How to break a record today!

k7flipDuring our recent holiday in the Lake District, we saw two exhibitions dedicated to Malcolm and Donald Campbell. The first at the Lakeland Motor Museum had replicas of the Bluebird cars of father and son and the Bluebird K7 boat in which latter lost his life. More poignant, at the Ruskin Museum, were the various fragments of the actual Bluebird boat recovered from Coniston Water after Donald’s crash trying to keep his grasp of his own World Water Speed Record. This display in the village of Coniston also had his helmet and flying suit recorded with his remains in 2001. It is sad to think that when his boat literally became airborne from the glass-like surface of the water he was already travelling faster than any other human being afloat at over 300 mph.

Almost as sad is that this doomed yet heroic attempted seemed to close a era of the daring individual in favour of large teams  of specialists. For I suspect we shall never see such lone endeavours again.

But there is a lesson here for every congregation across Scotland. For the epoch of going it alone has definitely closed for them too. For if we are to face down and conquer the challenges ahead we will team work; team work of a whole congregation contributing their skills and abilities, teamwork of congregations helping across the whole tapestry of the Church’s community and teamwork of all denominations to witnessing the reality of Christ’s kingdom in its communal  word and deed.

 

At the Ruskin Museum I met an Australian who had seen Donald Campbell the day before his successful first attempt at the water record. He said he always regretted not going to see this feat the next day. Let us then not have any regrets of making insufficient efforts now at teamwork since then we will not miss our own record breaking for the gospel’s sake.

 

 

Read if you are in a dark place!

Carlyle Marney was one of the great preachers in the Southern states of America during the time after the Second World War. He was a mentor and role model to many ministers. One of the stories attributed to the rich legacy he left behind took place on a seminary campus where he was invited to be the speaker for a distinguished lectureship. One of the students asked, “Dr. Marney let us hear you say a word or two about the meaning of the resurrection.” It was a fair question and an appropriate one from a future preacher to one who was already a great practitioner of the art of preaching. However the young  students were taken aback by Marney’s response. Dr. Marney replied, “I will not discuss that with people like you.” Continue reading

Poem for times of trouble

I found this on my Facebook page today:

 

We who were once far off,9994-sunrise-at-orvieto-umbria-italy-free-landscape-and-scenic-desktop_531x331
who wandered as if
in a wilderness,
searching for water,
desperate for shade,
now rest in your embrace,
feast on your word,
drink from a well
that will never run dry,
and have found the place
we were searching for,
as Christ has brought us home.

How to fly in faith

wright_brothersDon’t’ you really admire inventors who to put their lives on the line for their idea. This was certainly the case for two staunchly Christian brothers. They were of course Orville and Wilbur Wright. For these two American brothers, inventors, and aviation pioneers are credited with  inventing the world’s first successful aeroplane.  Whilst some dispute this, certainly they are believed to have made he first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight.

This was on 17 December  1903, it lasted 12 seconds and the aircraft  with Orville on board got a mere 120 feet. Talk about putting your money where your mouth is – for Orville and on the next 3 flights Wilbur could have been killed or seriously injured.

However such faith did not come quickly  or easily. Since the brothers started their leap into the unknown  when they gained the mechanical skills by working for years in their shop with printing presses, bicycles, motors, and other machinery. From 1900 until  their first powered flights 3 years later, they conducted extensive glider tests.They even built a small wind tunnel to gather more accurate data than any before, enabling them to design more efficient wings and propellers.

Put another way, invention like faith is 99% perspiration, 1% inspiration and a dash of panache for good measure!

 Here then is a reminder of how we deal with faith in our lives.

For if recently that flame has burned low or you feel a bit distant from God then remember to make the effort to phone home.

Remember to look persistently for Christ’s presence in your lives.

Remember like all relationships, it takes elbow grease to keeping it working.

Yet even more important,  it really does help, also to go flying with it.

Since there is no greater builder of certainty  than actually doing something novel, exhilarating even risky only in trust.

Have a good flight today! iss028e015556_small

Sparing a thought for those in peril..

During the British National Suicide Prevention week spare a thought and a prayer for those who suffer so badly they would take their own life.

 

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Can you ever forget this story?

This is one of the most memorable stories  I have ever heard! It comes in Katheleen O’Sullivan’s superb book Light out of Darkness in a chapter on A listening experience:

christmas-332When I began to write about ‘listening’ I felt urged in prayer to go out among the people and listen. I went into a fish-and-chip shop. The space was very limited. It was a bitterly cold day. Perhaps the cold made us a pretty soulless group of people. I was trying to listen. There seemed to be little communication between us. I smiled at a little girl who was splashing vinegar on her chips. For a moment, her mother half looked and half smiled at me. We were there seemingly for one purpose only, to get our food, to get home and be comfortable. I felt depressed as I listened.

Suddenly I became aware of a change in the atmosphere. Continue reading

How to get a fresh start

photo_1032_20060207Taking of fresh starts, I can remember nearly every moment of that day in June of 1995. It was warm day and I was in the Navy. I had been reasonably successful and was looking forward to another 12 years of a career I enjoyed. However, that day as I walked across to see my boss I was slightly apprehensive. For I knew a series of redundancies was being announced. I had come to the conclusion if I was to be made redundant he would giving me the news there and then. I had even come to the conclusion that if I went to his office and he had a brown envelope on his desk, my number was up. Continue reading