Friday, June 22, 2007

Suicide is painless?

The theme tune from M*A*S*H comes to mind this week. Not cause its true. In a way it's such a tranquil song, and I can remember listening to the tune while in the background there is chaos and havoc.

This week has highlighted a great need in our country, something which has been going on for too long. On the news we have heard of 3 young people commit suicide in Craigavon. The reality is that this has been happening a lot all over Northern Ireland. Years ago I was made aware of how Ballynahinch had the highest rate of suicide in Europe pro capita and that’s why ‘The Edge’ started. Check out their website and pray for Jamie and Claire who work there.

Apparently, in Kilkeel one person a week has committed suicide from Easter.

In Tyrone there were 2 guys who had made a suicide pack.

John 10 says 'the devil is out to steal and destroy' young peoples lives and young peoples minds. We know and say that Jesus came to bring life, but what is going on?

We can put suicide down to so many reasons but more than ever I am aware that we are in a spiritual battle. We need to pray for our young people. We need to stand in the gap.
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Thursday, June 14, 2007

There's only one Ronaldo!


This is Ronaldo, the boy I sponsor with Compassion UK. He is from Haiti. He has a great name! I didn't chose him just for his name. I felt really bad looking at all the profiles and choosing one. And I guess we have no idea where our money is going, it might just ease our guilt. I suppose I just wanted to let people know about the work of Comapssion UK. I have actually been doing some lessons in schools based around the work of Compassion. We call them MAD lessons -Making A Difference. The lessons address issues of giving thanks and sharing, the problem with money in the world and how to make a difference by sponsoring a child. Let me know if you'd like more info about the lessons and check out

Everyone knows John 3 v16 but how many people know 1 John 3 v16?? Thats the real gospel message!!
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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

2037 goal


It is 7 July 2037 and I am celebrating my 60th birthday. All my family are with me - Katrina at my side, looking as beautiful as ever. She leans over to kiss me in her caring nature and i notice our grandchildren laughing and sniggering at the 'two old love birds'. I hear wee Stephen give out an "uugghhh!!"

I feel content. I feel at peace but we both have itchy feet and want to do more. There are more children to help, more young people to invest in and more people to pull together. I have led by example in working in partnership with as many people and organisations as possible.

If I could go back and do it all again....what would I advise my younger self?

1 - Have more fun
2 - Treasure time with family and friends
3 - Get up earlier
4 - Read more books
5 - Sing more songs
6 - Enjoy the mountains
7 - Jump into more rock pools
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2010 goal


It is 1 July 2010 and I've just crossed the finishein line. I feel the tape break thru my chest. I'm wrecked! I've given it my all. The sweat is dripping of me. My mouth is dry. The adrenaline is flowing thru my veins.

Im ecstatic at how young people at MANNAFEST have developed into DISCIPLES. Yes I have heard how some have tripped on hurdles and fell and made mistakes but they have learnt o depend on God and one another - even when they mess up and especially when things are going well.

I have seen 100's of young people realise their potential within them and discover 'Who God is'.

I feel a sense of pride which is burning bright inside me at how different people have started working togther - churches, charities, young and old.

I am pumped that I invested in other people. I have learnt a lot from others - older men, fellow speakers. I have trained and develpoed my muscles. In one sense, there is regret as I pass the baton on, but I also feel a sense of accomplishment at a job well done.

A lap of honour to cool down but not to rest on my morals - a new team needs me. Another eveent to run in....
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This was one interesting exercise I did with Kelly. Poor Kelly tho, it was like getting blood out of a stone. But made a good list - then I had to make my top 8 - I think they will change and they maybe aren't what i actually value but they were to do with what I value in work....

finish well; make a difference; to be liked; integrity; humility; confidence; honesty; accountability; fun; enjoyment; friendship; satisfaction; purpose; inspiration; trust; freedom; structure; challenged; truth; relaxed; appreciated; technique; communication; delivery; professionalism; inspiration; motivation; variety; freedom; making a difference; helping people; break from the norm; against status quo; different; creativity; partnership; making the most of something; respect; honesty; accountable; working together; team before self; sacrifice; organisation; doing my best; being professional; tasks over people; results; fun; have a laugh; God; exploring spirituality; make meaning to life; being different; going against the flow; realising potential; hope; change; role model; example; not messing up; no regrets; integrity; reality

TOP 8 in no particular order

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So last week I was at a leadership conference for 3 days in the lovely setting of the Culloden Hotel. We didn't get to stay or use the spa or anything, but it was still good! Johnny Parks was taking the course so it was interesting to see him in a different light and without a guitar. Wasn't it??!!

It's always good to write down what you learnt after such an intense time, and it normally takes a while to reflect and digest everything, but honestly, my head is still fried. If anything I got to understand myself a bit better, why I react the way I do or behave the way I do. I'll say this tho - "I did NOT find myself" - never understood that statement. So there is no such thing as a problem....

What did I learn? I learnt that I actually exist. Might sound strange but it was an eye opener. I learnt that if someone criticises me or doesn't like me(which is quite often!) that rather than try to change their opinion, I just fuel their opinion of me by throwing the head up and maybe try to annoy them more. Now that was a revelation, cos it don't make sense, but I continue to do it.

So what do I want? I want people to like me. And what is the intention of people liking me? Well i want to be appreciated. And what would that get you? I suppose that would get me purpose and meaning in my life. And what's the purpose of you having purpose?

OK so I'm making a mockery but I use humour as a defense system...

We also looked at neuro linguistic programming model of communication, sensory acuity, rapport, cause and effect, parts integration, timeline, values, creating an achievable outcome and metaphors - all in 3 days! My head is pickled!

What I really enjoyed was meeting other people. When you go through something as intense as this you bond more quickly with people. So I worked with Dave Hines from City Church and Angus form CFC; Kelly and Sean from Woolsworth; Mags and Leeangh; Clare and Louise from YMCA; Christina; and Mims and Steve from YFC. A great bunch and I wish them all well. Just ragin I didn't have my cmaera to get a photo ot them, even tho I did have my camera but didn't know that I had my camera...

One more thing and i know this is a generalisation and that I am deleting and distorting some information.... I found that the Christians on the course were mainly driven by guilt andhad a really bad opinion on themselves - myself included. So we want to be a really good witness but what we say and what we do or don't do, but infact what would really speak to people is if we vlaued ourselves and seen ourselves how God views us -
dearly loved children
We are so caught up in selling Christianity and making hte gospel attractive that we have missed the good news that God takes and transforms lives for the better. I wonder do people want to be a Christian because of the way that I am living my life; because of the way I view myself and others or do people want to become a Christian so they can get a ticket for heaven or do people not even think about becoming a Christian....?
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So here is me and the boss outside Ballydown Presby, near Banbridge. I look a bit flustered as it was absolutley boliling in the Church. It was a very hot day already and then I made the smart decision of sitting beside a radiator that was one! Presbys must be loaded having the heat on this time of year...
So I spoke at the childrens service, which was actually very good. The Church have a cool wee jazz band, led by a guy called Harry who was a bit of a musical maestro. The Church was packed - obviously cos they heard we were speaking....but it had a mixture of all ages. The atmosphere was brilliant. This weather influences people anyway in a good way and maybe being childrens day everyone is more relaxed. But we both really enjoyed the service. It was over in less than an hour as well, which always makes people in norn iron happy!
Steve spoke at the youth service that night and joined up again with the Dromore crew. They have a band and a drama team that took part and Dinger shared his story. You can't beat Dinger. He just says it as it is, which makes people a bit uncomfortable but needs to be said. Why do we want people to be dramatically transformed then conform to a respectful style of behaviour, where you start to play church or lip service??
Anyway it got us thinking, that this is what YFC should be doing more of - imagine having a YFC Sunday! We could come and take both services, for those holy spiritual churches that still have 2 services on a sunday....We love communicating God's word in a relevant and dynamic way. We believe we are great communicators. It would be great if we could get churches to support our work, get them onboard, so we could actually go and do work in schools and communities were young people have no contact with church. So anyone want to book us??
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