, no friends or relatives, parents friends but they work the whole week. Those who know me or have even just met me or seen me know I cannot stay still for long, I like to be and I am an active person. However God really educated and spoke to me through that time, through quiet times, through the silence, by turning tedium into thoughtful quiet meditation. An ability worth having I think
After that, I sped up to Manchester to stay with the soon-to-be Mrs. Coulson, otherwise known as the lovely Ms. Karen Ng. That was a great time, lots of fun, great food! Karen is an awesome cook! Also the learning experience was a somewhat practical thing in preparation for the week ahead. We left the third monday of the hols to Wales for the NEEC in Cefn Lea. This was a big conference for the North England Chinese Christian Churches (CCC) to get together and I was a counsellor for the youth (I was a good counsellor, not a wonderful counsellor... ROFL)
Now, I hadn't asked any questions about my role until the weekend before, when I asked Matt kindly informed me I was to be a counsellor for the youngest group of 12-13. My verbal reaction was of intrigue 'ohh ok' my internal reaction (sorry Matt!) was 'oh crud'. Let me be brutally honest, I am not good with kids, I have a low tolerance for them, God corrected my standing on that. I THOUGHT I had a low tolerance for them, turns out, kids rock! Who would have guessed? God must love them for a reason hey? :P It was hard to get down to basics with them especially at that age, but the practical lesson was... P.U.S.H
Pray Until Something Happens... which it did Praise the Lord! That was a real and powerful example to me of coming when you are weak, admitting you can't do it out of your own strength and the Lord responding and providing. Isn't he awesome?
So that was yet another lesson in the bag, 2 for 2 so far.
I left the following Friday for HK and got back Saturday evening. Now here is the painful lesson, life moves on, things change, and even if you know that, it doesn't mean you can just come back and instantly live with it. I'm going to be honest, the Vine is an awesome church, with amazing people, gifted leaders and a passionate congregation, and I know and fully believe God is using them mightily in Central, Hong Kong and beyond. But times have moved on, not so much for them but for me, and I no longer have the place I once had. That was hard for me, coming back and just not clicking the way before. However God turned it around and just showed me, that HK was a place of birth and growth for me, but the next stage of my life awaits me and is where I am right now, at this uni, this campus and it's where I'm gonna go through my next stage of growth and learning... and I am extreeeemely excited to see what comes next.
And thats a wrap, lots of lessons, a lot of amazement and excellent excitement. I can't wait to see what happens next and if I can remedy my inability to update regularly, you'll hear all about it. Other than all that, I'm well ;) God bless!

Monday, February 21, 2005

52%

Sorry again, it's been a long time since my last post. What can I say, I've been busy! You'd think that would give me a lot to write about....well I have a few things and I'm sure it'll all flow once I've started.
The 2nd term has gone blazingly fast, already into week 8! I can hardly believe it. So much has happened in such a short space of time. I've gotten to know some really awesome people in the last 8 weeks, somehow we managed to miss each other the whole of first term despite going to all CU meetings and the same church! Funny how things that like happen. John, Jess, Ben and Nikki, you guys have been a real encouragement and it's been (and will continue to be) awesome hanging out with you and losing sleep to talk.
I'm actually working backwards here trying to remember exactly what has been happening. A couple of weeks ago some dudes from Sheffield came down and gave a talk/brainstorming session at one of the campus buildings about cell groups (regardless of name). It challenged everyone there and gave us each a definite vision and/or purpose, all of us felt strongly in general about each of our challenges, but at the same time, we each had a specific vision that was given to each of us for a good reason. We've all been working on them since that meeting and I will say that seeds have definitely been planted and I look forward to seeing them grow.
Personally I am most disturbed by the lethargy, the complacency and general lack of passion I see on campus. Complacency breeds complacency and I feel very convicted to combat that. I've been praying and putting together some ideas that I've shared with a few people about having a positive effect on changing this. After week 4 which was Mission week 'Essential' people went back to their normal way of thinking and living, while some were left excited, wanting to do more. That is a vision myself and many others want to see fulfilled on campus, finding the things that spark people off and give them a passion for God, to want to serve and live out their lives as he has planned. Every person has a different gifting, a different personality and as such will be ignited in different ways by different things. Thats our starting point and we'll be working with that in mind over the next few weeks and next term (and onwards!).
In other news, Revelation Rock Gospel Choir (yeah!) will be performing at the Law Ball down in the Midlands at the end of this week and again for their own concert in Coventry at the end of next week. It's going to rock so if you can make either come along and check us out! Drop me a message if you're interested!

I'll finish with this thought...

What percentage of the UK don't know why Christians celebrate Easter?
...See title for answer

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Fruit Juice - #14

Yet another update, I could've sworn that the 25th wasn't that long ago but I'm told it was ages ago. Oh well.
I am back once again in the UK, Coventry is cold with a capital C.
I've been everywhere and doing everything I could possibly do in the last few weeks. On New Years Eve the Vine celebrated the New Year in style with a big worship and prayer evening called Thirst! If you were there, awesome! if you weren't I hope you had a valid reason, like you were another continent, or something along those lines! I've been two years now and I don't think there's a better way to welcome in the New Year than to worship as hard as you can. It's definitely starting the year off on the right foot, not to mention the games and hanging out are just awesome. James and myself were stunning at Knight Rider Princess, the speed and fluidity of our movements were matched only by our determination.
Derek Ma was speaking and had a very challenging message, how am I, how are you and how are we going to step into 2005 and with what attitude? I personally find this very exciting and I am raring to get stuck back in at uni and my church here. So much to do and so little time to do it in! I hope that this excited others in the same way it did for me.
I flew out on New Years Day (almost the 2nd of January tho, didn't board til 23.45) and it was probably one of the most uncomfortable flights I've ever been on. I can laugh NOW because it was so bad. First of all, those who know me (sorry there are no pics for those who don't) know I am not the smallest of people. I was flying economy, sorry! it's politically correct name is World Traveller. The seat width is not such a big deal, however the curvature of the back of the seat was incredibly tight and so my shoulders were shoved all the way forward with the middle of my back nowhere near the back of the seat. THAT was bad enough, however I was next to a dutch lady who defied the laws of physics. She was much smaller than me yet somehow she required both armrests and some of my seat space for her left elbow, to the point I'd have to ask her to move everytime I wanted to adjust the channel or volume control on my seat. For a 13-14 hour flight (stupid headwind) that is not fun. The story continues.... Come breakfast time, there's a fruit salad but only a pathetic thumbnail size teaspoon to eat it with. The first piece falls off onto my shirt, I pick it up while unconsciously tipping the bowl of fruit and fruitjuice. The juice all falls out onto my lap and starts seeping through my blanket and onto my seat and clean pair of jeans. Of course you all know, when food is on your table on an airplane, you can't get up, you're trapped. So I'm sitting in a sticky, wet mess of orange, pineapple and watermelon juice, with pineapple bits down my t-shirt, with 3-4 hrs left to go before we land and a 2 hr bus journey afterwards. Oh joy.
As I said earlier, I can laugh Now but I wasn't at all amused at the time.

I am looking forward to the next two terms, I am excited to see whats in store for me and where I can help out at CU and church. This weekend I'm going on a prayer retreat thing with the student team from my church to pray and discuss things for the next year, I am looking especially forward to that and I can't wait to see what ideas God'll lay on us this weekend.
I miss all you HK'ers loads already and the holiday seems like an age ago already. Will see you all in the summer and Hillsong!

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Post Thirteen - Merry Christmas

Well it's been more than a few weeks since my last update and it's been about 3 weeks since I got back to Hong Kong, only a week left *sniff* I can't believe my trip is over this week. It's been an eventful trip with lots of things happening, catching up with family and friends, panic purchasing for postponed presents and keeping on top of happenings here there and everywhere.
This year has been a year of great change for me, and this blog contains many of those changes that have occurred (so I won't go back into it). This holiday has been in keeping with this trend and many new things have challenged me and shifted my perspective somewhat.
Some awesome things have been shown to me this holiday. First one; I was often, sadly, preoccupied with bass, playing it, getting one/more, thoughts about it etc, not totally the detriment of things around me but enough that it often took priority over other things e.g. work, quiet times, God centred thoughts etc. However, this Christmas, long story short, my perspective altered ever so slightly for about a day while I was preoccupied with picking out a present (I asked just for a harmonica for Christmas, my mum told me to pick it out myself). "Perspectives" by Kutless sums up how I felt after that quite well.

"if your lens was changed for a moment, would you still be the same"

Could I be the same? The answer is no I couldn't. You can't ignore the truth. Every cell in our being knows the truth when we hear it, it's up to us whether we acknowledge it or not.
Suddenly things are so much clearer, I've been able to let go of being preoccupied as before, and just chill. It doesn't matter, it was a block between me and God, and now I feel so much more able of worshipping fully with and without the bass, because thats what he intended me for.
Something else great that has happened is that I've been given a few clues as to whats in store for me in the next few years. I've been asking God whats happening next quite a bit, and he's been speaking surprisingly yet unsurprisingly (if that makes any sense) quite directly through a couple of people. I don't want to say too much as it's only enough to speculate but its comforting (and exciting!) to know that the plan is in action and the next stage is ready, available and waiting.
Thats all folks, next update will be when I'm back in the UK!

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Post Twelve - Term's Up...

I thought I should make the effort to update before I head home and let you know whats running around in this skull of mine.
It's been an interesting term, it's been long on paper and short in reality. These past 10 weeks (11 since I got to the UK) have just been a blur, from arriving early in the morning at Heathrow to the midterm point where new modules started, to packing up my 'cubby hole' where my stuff can be stored, everything has just whizzed by. I've got to meet some great people at the start of the term and got to know the well in the last few weeks. I've been thoroughly enjoying the course and the company in it. It's been generally, a great 10 weeks.
Now for the nitty gritty stuff... Leaving HK brought with it it's share of challenges, for instance the climate adjustment, the fact it's dark by around 4pm every day, there are no tall buildings and the sun is exceptionally crisp. On a more serious note, there have been things I found easier and things I found harder. Working for the Vine over the summer was a great experience, it filled my summer with godly things so I didn't have to deal with ungodly junk. However here, I've been plunged right into the middle of all sorts of junk. I'm very blessed and very happy God got me sorted with certain problems like my temper (does anyone remember it?), my attitudes (I KNOW someone remembers those!), and typical guy problems before I headed off to university, otherwise I would be in deep, deep, DEEP trouble. Because of these active challenges, frequent spiritual attacks and God's faithfulness, my relationship with God is now in a much better place than at the start of the term.
This term has allowed me to experience, unshielded from friends, family, comfort zone and my own country (Long Live Hong Kong!) what the real world is like and what it means to live as a Christian in the world. I knew when I was preparing to leave, He was going to use me for something and show me something, and I think this is part of that purpose.
During the summer some of you may remember (and all of you should be told about this because it's awesome!) the vision Derek was given and that he implemented of SCP, the Summer College Program for college/university students to minister to each other and share their experiences. Well, to cut a long story short, I heard some stories that I didn't want, in a month or a term or a years time to be my own stories, I didn't want to be the one telling them at the next SCP. A quote I heard recently sums it up well,

"Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself."
- Eleanor Roosevelt

(NB: I did not hear it directly from her)
That was quite a major statement of accountability that helped me through some of the harder points of this term, if someone else has made a mistake and they share it with you, don't let it go to waste, learn from them.
There is an active bible study group here I mentioned called 10.25, that has been awesome for me, specifically for the fire it has ignited in me to know my bible better. My early new years resolution is to finish it in a year, I feel I have a better handle on the Word now, but there's still a long way to go. So many good verses!
To sum it all up, God is good... To embellish it a little more, to be challenged spiritually here by all the junk was what I needed, to be taken out of my comfort zone and stand my ground as a Christian and God has drawn near to me by me clinging to him. It has been an awesome term and I can't wait to see all you guys to tell you more and hear what you've been up to! See you all in a few days!

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Post Eleven

Yes I know, it is absolutely absurd how long I have left my blog out of date. Apologies to all. Despite the length of the time I've left it, I can't think of a lot that has happened. Lets go through it slowly, I'm sure more will crop up.
Christian Union Houseparty 2004, that was awesome we played loads of games, great sermons, awesome ministry and enjoyable company and fellowship. I was privileged to get to play with the worship teams all weekend. Felt good to get back into a groove. We played a well funny game called imaginary football, not invisible football, because that would imply there was a football that we could not see, in which case how could we play. It is a most serious and beautiful game. Will share all once I'm back.
Work has been surprising in the last few weeks, it's actually been enjoyable! Physics? Enjoyable? i hear you cry... well yes...
The maths has been challenging and the labs have been long (and challenging). I'm expending a lot of energy each week but someone (I think we know who) has been keeping me energised. This weekend though I just needed a break and did absolutely nothing. I visited Tesco's for a much needed shop and slobbed at home. Feels so good to be in charge of your own eating habits, thank goodness I got into GOOD habits before I left, otherwise I would be obese by now!
Hmmm, what else has been happening...
Christmas is fast approaching and I plan on bringing back some good ol' fashioned British chocolate. The HK chocolate isn't quite the same, so if you want any, let me know and I will do my best out of my funds to bring some back for you. There is quite a selection so be specific! I unfortunately have not got around to trying any of my favourite stuff e.g. jelly babies, liquorice allsorts, mint poppets (they seem to have vanished from the surface of the planet) and a few others.
I am looking forward to meeting up with everyone once the term ends (7 weeks have zoomed by!) and I've got that tingly feeling already, though I think that could be something else.
There's not much else that I can think of I'm afraid, time just flies by. If you want to know exactly what each of my fun physics filled days have entailed, please drop me an email or leave a comment etc etc. Sorry again, won't be long for the next one! Promise....

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Post Ten

This weekend has been quite a hectic one. Work piled up, washing loomed ahead, empty cupboards crept along and the start of a new working week arrived. Whoever guessed university would require this much work! So far, this has been a great experience and I really am confusing it with a holiday camp...with homework. Aside from the lectures and odd bits of work and commitments it really is like a big holiday with all your new mates. Its great fun and we always have a good time.
Now that I've got hooked up with the CU and plugged into a good local church things are starting to take off properly. The support from friends and the challenges from new situations is awesome. It's a little bit strange suddenly finding myself in a new country with a fairly new culture with completely new people but God has been faithful and he's got me so far and I know he's going to take me a whole new way.
The message recently, from God to me, was that I have to humble myself daily. There are going to be...odd events and strange happenings (lets put it that way) at university and that you can't be a true witness and a powerful sharer if you haven't humbled yourself. We're all sinners, and I need to fully realise and implement that in order to fulfill my role as a Christian at university. It's awesome. Cool.
This week I am looking forward to Revelation Rock Gospel Choir on Tuesday, CU meeting on Wednesday (where I'll get to serve for the first week! VERY excited) boxing on Friday, a chilled out day Saturday and Church on Sunday. The church I am going to is St John's Westwood (www.stjohnswestwood.org.uk). Tom, the Vine is extremely blessed to have you as their worship leader and with so many other talented musicians at the Vine, I have invariably said to myself at one point or another 'Ah its not the Vine'... But the worship is still great, with just the right mix of hymns and contemporary worship. I feel comfortable worshipping there and I look forward to it each week even though I have only been there a few times. I'm very happy to find that despite leaving HK that my rock hasn't changed, he's still as faithful as ever.
Drop me a line people! Miss you all, look forward to seeing you all in December!

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Post Nine

Again I apologise for the late update, I should be able to manage them weekly now, seeing as this is a Saturday and I'm more likely to have time for it today rather than any other day. News of the week, my bass arrives on Tuesday. I did not trust the baggage handlers at Heathrow, so purchasing a reasonably priced one was the best option. It is virtually identical to the black Fender jazz I play when I'm home (long live Hong Kong!) just some minor cosmetic differences on the neck. I'm looking forward to getting some grooves down. Other news, I've started boxing again. They have a thai boxing society here and boy does it feel good to let loose again. Lets hope I don't screw up my back again. CU is awesome, met up with a lot of great people, found a nearby church which I am going to the evening service of this weekend (I went to the morning service last Sunday however I want to try to the evening service and see how it is) I will surely check out a few more e.g. Vineyard Coventry! And a few others. Warwick ALSO have a rock gospel choir which is awesome! Given I had a cold first time I went and I managed to stay in key :P I will hopefully keep that up too.
On a more personal note, university work and activities are starting to take their toll physically. Lack of sleep on certain nights and less time to cook in the evenings consequently give me less time to myself as I just manage to keep up with my university tasks. Jason was discussing with me earlier this week, how the massive amount of time spent working, socialising and just generally surviving at university can be detrimental to our spiritual walk. I've been able to spend some time every day (bar a few days, and those days SUCKED!) just getting some prayer or worship or feelings out, vocally, in prayer or on paper. Which makes me feel a lot better. The good thing is about this is that it's taken me out of my comfort zone and is showing me areas I've found a need to work on. Which is good!
Right a few messages to people;
Tom, I didn't get a copy of your CD before I left, I'd love to buy one if you could find the time to send one.
Derek, Reply! Also I hear Gabby is interning at 180, I'm delighted to hear that news! Let me know how the mission trip went too!
Mandy, I hope all is well with you! Could you add me to the Vine mailing list please? I'd like to keep up to date with whats happening.
Luke, I remember getting an email from you saying your email had changed, could you Tag your new one up so I can mail you! Hope you are good buddy!
Ryan, what was your blondest moment?
Mark N, James, Pam, Chrissy, Dan, Patsy and other people who I'm sorry if I didn't mention, I'm looking forward to catching up with you sometime this in the near future! Please drop me an email or call me (this goes for HK people too!!) on 07792 605035.
Everyone who will be in HK at Christmas, see you in a month and a bit!