Friday, 31 October 2008

Good news, just in...

Just received this from care, hot off the press, I mean server...? :
Dear Friends

I wanted to write to you today to encourage you and thank you.

For the past eighteen months a fierce battle has been raging in Parliament over abortion. The pro-choice lobby has been vocal and very active and the attempts to liberalize abortion, resulting in abortion on request up to 24 weeks, nurses able to perform abortions, GP surgery abortion with completion at home the norm, and the extension of the Abortion Act to Northern Ireland looked like succeeding. There was even an amendment proposing prison sentences of up to two years for pro-life pregnancy crisis counselors found guilty of ‘misleading advertising’.

However, Jesus is Lord and it is He and not the politicians or the political commentators who sets the agenda. Last week saw an amazing series of events which resulted in a restriction of time being allowed for debate and so there was no debate about abortion. The attempts to make abortion inconsequential have failed!

There is no doubt that the two million postcards sent to MPs played a huge part in this. So thank you all for your prayers and faithfulness. It is easy to be cynical about the political process and think that we cannot make a difference. This great victory against all the odds testifies to the opposite.

What a great God we serve He is the ruler of kings on earth (Rev 1:5) and will be called King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Rev 19:16).

Thank you again May you all know God’s richest blessings as you faithfully serve Him caring for women and their families.

With warm wishes

Nola Leach

Priorities... or lack thereof

I know in life that my priorities should be:
1. God
2. People
3. Things that order. Often, however, it feels like the perverse reverse is more reflective of what my life is about. Help me daddy!

Monday, 27 October 2008

Tell me if I'm wrong, but I don't think the Holy Spirit meant Coca-Cola when he inspired Isaiah 52:7

Coca-Cola have an official mission statement, a very laudable one in many ways! However, at the end of the day, it boils down (is that a mixing of metaphors or just a few too many?) to getting a coke within the reach of every living person on the planet.

The latest stats from (downloadable here 8.5Mb) show that we still have a way to go to get the good news about Jesus and the Kingdom of God to ears and hearts of everyone on the planet.

I have nothing against Coke. I admit that I like Coke, (especially to help me race) I even cook with it sometimes! But the thought that any sickly sweet drink that rots your teeth and makes you hyper would find it's way into the hands of every person on the planet quicker than the life giving words of Jesus is offensive to me! So then, the question comes, Richard, having pretended great moral outrage in that last sentence, how will you be the answer to your own prayers? You don't want to be labeled a hypocrite or some pathetic arm-chair dissenter now, do you?

Saturday, 25 October 2008


Having thought that my blog had a really cool name: (and yes I was probably the only one who liked the alliteration and the big words), I have changed it.

The reason is simple. When I introduced it to people, few had any significant conscious recollection of hearing the word "ruminating" at any point in their lives. Of those who had, not many were sure how to spell it. It's one of those words we may hear in speech, but rarely if ever, see written down.
  • Is the first vowel sound made up from "oo" or "u" or even the more outlandish and Continental "oux"?
  • Does it have a silent h after the r like rhyme and rhythm or not?
  • Is there a difference in the American (roominate?) and English (rhumineight?) spelling, and which one did Richard go for?
That coupled with the anxiety of trying to remember if it's reality or realety (local dialects can confuse, the issue) made me sit back and take stock.

In short, there is something distinctly uncool in having proudly announced your blog address to people, then to have to sit down and spell it out for them!

So then came the dilemma of what to call it. All the obvious domain names had already been taken like richardwalker, rw, rmw... I even momentarily toyed with the ideas of jesuslovesyou and happyclapper then saw that these had been taken too. :-(

What wound me up about these addresses was that they were all held by people who hadn't blogged for YEARS! They didn't have the decency to think that I, Richard Walker, might one day come along and want one of those addresses... pleeeeease. And if there's something that really winds me up, it's when people start something they don't fi


Monday, 20 October 2008

My next assembly

I have an up and coming school assembly where I intend to show the following video:

And then say this:

I meet many guys who make it their ambition to have big wallets or big muscles or a big brain or a partner who is big in the beauty stakes or a big name.  I don't think I have ever met a guy who has told me that it is his ambition to have a big heart, a strong, caring, protecting heart...

If you were doing the assembly, where would you take it from here?

Friday, 17 October 2008

Dare you pray like Elijah?

Wrote this two years ago after a cell meeting (a Christian mid-week house group thing - not a terrorist network). Thought I'd post, a mildly reworked version of the original email, given the current climate:


For those of you who weren’t at cell tonight we considered (amongst many other things) the bit in James 5:17 about Elijah being held up as the example of persevering and believing prayer. He prayed that it would not rain and it didn’t... for three years.

Have you ever wondered about the context of that prayer? Doesn’t it seem odd to you? I mean think about it, when was the last time you attended a prayer meeting in which you all prayed for God to send famine and drought upon the whole of Britain? But this is the kind of prayer that Elijah was praying. James holds this up as an example of the expectant prayer of faith that pleases God! Should we follow, and if so, how?

The context was that the nation of Israel was deeply set in idolatry of Baal. Baal was a fertility god who was supposed to bring crops and abundant harvests. Huge swathes of the population were steeped in Baal worship and had forsaken the Living God. In this context, Elijah prays to God that God would withhold the rain from the nation so that the people would realise that Baal was no god at all and return to the LORD. Elijah didn’t ask God to mollycoddle them or to tell them how much he loved them, he prayed for the nation to suffer so that they would be brought to their knees, snapped out of their rebellious idolatry and deluded thinking, realise they had been worshipping false gods and so return to the living God of Israel!

The whole thing ends with a big contest between Elijah and the prophets of Baal, (see 1 Kings 17-18), and of course the true God of Israel wins.

Three reasons immediately spring to mind for me as to why Elijah prayed this prayer and not one of abundant blessing:

1. Elijah knew that God created a moral universe where there are blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience. This covenant nation of Israel had walked away from God’s laws, it did not deserve blessing or mollycoddling, it deserved judgement. In the same way that a parent would pray for a wayward son to turn from his evil ways by spending time in prison having received the due penalty for his crime; Elijah prayed that through the just affliction of a national drought, Israel would see sense and return to the LORD.
2. Elijah desired that the hearts of the people repent and return to God. See the parallel in Luke 1:17 between Elijah and John the Baptist. Out of that deep love of God and and concern for the eternal welfare of the people, he prayed whatever it took to get them to a safe place, i.e. Saved even if the route that got them there was painful!
3. Elijah knew just how full the people were of pride and delusion in their idolatry, and that it would take them not just 1, but 3 years of famine to get to the point where they knew they needed a Messiah, not Baal.  What and how long would it take us, if at all I wonder?

My question is do you ever dare to pray like that? That God would bring our nation to its knees so that it might see its need for mercy from Him? What would that look like?
  • Would you pray for our economy to collapse so that people would realise that material possessions are no god like the God of the Bible?
  • Would you pray for the schools to self-destruct through pupil violence so that people would realise that a “good education” is no god like the God of the Bible? 
  • Would you pray for celebrities to suffer many and varied tragedies so that people would realise that fame is no god like the God of the Bible?
  • Would you pray for people to start contracting all kinds of diseases so that they would realise that surgery and medicine are no God like the God of the Bible?
  • Would you pray for or nation to be successfully invaded by a foreign power so that people would realise that our military might is no god like the God of the Bible?
  • Would you pray for the nation to descend into anarchy through crime and political apathy so that people would realise that liberal democracy is no god like the God of the Bible?

How long would you be prepared to pray these kinds of prayers for? 2secs? 2mins? 2hrs? 2 weeks? 2yrs?

Of course some will rebuke me with Jeremiah’s letter to the exiles: Jer 29 esp. v7, but the fact remains that James uses Elijah as his example, not Jeremiah or even Moses who had some pretty incredible moments of prayer! Whilst we need to get everything in balance, I submit this to you and ask you not just to ignore it, but to consider it as you pray for our nation.

Don’t shy away from daring to pray that our nation is brought to it’s knees, not because you despise her, but because you love her and want to see her turn honestly to the only God, Jesus Christ who can do her any good, both in this life and the next.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Move-me Music

On those days when I suffer a more acute sense of delusion and self-aggrandisement than normal, I fancy myself as a great musician!

The flaw is that I got music, but I don't got lyrics! I can come up with a semi decent tune, but my lyrics usually resemble something from a bad primary school poetry session. Like so:

The cat,
Sat on the mat,
Then the hat,
Said that,
He was fat,
So the cat,
Who was fat,
On the hat,
With his cat

I know that's quite profound for some popular music, ;-) but I would want to attempt something a bit more meaningful if I ever did get round to putting pen to paper!

Over the last 3 years or so, I have come to love film music. On reflection, I think it's because much popular music is caught up in navel-gazing, worn out clichés, general meaningless bafoonery and, of course, the pursuit of money and a name. Now I'm not naive enough to suggest that all film music is morally any better than the popular music just described. Nor do I sit down in protest at discos and refuse to dance when a personal favourite, S club 7's Reach for the Stars, (it's packed with clichés) is busted out over the grooving space! It's simply to say that when you have a great film, one that deals with the big themes like war or overcoming suffering and injustice or the complexities and tragedies of family life, then the music that goes with it carries a weight and a transcendence across human experience that you rarely see replicated elsewhere in popular music. Good film music, because of its associations with the great themes of the film, helps me take my selfish little eyes off myself and realise there is a whole world out there.

Let me try and ground that thought with an example. Arguably my favourite piece of film music is from The Mission (Type The Misson, City of Prague Philharmonic (it's the best recording) into iTunes). The reason I love it is that the last section of the piece (entitled On Earth as it is in Heaven) synthesizes joyful, powerful native South American tribal music with stately, serene Western choral music. This synthesis catapults my imagination Heavenward to the end of time when out of every tribe, nation, family and language, Jesus will receive his bride, the church and I wonder if the music in Heaven will sound anything like it.

I guess I'll just have to wait and see. :-)

The Beginning...

One of the titles ascribed to Jesus in the Bible is that of "The Beginning."  This puts a whole new angle on the the first three words of Genesis: In the beginning...  The Hebrew word that we render beginning in Gen 1:1 should not be understood exclusively as a comment on the concept of time and leads me to believe that, right from the start, the Old Testament Israelites knowingly worshipped, like us, the God who is Father, Son and Spirit.
What follows are two feel good videos, that help me begin to get my head around how God the Son - the Head of Creation, the master craftsman and carpenter, diligently went about the first of his works at the dawn of time under the (architectural) authority of God the Father and in the power (and inspiration?) of God the Spirit.

To put the Hebrew another way: Through the Son, the God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit together created the heavens and the earth.

Christ truly is all in all.  

We are NOT alone.  

What an awesome God to bow before!!  

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Watch your life and doctrine closely...

This was an advert I stumbled across in today's Guardian.  It reminded me of something I heard once, somewhere (as you do.  Can't remember where though):

However, if I am honest, I buy in to this cultural assumption every time I could say something, but keep my mouth shut.  I am an aider and abetter to lies that entrench themselves in the minds and hearts of men and women.  With God's help I am determined to get out of this cowardly attitude one day.

Moreover, the History of the Quakers is also a salutary lesson for people like me involved in young church movements who can sometimes fall into the trap of thinking that the movement we are in has all the (best) answers.  

How the Quakers went from founders like George Fox to ads like this are fuel for very sober reflection and humble prayer.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Is this is the best we can do?

Controversially, it seems that we as a race have arrived in evolutionary Heaven, or at least, things won't be getting any better without some conscious intervention from an intelligent source!!

I can't help but wryly grin.  ;-)  And thank God that there IS more to life than this!

Sunday, 5 October 2008

My brother is provoking me!

Whilst at a family wedding this weekend in Leeds, my brother provoked me (in a good way, although it wasn't always like that when we were growing up! ;-) His provocation had come second hand from Michael Ramsden, a guy who works for a mission organisation called RZIM

Ramsden had been exhorting his students in a lecture to memorize scripture.

So I tried it this morning.

One thing I did notice, to my delight, is that memorisation forces me to engage with the detail of the text. I memorised 5 verses (Will need to test myself on them before I go to bed! My brain is like a sieve.) and in so doing, gleaned some awesome gems of truth. Had I just read the chapter, I probably wouldn't have noticed them!

If you fancy having a go, here are some tips I have found!

Next time you see me, ask me how I am getting on at this and test me, I need all the help and provocation I can get!

Thursday, 2 October 2008

The heart of the matter...

Back in May, I heard Wayne Grudem speaking on Proverbs 4:23.

I stumbled across a note I wrote in my filofax when listening to him back then:

"Heart is like a musical instrument, bump it and it goes all out of tune."

We have a piano in our house. Unlike the quote above, she* has not been moved, and has still gone badly out of tune! :-(

If my life is to be like beautiful music to my creator and redeemer, Jesus Christ, and if it is to be a benefit to others, then guarding my heart from the evil desires that live within me and seek to bash it about is of paramount importance.

I may not be able to have any control on things going on around me in the world, but with God's help, I will learn to master my internal world and be a wellspring of life to all those to whom God has given me.

*Should any feminists be reading, I make no apologies for the use of what you might call patronising patriarchal personification ;-)