Thank You Jesus

Groeschel Gets Weird

I stumbled across this short interview/promo video for Craig Groeschel’s new book Weird – Because Normal Isn’t Working on Michael Hyatt’s site, and I can say, if the content of the book is as good as the ideas and insights in the video, then I’m looking forward to reading it. Check the video here.

What If?

If you’ve missed our latest magazine then make sure to check out the online version here. The theme this issue is “What If?” …based around a talk I did a while back and some ideas that have been circulating my head and the NG office over the last few months. As usual, it’s packed full of ideas, stories, tips and resource spotlights…and the graphics are pretty smooth too. The Team have done a really good job on pulling the content together, and I think that along with our other 2 issues so far this year, this magazine is amongst our best. To make sure you get a copy in your letter box next time around, log onto www.newgeneration.co.uk and register as a member, or even better, a Supporter, and we’ll post one out free of charge every time we release a new issue. No brainer!

A Good Day

Today’s a good day because…

  1. My 7-month old today son Leon almost cracked his face in half smiling when I walked through the door after work.
  2. I got news my visa should be ready in time for my 1st Russia trip in 3 years.
  3. iPad 2 came out. Not to mention it’s nifty new pal Smart Case. (Not trivial!)
  4. I got to talk for an hour with my brother down under.
  5. Flannel released the new Basic vid. (I know it’s pretty trivial, but it’s also pretty incredible.)
  6. I’ve lived in my charming house on The Avenue for 1 year.

…amongst other things of course…like having an amazing wife, a great job, and a nice collection of Paraguayan Yerba Mate cups.

World Book Day One Week Away

World Book Day is just one week away. That means in one week we have a great opportunity to talk about the world’s most-read book: the Bible. If you need another excuse, it’s also the 400th anniversary since the first official translation of the Bible in English was published.

To celebrate the occasion(s) Sara and I plan to head down to Birmingham city/university and see if we can turn a few heads and have some conversations with downtowners and students. We’ll have a pile of New Generation NTs with us to give away to anyone interested, and are hoping for some good convo.

We’re also hoping to see a lot of young people handing out Bibles, doing assemblies and having conversations in school next Thursday too, and have created a Facebook group to get the word out. Just this afternoon we had orders come through for 101 (!) Bibles, and there’s a girl in Southport currently saving up £5000 to get 2000 (!!!) for her college. P-retty incredible!

Here’s a few links to Bible-y stuff for those interested:

  1. Everyone Needs a Bible
  2. iPad/iPhone ESV+
  3. Biblefresh
  4. Trusted
  5. NT Cash

Basic/What’s Up With Francis Chan?

Wherever I turn right now it seems Francis Chan is there.

The same Francis Chan that stepped down from the senior pastor role at his church Cornerstone some time back because he was tired of being “caught up in keeping the machine running” and didn’t recognise his church and his church members’ walk when reading about Jesus and his followers in Scripture.

Ironic that the guy who “walked away from it all” partly due to fear of his own affection for affirmation and popularity now seems even more popular than before. Also ironic that the guy who “walked off his own megachurch stage in search of something smaller and simpler” is not only getting interviews and press coverage left, right and centre, but also strutting his stuff on stage at Catalyst and being given a go at John Piper’s Desiring God gig a few weeks back. No wonder people can’t figure the guy out! No wonder he’s being labelled a little OTT, or in some cases, just downright crazy.

But then that’s the beauty of it…

Hearing Francis lay out his own thoughts and his agenda (or lack thereof) on the Neue podcast over the last couple of weeks fills me with a deep respect for the guy’s authenticity, honesty, and transparency. Sure, he doesn’t have it all nailed out…but then that’s his own point. He’s still figuring it out…and he’s not doing what he’s doing primarily to point the finger at “the establishment”, or because he’s discovered the key to a better way, but as a means of making space and stripping things back in hope of finding that way himself.

Sure, he’s a little nuts…but he’s an inspiration, and his actions, whilst somewhat “irresponsible and irrational” to some, are at the same time a huge thought-provoker for the institutionalised church, particularly in the pretty comfortable confines of the US.

So, whilst nobody really knows what’s up with Francis and where he’s going, one thing I’m grateful for is the film project he’s put together with the Flannel guys, of Nooma fame. Flannel and Fran have teamed up to make a 7-part series of 15 minute films called Basic, and the 2 videos released to date are both visually breathtaking and weighty in content.

The first three videos are on fearing God, following Jesus and rediscovering the Holy Spirit. The next four will be on the primary pillars of the early church as seen in Acts 2: teaching, prayer, communion and fellowship. Really looking forward to seeing the rest of the series as they’re released one by one, and highly recommend the two that are out to anyone looking for a good resource for use in small groups, youth meetings, services and the like. They’re pretty good for simply watching at home alone too for that matter…I’ve come away moved, inspired and challenged to strip it back to basics, starting with a renewed awareness of the need to truly Fear God.

http://basicseries.com/

Noah&Noelle Dot Com Goes Live

Today saw the much-anticipated launch of our good friends at Noah&Noelle’s snazzy new website. These guys have an eye for smooth design and are already producing some great babywear, and there’s more in the pipeline. They also have some good-looking models. Yes, that’s our Leon up top on his first modelling job…all from the comfort of his own home! Check out the site and buy a drool-catcher or two for your kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews…you get the idea. Support these guys now and you’ll be seeing more great kids clothes coming down the line.

www.noahnoelle.com

Commitment

Now, I’ve been wearing Vans for a good 20 years or so and am still a big fan, but this guy has taken his brand loyalty to the next level with this heel tattoo. Had to laugh when I saw it on a Vans blog a couple of days ago.

Speaking of Vans, I took this shot of their inner sole at Selfridges a year or two ago. The fact that their previously skate-shop-only sneakers are now stocked in a shop like Selfridges is probably reason enough for the new addition, so skater snobs like me can feel like we’ve got our brand back. Ha!

Forest Creatures

Last week my mate Steve came back from a weekend in Cali, having been over to be there when a friend got married. As usual, he was laden with goodies, including some nice new tees from the guys at Something Sacred and a couple of CDs. The guys who run CanaVP were shooting the footage for the wedding film, and it turns out that Drew Barefoot, one half of the CanaVP duo, also makes music…and some fine music at that. Steve kindly gave me a copy of Drew’s album Forest Creatures, and it’s one of the best things I’ve heard for a long, long time. Peaceful Indie/Americana instrumentals at it’s best…a musical mix of tranquility and grace. Absolutely beautiful. If you’re looking for something a little different, and don’t mind the lack of lyrics, go download it here.

Resolutions

So, we’re almost 3 weeks into Twenty Eleven and I’m starting to find some rhythm again after a couple of weeks away in Sweden holidaying and now a couple more back in the job. Every December for about the last 10 years I’ve tried to get some downtime and put together an outline for the coming year. Not so much a New Years resolutions thing, but more focal points and overall direction for the next few years, coupled with (and formed out of) a time of reflection on the past year or so.

This year I was able to get away to a monastery in Leicestershire for some prayer and solitude, as well as catching some lone time whilst away over Christmas. When comparing notes with previous years, not so much has changed, but a number of things have definitely been clarified and solidified.

Here’s a few of my renewed hopes/aims/plans…

  1. 1 day a week complete rest and sabbath
  2. 1 day a month personal retreat
  3. 1 long weekend a quarter personal retreat
  4. continue studying and memorising the book of James
  5. continue studying the book of Luke
  6. daily morning devotions
  7. morning study 2 days a week
  8. morning exercise 3 days a week
  9. 1 evening away date a month (a little trickier now with a kid)
  10. 3 evening home dates a month (when we eat well & keep the evening free!)
  11. begin formal evening study: theology/church history/mission/ministry
  12. create more often: art, writing & a little music…but mostly art & writing

I also plan to read far fewer books (apart from course literature for my studies) than usual years, but to re-read and process a few books in particular, attempting to work through and apply them more effectively to my life.

These are:

  1. Rework – Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson
  2. Church Planter: The Man, The Message, The Mission – Darrin Patrick
  3. The Art of Possibility – Rosamund Stone Zander & Benjamin Zander
  4. Leaders Who Last – Dave Kraft

I also hope to more successfully line up my primary priorities, so they’re actually visible in my diary and my wallet.

These are:

  1. Christian
  2. Husband
  3. Father
  4. Leader/Worker/Employee

…in that order.

It’s a great feeling to know where you’re headed and what you’re aiming for. Sure there’ll be hurdles and diversions, but I know what I’m aiming at, and that makes for a satisfied mind.

Here’s to a new(ish) year!