Thursday, March 26, 2009

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Downloading from YouTube

To dowload from youtube

You need firefox internetbrowser

Go to and follow the instructions

This will put a wee button in the toolbar - when you go to the youtube page it will rotate - click on the button and it will download!

Then you need to download something to play the video in ... I recommend

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Serious #9 2 Tim 2:11-13

11Here is a trustworthy saying:
If we died with him,
we will also live with him;
12if we endure,
we will also reign with him.
If we disown him,
he will also disown us;
13if we are faithless,
he will remain faithful,
for he cannot disown himself.

This passage really does speak for itself ... The prayer of us all has to be that we are to die with him, endure and remain faithful

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Purple Ribbon

At a press conference today, Thursday 12 March 2009, the leaders of the Church of Ireland, Roman Catholic, Methodist and Presbyterian Churches, together with the Irish Council of Churches and Evangelical Alliance, asked churches this weekend to offer special prayers for 'our land and our people' and encouraged people to wear a purple ribbon as sign of commitment to working together for good.

Aware that people want to show their opposition to what has happened over the last few days and send a clear unambiguous message that we are one united community, the Church Leaders in a pastoral letter (full copy below) ask 'all our churches to offer special prayers for our land and people', recognising that every church and community will naturally find a different way of doing this.

As a more practical sign of expressing revulsion towards violence and the determination of our community to speak with one voice, the leaders are encouraging everyone to wear a purple ribbon or other item of purple clothing. 'Purple is associated with Lenten reflection and is a strong outward symbol of people's commitment to working together for good,' concludes the letter

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sensible Series #8 2 Timothy 2:8-10

 8Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, 9for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God's word is not chained. 10Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.

Paul here doesn't paint a very rosy picture of Christian Discipleship ... the gospel he has been preaching has got him into trouble ... to the point of being chained like a criminal although he is prepared to undergo that suffering for the sake of the Gospel why? so that the hearers may obtain salvation. 

It is an amazing thought that through our study, through our faithfulness God can speak, can work in the lives of those listening ... mmm...It really has to be down to God tho. This stuff is certainly not light reading but when you do think about it is in serving Him that true freedom and purpose is found.

Awesome Privilege but equally the responsibility to take the job of preparing prayerfully and faithfully studying God's word as well as living it out is ours. "this is what you've called me to" 

"Will you then, in the strength of the Holy Spirit, continually stir up the gift of God that is in you, to make Christ known to all people. By the help of God I will."

Monday, March 09, 2009

Sensible #7 - 2 Timothy 2:2-7

2And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. 3Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs—he wants to please his commanding officer. 5Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor's crown unless he competes according to the rules. 6The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. 7Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.

It is interesting in this passage Paul mention three occupations all of which you don't pick up immediately, all of them require a lot of patience, a lot of hard work and a lot of time.

A soldier has to undergo an immense amount of trainning, of disciple, of commanding officers shouting at them to get them into shape, to respond to command, to be ready for fighting as well as doing duty in peace time as well. They are solely focused upon what they are called to do. This reminds me of an experience with the RAF over the summer and the amount of work that goes into keeping the body fit. They are ready to put themselves on the line for their friends, ready to go wherever they are called to be.

The athlete ... just think about the amount of trainning that goes into the race, cold days spent on the track runninng, jumping whatever, keeping the body at its peak ready for the race.

Then the farmer, the dedication need to nurture animals and crops, using knoweldge handed down, ready at all time to do what it takes to get the best from the land.

All three take work, hard excruciating work, back breaking work to get the best. They all demand time and determination. Surely as we think upon this all of this we as ordinands have to struggle with these metaphors, it is what we are being called to. The nurture of those to whom we have been called, running the race, putting ourselves on the line for others, putting ourselves under God's command ready to respond whenever he calls and be ready to do and say what he commands.

The passage today speaks of Timothy having to entrust others with what he has been entrusted with. The whole idea of entrusting and encouraging others to share the gospel is essential. No clergy person can do this task themselves we need to be empowering the body to do what it has been called to do. We need to identify those within our congregations who have the gifts and encourage them to use them to the glory of God.

This is part of my "sensible series" stepping through the pastoral in preparation for ordination - these are purely my own random thoughts.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

silly series # 6 - day in nut shell

Church this morning ... mystery tour 

up, wash, dress, 1130, 11, Breakfast at cafe, liberties, lost,11 luas, late1130 1030, 1130 on-time,1200 early,hoodies, great drama, single, prayer, circles, college, work, hello, byebye, chinese, ipod, sensible, silly, beddy byes .  

Sensible #6 - only by grace

2 Timothy 2

1You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

Quite a simple message tonight ... be strong.
It is quite nice to get a simple message, strength from what ? the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

Grace is a beautiful word, truly a great Bible truth is resident in this word. In fact, it is a word and concept without which salvation would be impossible. Grace is derived from the Greek charis. Thayer comments thus on charis: "…the New Testament writers used charis pre-eminently of that kindness by which God bestows favors even upon the ill-deserving, and grants to sinners the pardon of their offences, and bids them accept of eternal salvation through Christ…" (Greek-English Lexicon, pg. 666).

Some biblical facts regarding God's grace. The gospel (good news) is a result of God's grace (Gal. 1: 6-9). Grace is presented as sufficient and Christians are called by grace (2 Cor. 12: 7-10, Gal. 1: 15). Humanity is saved by grace, the heart is established by grace, and we are justified by grace (Eph. 2: 5, 8, Heb. 13: 9, Tit. 3: 7). Moreover, we render acceptable service by grace and grace imparts everlasting consolation (Heb. 12: 28, 29, 2 Thes. 2: 16). God's grace also makes us better people and helps us in time of need (I Cor. 15: 9, 10, Heb. 4: 16).

Sourced from

A couple of things I suppose to remember from this ... Our work, our ministry is totally and utterly powered by God's grace, we can't do it on our own ... It all has to come from Him who called us. I don't want to do anything apart from him.

We can work under our own strength for a while but it will eventually run out.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Silly #5 - My album cover!

1 - Go to Wikipedia. Hit “random... Read more
or click
The first random Wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2 - Go to Quotations Page and select "random quotations"
or click
The last four or five words of the very last quote on the page is the title of your first album.

3 - Go to Flickr and click on “explore the last seven days”
or click
Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4 - Use Photoshop or similar to put it all together.

5 - Post the results to Facebook with these instructions in the "caption" or "comment" box, and tag the friends you want to join in.

Sensible #5 - 2 Timothy 1:15-18 - Difficulties come

15You know that everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes.

16May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. 17On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me. 18May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! You know very well in how many ways he helped me in Ephesus.


Today was spent in Bray at the Church's Ministry of healing "Quiet Day" it is quite interesting as what I have written for todays reflection on the reading was written before the day started ...over a cuppa in the rectory but has some relation to what happened during it

I don't know about you but there are times and seasons - times of real growth and vitality in ministry, in relationships, in kingdom of God business and then thre are seasons where things are not going well at all. In this passage we see the extreme nature of this "you know that ... deserted me."

Paul does not claim anywhere that ministry, or the christian life in general is a bed of roses, that there would be nothing concern us, that it will be great the whole way through but rather there will be times of desert, times when friends will foresake us, times when we will throw up our hands and say "is it worth the hassle".

It is in such times when the difficulties come, when the barreness hits us that we have to hang in there, when we have to look to others as Paul did for the encouragement of believers who can strengthen and "refresh us".

There was many things which struck home with me on the quiet day today

firstly the need to listen to God - this may seem such a simple thing to say, especially for someone who is planning to spend His life working for him, but it is sooo important ... if we loose that closeness with the father all the rest of ministry may as well be lost.

Secondly, as this was the ministry of healing quiet day ... the need for healing is HUGE I was really struck by lots of things Baden had to say about his own self ... what he has struggled with and what God has been saying to him about the past and the things that make him him and me me and you you. There are things which are holding us back, things which are deeply programmed into us which are not healthy, memories from school days, things growing up, experiences we have had with relationships which are completely sub-conscious but which rise to the surface time and again which God really really wants to heal, wants to sort them out.

These are huge things, these things which are unnecessarily upon us but which we hide and we put on a facade, a mask to cover over but which in turn buries what is really going on ... mask over mask until we believe that we are who is being portayed rather than being real and open and honest.

Difficulties do and will come, who will be able to help us through them prayerfully and sensitively?

What sort of things are we masking?

Who do we know that needs refreshing today / this week ... how can we be there for them?

Friday, March 06, 2009

Sensible #4 - 2 Timothy 2:13-14 (The prayer of all preachers)

13What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. 14Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.

Surely this has to be the prayer of all preachers - for our hearers - keep what they have heard from us. But with that there is a impetus upon us - to keep our teaching sound - i.e. free from error. There is within this passage a huge responsibility - guard the good deposit that is entrusted to us.


Prayer, trusted friends & colleagues to give us feedback, good reading materials which will keep us in check, and also what it says in the passage ... the help of the Holy Spirit.

speaking personally, I am constantly reminded of the systematic nature of theology, once you pull at one string of doctrine lots of things rest upon it, so keeping our theology in check, of discussing ideas with others really helps cement what "sound teaching" actually entails. Does that make sense ...?

Then if we reverse this statement and become the hearers of the sound teaching there is a lesson to actually keep what we have heard and and guard it. This certainly is a challenge ... I wonder what I have done with the last piece of sound teaching ... have I let it grow or has it fallen on the rocky soil ...mmmm....

This stuff links directly into our ordination vows

Do you believe and accept the Holy Scriptures as revealing all things necessary for eternal salvation through faith in Jesus Christ?

Do you believe and accept the doctrine of the Christian faith as the Church of Ireland has received it?

In ministry will you expound the Scriptures and teach that Doctrine?

We do need to keep our doctrine sound, we are called to expound the scriptures. It is my prayer for myself and all being ordained that we will hold to sound doctrine so that the truth of the Gospel may be proclaimed.

Silly #4

Oh dear

... its just after 9am and the guards and dublin airport security have been called (i'll not say anything else ..let your mind wander for a while on that!)

you just never know what could happen in college!

What else can happen today ... who knows??? !!!

Update 12 noon - Coffee all over the table ... free coffee ... thanks enki!

Update 6pm - woman in the book shop .... RE :-)

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Silly #3 Reminders

Not too much silly nonsense today in college  .... nah 

Just a couple of reminders 

... Firstly to back up essays and final yr projects 
... To take a day off each week! 

Oh yes and to tidy rooms  .... Always a good Idea! 

This time tomorrow TERM WILL BE OVER ... SCHOOLS OUT FOR ... easter! (or nearly easter!) 

Unfortunately with the amount of work that still needs to be done there is little time for partying  
2 weeks of work on assignments and then its off to Barcelona ... YEAH! 

Sensible #3 - 2 Tim 1:8b-12 - Gospel in a nut shell

But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, 
9who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. 12That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.

Take a look at verse 9 - if you were looking for the gospel in the nutshell it is 

God has saved us and has called us to a holy life ... not because of anything we have done but simply because of who he is ... which is truly amazing ... free grace ...on offer

What has Jesus done, he has destroyed death and brought us eternal life ... That's it, that's what we are proclaiming, that is what we are called to proclaim, to teach and to live out. 

But it is also costly grace in the sense that it cost Jesus his life, it costs us our lives in the form of our total surrender of our wills to his but the irony is that the thing that we give up, we also gain because the life which he promises is life in all its fullness. 

Why bother about ministry at all ...??
see what paul says in verse 12 I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day. 

I am not ashamed, why? because I know whom I believed... Absolutely ... the Jesus in the gospels, the God of the covenant is the same God... he is a faithful God who knit me together and who has a plan for my day... he's the one who I worship, he's the one who has promised eternal life for me, he's the one who I can trust through the darkest hour and the brightest day ... he is the one! 

I am not ashamed and pray that I never will be ashamed of him or the good news to which I am called to proclaim. 

This posting is part of a series of Bible Readings which I am doing on the run up to ordination in the church of ireland. They are my own personal ramblings.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Silly #2 - RTE and Veda!

Well, there ye go ... RTE were in college today looking for a bit of banter about the head shave some of us will be appearing on TV on the 22nd March.

A wee bit more publicity for the hospital in Zambia

remember you can still send cheques to CITI, Braemor Park D14 payable to USPG

or if you prefer you can donate to USPG directly

The funny thing today was as I was working on project, mike was in the room, the man from RTE came in and recognised Mike as the "man in the purple shirt" from a prior broadcast ... one wonders if it is a prophecy! :-)

Oh Yes ... did you know that you can send veda on facebook???

Image courtesy of Garrett Casey D&G Press Office

Sensible No. 2 - 2 Timothy 1: 1-8

Well, this morning we are looking at the text of 2 Tim 1:1-8 which states

1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus,
2To Timothy, my dear son:
Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

Encouragement to Be Faithful
3I thank God, whom I serve, as my forefathers did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. 4Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. 5I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. 6For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
8So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God

Being the opening of the letter there are a couple of things to note here, firstly who is writing this letter, Paul (Look how he describes himself - an apostle of Christ Jesus) by the will of God according to the promise of Christ Jesus. 

On this first point we should not be surprised to see Paul saying that it is by God's will that he is an apostle - Let us remember that Paul was living as the infamous Saul before his dramatic conversion on the road to Damascus. Some people today have dramatic conversion stories, stories which tell what they were before they met Jesus and what they were like after they did. an encounter with the living God. Many would shirk away from using such terminology as they are "just normal", they have gone to church, grown up in sunday school etc etc. But those are just as important. The important thing is that as Christians we understand that we are in a relationship with Jesus and that we are clinging to the promise of Christ Jesus. 

Isn't it great how this apostle Paul describes Timothy ... my dear son 
One of the things over the last year I have thoroughly appreciated in the chuches which I have been in is the encouragement from rectors and parishioners, their encouragement, their guidance and the love shown. There are some people who have as one of their natural gifts to encourage, to build up and to show concern for people. Paul displays it here as he sends his opening greeting to Timothy. 

Remember you Constantly in prayer 
One of the things which I am hoping to work on over the next few months as I complete this "sensible" series is constancy in prayer. it is crucial for survival as a christian. There is a book from Bill Hybels entitled "too busy not to pray" and I can think of many times when I have got this one the wrong way round thinking "too busy to pray". Who or what should we be praying for ... well anything / anyone really! - who needs our prayer today?, what circumstances need our prayer? 

I am reminded of your sincerce faith 
It is amazing the amount of times I, like Paul am reminded of instances of people's faith in certain circumstances, of conversations I have had with people who are inspiring people, people who are normal but express a deep love of the Lord. I wonder is there anyone you know who you have had that sort of thing with?, people who you know have a sincere faith?

fan into flame the gift of God 
Discipleship is hard work! I don't know if you have ever tried to light a campfire, when I think about this I am reminded of my old scouting days of trying to light a fire in the middle of the countryside. Sod dug, dry leaves dry kindle then the wind comes. It is difficult but it is possible, you just need to keep working at it, fan the flame... work at it ... this image when you think about it logically the spark, turns into a flame, the flame into a fire which is useful and which is blazing. 

Not timidity 
At our core, many of us are shy, quiet people not wanting to upset people rather wanting to please and keep all on our side. We are not called to be timid but rather we have through God a spirit of power, of love and self-discipline. This links to what we call the fruit of the spirit 
"love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control" If this is the "stuff" which God is producing in us then we need to be displaying it in our christian walk. In situations where we feel out of our depth, let us remember that it is not us but Christ working through us. 

Do not be ashamed to testify about our lord 
I have come across a couple of good friends who live out this verse to its full. People who are not called to be clergy but who are not ashamed to testify about Jesus but who "acknolwedge Him" in everything they do. How am I / you testifying to the Lord today? 

A couple of Questions picked from the BST Study notes for you to think about
  1. What does it really mean to wish someone grace mercy and peace? 
  2. What are the 4 major influences on Timothy's life and are you aware of similar factors on your own?

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Silly side of college life - No. 1

Sitting this evening in the dinning room over veda we were reminissing about childhood songs and one came up which we couldn't get all the lyrics to ... Post Man Pat 

Postman Pat, Postman Pat 
Postman Pat and his black and white cat 
Early in the morning just as day is dawning 

... and that is as far as we got. 

so here is the whole thing ...

Postman Pat.  Postman Pat.  Postman Pat and his black and white cat.
Early in the morning, just as day is dawning, he picks up all the post bags in his van.

Postman Pat.  Postman Pat.  Postman Pat and his black and white cat.
All the birds are singing, and the day is just beginning.  Pat feels he's a really happy man.

Everybody knows his bright red van, all his friends will smile as he waves to greet them,
Maybe, you can never be sure, there'll be knock (knock knock)
Ring (ring ring).  Letters through your door.  (Hee Hee).

Postman Pat.  Postman Pat.  Postman Pat and his black and white cat.
All the birds are singing, and the day is just beginning.  Pat feels he's a really happy man

And heres the You Tube video for it! 

Pastoral Epistle Series No. 1 - 2 Timothy

Why start with 2 Timothy? Well its quite simple really, I am using a couple of commentaries and only have 2 Timothy at the minute here in college ... so no deeper theological reasoning than that! 

A bit of background to this ... 

1 & 2 Timothy are books full of good advice for someone starting out on ministry, they are full of warnings, encouragements and love from an established leader (Paul) to someone starting out on oversight of a local church community. It would be my aim over the next few weeks to work through these and blog the things that I discover which are bloggable and journal the things which I need to remember for myself. I hope that as readers of the blog you may join me in looking at the passage. Who knows we may all learn something about the Gospel to which we are called to proclaim either in a up-front ministry capacity or in our everyday lives as we live out the gospel. 

More Regular Blogger ...

Right, I have decided that on the run up to finishing college that I will be a more regular blogger, simply to catch the essence of what is going on in the life of the bottom floor corridor as well as random thoughts and insights from the bible. With under 5 weeks of semester time left ...time is running short, but it is also getting exciting. 

Inspired tonight in college fellowship I am thinking of tucking into a feast of the pastoral epistles, looking at what they have to say for the random ordinand who will shortly becoming the random curate at knock.down! 

In the midst of projects and essays ... spending a little time looking at these may be just what the Dr ordered!!! (Literally) :-) 

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Hospitals in Mission

When I was at church today, some people have been asking me about our hair cutting and about what we were rasising money for.

Well it is for St. Francis hospital in SE Zambia.

A freind who knows the hospital well commented on a recent email

| St. Francis is the largest and best Mission Hospital in Zambia, and
| > often takes both Irish and British medical students on their electives
| > as well as one or two who have already qualified. We met one delightful
| > young lady from Galway on our way through Lusaka who was on her way for
| > a second stint at the hospital having served a short elective there and
| > now returning as a qualified doctor. It serves a *huge* area, and
| > provides a reliable and effective emergency take in service as well as a
| > wide variety of routine health services for what is, even for Zambia, a
| > remote rural area. James Cairns, a Third Order Franciscan, was surgeon
| > there for many years together with his wife Faith, and I had the honour
| > of meeting them last year. Right now the hospital is run by a very nice
| > English couple whose kids were at school with our two. The hospital also
| > acts as a teaching base for nurses, building skills and capacity for
| > Zambia's desperately needy health service and there is a CMS sponsored
| > nurse-midwife tutor.

Details on St. Francis Hospital can be found ... (Their website) (The USPG project we are supporting)

Also this question got me thinking about CMS Ireland and the hospital I have seen as part of my trips out there ... Kiwoko Hospital in Luwerro Diocese which is doing some absolutely amazing work with the community.

Details of that hospital can be found here

For those who are interested in helping our appeal cheques (made payable to USPG Ireland) for the hair cutting can be sent to me - Robert Ferris, CITI, Braemor Park Dublin 14.