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Christian Vision For men

Never Ever Give Up

One of the things that I love about any testimony, no matter how amazing or how much of a visible transformation there is, are the guys who are often in the background, never giving up. They knew that what the person really needed was Jesus and they stuck at it, often for years without seeing any results.

It’s easy to want to give up. Sometimes I don’t feel like doing the unselfish thing. I want to just lie on the couch and watch TV. I don’t want to do one more thing today. I don’t want to handle another problem. But just because I don’t feel like it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t do it.

Sometimes I don’t feel like praying or reading my Bible. But I do it. I’ve found that if the only time I pray is when I feel like it, the devil makes sure I never feel like it. If the only time I read my Bible is when I feel like it, the devil makes sure I never feel like it. Maturity is when you live your life by your commitments, not by your feelings.

Often the difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is that successful people are willing to do what unsuccessful people don’t feel like doing. They develop habits. They stay committed. You don’t get to the Olympics because you feel like it. You get to the Olympics through hours and hours of training that you didn’t feel like doing. You don’t get to become a master musician without hours and hours of rehearsal that you probably didn’t feel like doing all the time.

In the same way, you don’t become a godly man by simply doing what you feel like doing. Godly men choose to develop the habits that produce godliness in their lives. It’s not any easier than working out or dieting or rehearsing or anything else that may be good for you but you don’t feel like doing.

But the big question is how do we develop this kind of persistence? I believe the key is to not to look at your problem or the challenge but at God. One of the greatest examples in the Bible of persistence and not giving up can be seen in the life of Moses.

Moses was chosen by God to lead the Israelites out of Egypt into the Promised Land, a job he didn’t really want in the first place. 10 times he had to ask Pharaoh to let his people go before he finally agreed, only for him to change his mind and send his army after them.

I don’t know about you but I think would be tempted to give up after 4 or 5 attempts!

Then of course God parts the Red Sea and allows them to finally escape and reach the desert. For 40 years, he led a group of crying, squabbling, complaining babies around the desert while they questioned his leadership the entire time. Yet he never gave up.

And let’s not forget that this adventure started when Moses was 80 years old!

I love what Hebrews 11:27 says about Moses, “It was faith that made Moses leave Egypt without being afraid of the king’s anger. As though he saw the invisible God, he refused to turn back”. Moses “saw the invisible God.” He kept his eyes fixed firmly on God and stuck to the task that God entrusted in him.

So I want to encourage you to think of the guys in your life who need to know Jesus and start praying for them. Seek opportunities to share the Gospel with them and most importantly never, ever give up. Who knows what God will do with that life!

Image credit: Photo by Quinn Dombrowski / CC BY 2.0

Toddler Tragedy: The Disfigurement of Dignity

Shortly after Sgt Mehmet Ciplak picked up the toddler, snapshots from the moment – one that he’ll never forget – bombarded the world. The powerful photographs prompted a furious outcry. The boy was just a toddler. His family were searching for peace after their country had been torn apart. Their European future, awfully close, would never be.

Toddler Tragedy: The Disfigurement of Dignity

Through the politics, and the opinions, and the protestations, and the answer-searching melee that consumed the online-world, the reality of the situation pierced through it all. The little boy had died and it was a tragedy.

Sadly it is a tragedy all too common but too little observed by those of us far from the epicentre of this horror. But on that day we took note. That son could have easily been our own. The innocence of youth shouted louder than our grown-up arguments. We were moved; we were shamed.

The episode was deeply emotional. Too emotional, perhaps, if that were possible. Accompanying the images, in suit, were the comments and the opinions. The deep and traumatic feelings we experienced at first were later replaced by a haunting suspicion that maybe we had missed something before. Mediterranean deaths aren’t new. Families looking for their future across the sea aren’t new. This tragedy wasn’t original.

We pause to process and our reason catches up to our emotion, like the shy child at primary school who is finally heard after the kid on too much sugar crashes. We reason that our emotion is getting the better of us and we ought to bring everything in to balance. We should consider the wider problem etc. We won’t be hijacked by our emotions, we muse.

But the picture of the boy on the beach doesn’t go away. Artists memorialise him and ensure that he is not forgotten.

The little boy died and that is tragic. It is tragic because he was valuable. He was valuable to his family – to his brother, and his parents. He was valuable to his wider community; he may have even been a part of the rebuilding of his country one day. He was valuable to his never-met host country that would have played home to him for a while.

But his value was so much more than that. This little boy was valuable because he was a little boy; he was a human being. We may reflect our value as humans by the way we love, the way we work, the way we help others, but our intrinsic value is not in what we do but in our very being. When tragedy strikes a fellow human, something inside of us breaks for them because deep down we realise the wrongness of the marring of something so dear.

It was right and appropriate for the watching world to catch its breath and experience a sliver of the pain of this boy’s life. It was right to be shocked and to be shamed. One of our own had died.

Our emotional responses to pictures of suffering point us to the felt reality of our inherent value. Our reason then asks questions of this. How and why are we valuable? What determines our dignity?

It seems to me that we have three options here: we can say that human beings aren’t valuable (pessimistic and dangerous); or human beings are valuable because we say so (wishful thinking); or human beings are valuable because they have been ascribed value (unconditional). History will tell us that the first option has been tried often, and supressed entire nations. The second option is where most of us are probably at now (often a position taken because we don’t like the former). But the third option – commonly rejected out of hand – is truly interesting. If our experiences in this world point to a value that we can’t properly define, shouldn’t our search for meaning ought to look to loftier realms?

If the clues lead us to investigate an area that we don’t want to go, shouldn’t we rethink our underlying assumptions and motives? Europe – by and large – doesn’t ‘do God’. But the outpouring of grief over this tragic loss suggests perhaps, deep down, it so desperately wants to.

Stirred not shaken!

We have all heard the apparently encouraging phrases that we are supposed to live by when life kicks us hard, you know the ones I mean.

“If you get knocked down seven times, get up eight times.”
“What defines us is how well we rise again after falling.”
“Turn a setback into a comeback!”

And of course who could forget the famous song from Chumbawamba, ‘Tubthumping’, that reached the dizzy heights of number 2 in the UK singles chart.

“I get knocked down. But I get up again. You’re never going to keep me down”

None of us goes through life without getting knocked down at some point, whether it be redundancy, money or health issues, family troubles or much more simpler things like planning events for guys and no one turns up. No matter what it is that kicks right in the gut and sends us to our knees the above inspirational quotes or even the rousing Chumbawamba song don’t really help you get back up, at worst they can push you further down.

Following Jesus isn’t a calling to an easy life, or one without troubles. It hits our wallets, our time and our commitments. We’re going to stand out and at times be ridiculed for what we believe.

Jesus warned us in John 16:33 that we would have trouble in this life and in Matthew 16:24-26 he commanded us to take up our cross daily and follow him. So it’s clear that troubles and knockdowns are ahead of us.

When I am knocked don by any situation, big or small, there is only one place I turn and that’s God’s Word. The Bible is full of inspiration and promises from God that help me get back to my feet. Whether it be stories about great men and women of faith rising up again after a fall or declarations straight from God himself, they are much better than any inspirational quotes or rousing songs for giving me the confidence to stand once again and have another go for Jesus.

The confines of this blog don’t allow me to share all of God’s promises in His Word but let me finish by sharing just one that has been a source of inspiration and encouragement to me in times when I have been down but not out.

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. James 1:12

You see the enemy wants to shake your faith but God wants to stir it up.

Matt Adcock meets ‘Captive’ star David Oyelowo


As the gripping new crime drama Captive hits the UK, Matt Adcock caught up with the lead star in London … (read Matt’s review of the film)

M.  Why in world where we’re told people are disillusioned with God did you decide to make this film that has a Christian book at its core?

527034041_640D. Because I don’t necessarily agree with that assessment. Never more has been more of a need for redemption – hope and finding out what God really is: which is Love… The two people in the film are not pursuing God but find that faith, grace and redemption intersect with them in this very dark situation that they find themselves in…

M.  In the film there is a line where Brian describes himself as having a ‘demon in him’ – what are your thoughts on that?

D. Well, I’m a producer on the film and it was a line that I wanted in the film even though it was not in the original script. But he said that, it’s in Ashley’s book, he talked about feeling that he felt he had been possessed by a demon.

For me personally there is a physical, emotional life and a spiritual life and Brian had engaged in a very dark spiritual space to do what he did… He was taken over by something to do what he did – you can’t not have that in the movie.

M.  Could anyone have the capacity to act as Nichols did if pushed?

Movie-Captive-Star-David-Oyelowo-Interview-At-Rocking-Gods-House-2D. I don’t think everyone has it in them to be a murderer but we all have buttons within us and personalities whereby through nurture maybe nature – we can go to places that are fundamentally the opposite of ‘Godly’. You know ‘sin is sin’ – and I really struggled with playing a murderer.

M. You were scarily convincing can I just say

D. Why thank you, but I could identify (as a father of four) with the notion of being kept away from my children and what that could elicit within me, so there are things that can come along and push you to do things that you probably didn’t know were within you to do.

No one knows how they will react in situations like that but grace is grace and God is God.

M. Do you think believers invest their time in overtly faith based films or just maybe ‘be’ Christians in wider films?

D. For me, I am not interested in preaching to the choir – I feel that anything that has an overt agenda cannot be good storytelling or art – it should be thought provoking rather than leading you to a clear agenda ridden opinion on the basis of the person who created the art. For me I want to make films that make you look at your life… and are films that even if you don’t come from a place of faith you can watch it and get something from it – even it’s just entertainment value.

M. How much did you have to work out physically for the role?

captiveD. Yeah, that was painful. Brian Nichols was an ex football player so was a big guy and I, as much as possible, especially when you play an actual person you’ve got to get as much of an assimilation of the real person as possible…

You also want to play on the audience’s prejudices. You have this big black man who kills four people and then takes this diminutive white woman hostage, that does all kinds of things to your prejudices whether you’re black or white. And as a black person I was like ‘Do I really want to play the black guy who goes and murders people?’  but ultimately it was the humanity  of the people involved that came out…

So yes it was a lot of time in the gym, a lot of work but my wife was very happy with it!

M. Thank you so much.


Click this banner to find and download some fantastic additional resources that explore the issues raised in CAPTIVE from @EthosMedia

FILM: Captive (12a)


Dir Jerry Jameson

Starring:  David Oyelowo, Kate Mara, Michael K. Williams, Mimi Rogers , Leonor Varela

Reviewed by Matt Adcock – read: Matt’s interview with David Oyelowo

“I have a demon inside me” Brian Nichols

How far do you have to go before you’re considered ‘beyond redemption’? That’s a key question at the heart of Captive, the impressive fact based crime drama based on hostage victim Ashley Smith’s account: Unlikely Angel.

The plot follows the heart-wrenching impact on two desperate people’s lives when convicted felon Brian Nichols (David ‘Martin Luther King in Selma’ Oyelowo) kidnaps drug addict Ashley Smith (Kate ‘Fantastic Four’ Mara). We get to witness a tense long night of the soul as Nichols holds Smith captive in her home after murdering four people during a frantic escape from the court (where he had just been convicted of rape). As a massive police manhunt rages across the State, Nichols lies low and finds himself interacting with Smith in ways that will potentially change both their lives.

A gritty true crime kidnap-em-up, Captive is at first glance a somewhat unlikely candidate to be a film that carries a heavyweight plug for the power of redemption featuring Christian Pastor Rick Warren’s best-selling book: The Purpose Driven Life. But much like the suitcase McGuffin in Pulp Fiction, Warren’s ‘Christian life motivation tome’ is an interesting element of the plot, which is used sparingly to thought provoking effect.

Director Jameson keeps the action tight and is aided by the powerful interaction of the two leads as they explores issues of including spiritual darkness, desperation and yes redemption but not in an overly saccharine preachy way. Mara is excellent as the twitchy troubled Smith whilst Oyelowo is simply outstanding as the mentally disturbed, psychotic Nichols, who believes that he is fighting a one-man war against his oppression.

Captive provides a strong depiction of two lost souls finding an understanding around their common ground of each having estranged children, which allows their humanity to seep through.

There is strong support from Mimi Rogers as Smith’s aunt who has custody of her daughter and Michael K. Williams as Detective John Chestnut – the lead investigator on the Police task force (who channels the energy of Wesley Snipes at his most dynamic).

Even as film shot through with spiritual energy you should be prepared for scenes of hard drug use and a truly brutal massacre that isn’t an easy watch.

Captive is an intense and tragic thrill ride that will leave you with much to contemplate. Highly recommended.

Thinking material:

Ashley-Smith-recounts-hostage‘The greatest tragedy is not death, but life without purpose.’ This is a quote from The Purpose Driven Life – the book that plays such an interesting role in the film Captive. It’s fascinating because although (spoiler ahead) the book affects Nichols’ thinking and could be shown to have helped set him on the path to a peaceful surrender, it is only one element. There are undoubtedly other factors at work including the fatherly bond this killer has in wanting to see his newborn son and even the ‘coming down’ from the meth drug that he takes in the film during the night.
What is awesome however is that God can work through many and varied factors – both those that seem ‘obvious’ such as the passages of the Christian book but also the associated circumstances. e.g. why Nichols picked Smith’s apartment to hole up in at all.
(end of spoilers)

We should never count out the seemingly incidental things that can lead to people’s lives being changed, it doesn’t necessarily have to mean that you go buy 20 copies of The Purpose Driven Life and give them to your family and friends (although it probably wouldn’t hurt). Just being open to the situations of others around you is a great start – you never know how or when something you say or do could have an unexpected and life changing effect.

CVM Rating: **** 4 out of 5 stars

Related Films:  there’s not much else like this out there!?


Click this banner to find and download some fantastic additional resources that explore the issues raised in CAPTIVE from @EthosMedia

Cereal box toy poppers

If you grew up in the eighties as I did, you might recall certain toys and items of clothing that bring back a great sense of nostalgia. Like my Naff Naff Co shell suit jacket, portable CD player that had to be kept laser level to play a CD, and Reebok pumps.

Well anyway, I was praying this morning and had a picture of this little beauty, the cereal box rubber popper. Remember those gems? We would open a cereal box with much excitement and anticipation and inside was a rubber dome shape called the ‘rubber popper.’ In the adverts as the blond haired kid poured his breakfast the toy neatly fell into his bowl, but in reality my bro and I would rip the box apart as soon as mum brought it home from shopping.

You would push this dome inside out and set it down on a variety of surfaces and wait for the pop. They really would go too, depending on the size and surface it would regularly be hindered by the ceiling on its upward journey.

Here’s the point; as I was praying I remembered someone in our family who had recently passed away. It was really sudden, talking and getting on with stuff at home and then gone in an instant.
The Bible talks about how quickly life happens, maybe you have sensed that yourself. As I look at my kid’s lives and my life, 36 years have gone fast.
‘Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is.You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Everyone is but a breath, even those who seem secure.’ Psalm 39:3-5

Back to the rubber popper, and the prayer. I am asking God to turn me inside out, not literally, but to push me and mold me so that I am like that rubber popper. Once God has set me right and on the right surface, HIS chosen place and surfaces – boom!
Let’s be men who surrender to God’s hand unconditionally. Ask him to work on you and turn things inside out so you’re not just sitting in the box. You’re primed and ready to go.
When that popper goes it really goes. Let’s be men who make a Kingdom impact, men who for the short time we have give everything. Let’s not hit that ceiling and fade away, let’s keep going. Dream big, think big, pray big, see God do big things in us, around us and through us.

Image credit: Photo by Greg Goebel / CC BY 2.0

14 Books on Apologetics Worth Reading

Apologetics Books You Should Be Reading

A couple of years ago we highlighted some apologetics books worth reading. As we were putting the finishing touches to the new Demolition Squad apologetics book (out next month!) we thought it would be good to include a list of further, recommended reading.

Here is that list for you. 14 apologetics books, across different subjects, with our thoughts on each one. Our hope is that these will serve you well as you communicate Jesus to those around you.

Books on General Apologetics

Reasonable Faith

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Reasonable Faith by William Lane Craig

One of the books on apologetics, Craig’s ‘Reasonable Faith’ is a standard-setter. Covering many topics (including: miracles, reliability of Scripture, the Resurrection of Jesus) this is a go-to book for solid answers for the truth of the Christian message.

When Skeptics Ask

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When Skeptics Ask by Norman Geisler & Ron Brooks

A collection of answers to frequent apologetics questions, arranged in clear sections, ‘Skeptics’ is a fantastic reference tool for grasping the structure of a response to a particular question. It offers good insight to many objections and if you buy it you will open it often. 

The Reason for God

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The Reason for God by Tim Keller

Tim Keller has a wonderful ability to make sense of the Christian faith, and communicate it well to thinking people. The answers provided cover much ground and do so with great skill and persuasive power. ‘The Reason for God’ at once both highlights great answers to tough questions, but also – and perhaps more valuably – demonstrates how to deliver these answers in our modern society.

Books on Apologetics Strategy

Mere Apologetics

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Mere Apologetics by Alistair McGrath

McGrath became a Christian at University, going on to study Theology after completing a doctorate in molecular biophysics. These twin-strands of Science and Religion helped to enable him to reply to modern critics, such as Richard Dawkins, with strong and reasonable refutations. Over the years, McGrath has built up a great wealth of experience in how to deploy convincing Apologetics arguments, and this book bears some of the fruit of that.


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Tactics by Greg Koukl

Koukls’ ‘Tactics’ is a well-received book that is a helpful guide for the Christian engaging in apologetics. The goal is always to win the man – the argument comes second to this – which requires skill, patience, love, and a little cunning. ‘Tactics’ helps us to bring the art of apologetics to bear in a winsome, and Christ-like way.

Books on Objections from Science

God's Undertaker

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God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God? by John Lennox

John Lennox takes on one of the more popular objections to Christianity, by responding to arguments from Science in this book. As Professor of Mathematics at the Oxford University, Lennox is well positioned to speak credibly on this topic and does so with skill, insight, and helpful observations. Lennox is able to bring complex ideas to the table that makes them accessible to all of us, all the while ensuring that the sharp edge of the rebuttals he provides aren’t lost.

Where The Conflict Really Lies

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Where The Conflict Really Lies by Alvin Plantinga

Plantinga will be remembered as a man who undergirded much of the high-calibre philosophy done in the second half of the 20th Century and early 21st. This renaissance period for Christian philosophy saw the return of Christians to the cutting edge of the discipline, contributing fresh, deep thinking of the highest order. This recent book (2011) from Plantinga incorporates much of the best thinking on the interaction between Science and Faith, put into laymen’s terms. It’s not the easiest of reads, but the reader who persists will be rewarded by penetrating insight into the heart of the matter, revealing that the centre of the conflict may not be where many currently caught in the fighting assume it is.

Books on the Problem of Pain

Why Suffering?

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Why Suffering?: Finding Meaning and Comfort When Life Doesn’t Make Sense by Ravi Zacharias & Vince Vitale

The problem of pain is a multi-faceted problem and as such requires a multitude of answers to cover the different angles. Vince Vitale and Ravi Zacharias assemble thoughtful responses to this age-old problem and build a strong, layered case for the Christian response in Jesus.


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Why? by Sharon Dirckx

Sharon Dirckx intersects her answers in ‘Why?’ with real-life stories of people who have experienced suffering. By arranging the book this way, the reader grips the felt problem alongside the logical problem of evil, which is a great way to tackle the issue.

Read our full review of ‘Why?’ here.

God and Evil

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God And Evil: The Case For God In A World Filled With Pain Ed. Chad Meister & James K. Dew Jr.

This collection of essays (19 in all) introduces the reader to a variety of answers from some of the best authors on the subject today. A little more work is required then other popular-level books, but there is a huge amount to be learnt from ‘God And Evil’ and it comes highly recommended.

Books on the Character of God

Is God A Moral Monster?

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Is God A Moral Monster? by Paul Copan

If you’ve ever been faced with this objection: ‘I like the New Testament God, but the God of the Old Testament sounds a bit nasty’, then this book is for you. There is much that on the face of it is hard to swallow about the Old Testament. Many objections have been made such as: ‘Did God command genocide?’ and ‘Why is God apparently so jealous?’ – and it’s to these objections that Copan speaks so well in his book. The Old Testament is hard; it was written a long time ago, in a very different culture. Copan helps us to understand the context, and interpret the nature of God in a way that faces the heat of the objections and doesn’t flinch or dodge them.

Books on the Reliability of The Bible

Can We Still Believe The Bible?

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Can We Still Believe The Bible? by Craig L. Blomberg

Up-to-date and fresh with responses to questions being asked today about the veracity of the Bible, Blomberg tackles the questions we hear from people unsure whether they can believe the Bible to be the Word of God. Scripture is a firm foundation for the Christian, and has withstood countless attempts to undermine it throughout history. Blomberg reveals the foundations are still strong, and our hope is not thwarted by the accusations the Bible faces in our day.”

Jesus And The Eyewitnesses

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Jesus And The Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony by Richard Bauckham

If we lose the credibility of the Bible, we lose Jesus. The stakes here are huge. The Bible testifies to Jesus, and the four gospels speak of his life. So how do we know that these accounts weren’t made up, or altered? Bauckham skilfully demonstrates that the gospel accounts are trustworthy and can be believed. Utilising recent research Bauckham makes a convincing case for the credibility of the eyewitnesses and the recording of their testimony. It’s a longer read but it’s fantastic and very interesting. Highly recommended ‘further reading’.

Books on Objections from Other Religions

Jesus Among Other Gods

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Jesus Among Other Gods by Ravi Zacharias

Ravi Zacharias brings his background (born and raised in India, university education in N. America/Britain) and his experience (spoken to government and business leaders, and at major universities all over the world) to bear in this book which will probably make every apologists Top 10 list. Contrasting the uniqueness of Christ with the pantheon of competing belief systems, Ravi – through his trademark skill at combining gripping narrative with fierce logic – presents Jesus as the hope for the world. Apologists learn from the method as much as the content offered by ‘Jesus Among Other Gods’. Highly recommended.

Code Ode: Let’s Eat and Drink for Tomorrow We Die


Let’s eat and drink for tomorrow we die. Fine, thought St Paul (tongue in cheek) if this life is all there is, (1 Corinthians 15, 32. What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought wild beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die”. )
But if there is a life beyond and a judgement beforehand, God thinks this is a very bad guide to life.
Isaiah 22. 12, 13. In that day the Lord, the Lord God of hosts called for weeping and mourning, for baldness and wearing sackcloth; and behold, joy and gladness, killing oxen and slaughtering of sheep, eating flesh and drinking of wine.

“Let us eat and drink,
For tomorrow we die.”

For many people today, this is their guide to life. How do we get inside their head? How can we shock them into sense? It’s the Spirit’s work, but He uses us.
I wrote this a few days ago—the idea came to me on a train—don’t know why:

Recite this out loud:
Let’s eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.
If we like, though, let’s diet, for appearances’ sake
And when the mood takes us, be civilised,
Unless the mood takes us, otherwise.
But let us not make many waves, not shake
The foundations, don’t start.
Let’s keep calm and our comfort at heart,
For tomorrow we die.
Let’s, as a side effect, rape the whole Earth,
Reluctantly take her for all she’s worth.
Let’s not ask, why not? Let’s milk her dry,
For tomorrow we die.
Let us not think of the stroke of midnight.
Stuff the glass slippers, the coachmen turned mice.
Let’s have a do like– there is no tomorrow;
Tomorrow we die.
Let me love you, the ones who are closest to me,
But the deal only comes with a guarantee,
You don’t clip my wings, I’m free to fly
For tomorrow I die.

And when it’s too late and we’re in it too deep,
Let’s have second thoughts, and think, “Oh, no, not yet.”
Then let’s start the weeping and gnashing of teeth,
And eternal regret.



Fire pits and BBQ’s

What is it about BBQs that men seem to love? We often see in adverts and perhaps in our own circles that blokes love a good BBQ. Get the meat sizzling, standing around with the utility belt on with brand new tongs, spatulas and clearing apparatus that, if we are honest, gets one use then is left in the rain.

Recently our men’s group hosted a ‘BBQ grill off.’ We got the coals hot, and then the fellas arrived bringing with them obscure meats in a variety of marinades and competition winning contributions. Sadly our Vicar had his wife marinade some chicken skewers so I had to disqualify him when it was all brought to light. But it was brilliant, one bloke brought tin foil and placed it on the BBQ for 40 minutes, he didn’t touch it or even look at it as the excitement grew. He revealed a huge bit of steak in onions and mushrooms that had been slowly steamed, and as he put this mammoth steak into two bits of bread it started to fall apart. Amazing.

I think men love BBQs for a lot of reasons, for me it’s the fire. Watching the flames burning up the coals, the heat, the primeval feel about it, it awesome.

In the Bible God used fire a lot. Have a think about it, Moses and the burning bush, a cloud by day and fire at night for the children of Israel, Elijah and God’s answer in fire, John the Baptist talks about fire, it’s found in prophecy, letters and wisdom writings. Tongues of fire rested on the disciples at Pentecost and the Holy Spirit was at work… there are loads more.

Cool isn’t it? I love looking at stuff like that, so I went out a bought a fire pit. Actually I ended up with two but that’s a different story. I set the fire pit up, filled it with wood and burned stuff. As it burns I just sit, think about God, read my Bible and talk about life and God. Try it, get a fire pit and as you sit there in your back garden with a raging inferno troubling your neighbour read Hebrews 12:29.

‘For our God is a consuming FIRE!’

BOOK REVIEW: ‘The Dark Night of the Shed’
 by Nick Page

bookRecently I have had the massive privilege of working on a project with TWR-UK to record a thirteen week radio programme for blokes. It has been a collaboration between TWR-UK and CVM and the vision behind this project has been to talk about some of the big issues facing ordinary blokes who want to stay gripped by Jesus. The series will be aired from October and will be worth tuning in, if only to hear a certain Nathan Blackaby’s rendition of Arnie Schwarzenegger.

It was during the recording of this series that we had the immense privilege of reading Nick Page’s The Dark Night of the Shed, and then interviewing Nick himself. During that interview I got to observe first-hand as my co-presenter James Maidment-Fullard and Nick Page developed the shed brothers bond. This was something I did not fully understand at the time but I have since found myself in my own garden looking wistfully at my current unremarkable shed and dreaming of what it could yet become. The reason behind this is that Nick Page with great skill and humour uses the shed as a euphemism for the male mid-life crisis.

On the night that Nick woke up and realised that he needed to rebuild his shed, he described the moment like this:

‘Life as a middle-aged man had become complicated and confusing. At a time when I felt as though I should be confident and assured, I often felt anxious and afraid. I seemed to be dog-tired and exhausted, yet my nights were restless and disturbed. Aches and pains which used to disappear quite quickly now hung around for months. I carried within me a simmering pot of grumpiness which boiled over at the slightest excuse.’

The Dark Night of the Shed is a book that records the author’s journey from the realisation that something is happening within him that both frightens him and fills him with hope and expectation. The book is littered with observations, anecdotes and wisdom that Nick has attributed to his mate Steve (he refers to everyone in the book as Steve largely due to an inevitable mid-life loss of memory).

This is an immensely good read, and not just for those of us who may be either on the brink of the mid-life crisis but for those of us who may feel like this stage of life has enveloped us already. Nick unravels that is the moment when we face the truth that our ‘gods’ have failed us and that life is not entirely what we hoped it might have become when we first set out all those years before. This is the moment that provides us with the choice of ‘mid-life crisis’ or of second half growth and a new adventure.

I really recommend this read for all blokes no matter what age you are. Nick is a very funny guy, but that humour is also underpinned with a wealth of understanding that every man can benefit from.


Buy it now – Kindle: The Dark Night of the Shed: Men, the midlife crisis, spirituality – and sheds

or Hardback: The Dark Night of the Shed: Men, the midlife crisis, spirituality – and sheds



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