Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Time for Change at Last!

I am really looking forward to Easter this year.  I have always enjoyed Easter more than Christmas or any other time of the year, and despite the relatively late arrival of the season it is so welcome this time around.  Selfishly, this has a lot to do with the help I have received in overcoming chronic pain.  After 15 years of battling with chronic pancreatic pain, one of the worst pains known to man, I have at last found some relief.  The neuro-stimulator that was implanted at Guy's Hospital, London, in mid February, and then switched on a couple of weeks later, is proving an over-whelming success!  At last, I feel like a new man, and can actually look forward to celebrating this wonderful time of the year.

Diane and I will be travelling to Cardiff in Wales where we will be taking part in the Easter Celebrations in The City Temple, the church where I was the Senior Pastor prior to getting ill.  It is such a joy to be able to even plan to do this with any degree of confidence, but that is how powerfully the equipment has affected us both.  Praise God for this mercy!

Of course we wish it could have been done sooner.  And I still have to be careful with food and abstain from alcohol because of the underlying condition, but it is great to be pain controlled and to be coming off the large amounts of morphine that have been necessary up until now.  I am doing that gradually so as to avoid withdrawal symptoms, but am already down to one third of what I was taking a month ago.

I hope that you too will find help, peace, life and healing this Easter.  After all, that's what it is all about.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

A Prophecy from Satan on the BBC!

I have just witnessed a prophecy from Satan.  Who else would turn the best advice you could ever give to a British audience into an excuse to mock Christians and Christianity - but this guy achieved it in one?  I was watching the BBC following a favourite programme and on came this stand-up comic - now he was good, don't get me wrong, and funny, but he really used and abused some of his large audience to get cheap laughs. Then he made his prophetic announcement.  'Ladies and Gentlemen', he yelled, 'we are living in broken Britain'. No arguments there.  'The only hope for this broken society is that we return to two fundamental truths.  One, we need to restore the sense of shame to individuals in our day.  And two, we need to remind people in Britain today of the reality and the awfulness of Hell.'

Well, the laughter became pretty nervous at this point, but I was riveted to the screen. He asked if there were any Christians among the thousand or so in the audience.  One brave young man put his hand up.  His name was Josh.  I started praying for him.  Others had been humiliated by this fast worker and I thought Josh's time had come.  Then, the comedian (and I am not going to name him because I don't want anybody else to watch him on iPlayer) started describing the horrors of Hell in lurid extra-biblical terms.  His joke became a simple lampooning of the different European accents used to describe the same appalling suffering and what that revealed of the different stereotypical ideas we have about other nationalities.

But I was sure that I had heard a prophecy from a being who knew what he was talking about. A beast that had seen the realities of the after-life without mercy, love, grace, beauty, music or Jesus, and definitely without hope, had spoken, and had done so with this intent.  That by making us laugh he could slip in the truth and we would miss its stark message.  What broken Britain needs RIGHT NOW is a recovery of its sense of shame, and its understanding of Hell.  Please Lord, don't let me laugh about that, and don't EVER let me forget it.