Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Keith Green

I remember as a kid, my mum playing Keith Green at home and telling us how great he was. I didn't get what was so great about him and thought his music was old fashioned. Recently though I started listening to him again and the lyrics of his songs blew me away!

Keith always had a love for music and grew up singing and playing the guitar and piano. Despite his obvious talent, he never had the breakthrough he was hoping for and at the age of 15 he ran away from home in search for truth and purpose. He explored drugs, music, eastern mysticism and free love but nothing left him satisfied. At the age of 21 he finally found the truth he was looking for in Jesus and was never the same again. As he and his wife, Melody, learnt more about Jesus, they felt the urge to open their home to all those around them in need. Although they didn't have much money themselves they shared what they had with others.

Keith had been writing and playing songs about his search for truth but now all his songs became about his new found love for God, shocking and upsetting many in his audience. Becoming a star no longer mattered to him, he just wanted to serve God and tell the World about this new life he had found. This guy was intense and would often challenge Christians to repent and take their faith seriously.

What inspires me most about this man was his humility and honesty. Though he was radical in his messages he was constantly asking the Holy Spirit to change him and show him his own sin so he could repent and be more like Jesus. As he continued to write songs and became famous the thought of earning money from his ministry greatly disturbed him. Instead he decided to let people buy his music for whatever they could afford to pay and put on concerts for free where thousands of people came and gave their lives to God.

In one of his songs, Oh lord, you're beautiful, he writes;

I want to take your word and shine it all around,
but first help me just to live it, Lord
and when I'm doing well help me to never seek a crown
for my reward is giving glory to you

Oh Lord, please light the fire,
that once burned bright and clear
replace the lamp of my first love
that burns with holy fear.

God continued to use him for great things until he died at the age of 28 in a plane crash. Though his life on Earth was short he had discovered the beauty of Jesus and knew what really matters, living his life with conviction, completely sold out for God. This is a man worth listening to!

Friday, 7 June 2013

The benefits of being single

In a culture that pushes towards being in a relationship its easy to miss out on all the great things about being single. It can be a great season! Here are some reasons why:

1. Firstly, you get to really pursue God for yourself and spend time getting to Him better. This is the most amazing and important relationship we will ever have and what better time to seek it than now? You can find out more of who he is, what he likes, learn to recognize his voice and get as close to Him as you dare. If God isn't number 1 when there's just you, why would he be when there's two of you?

2. You have the time and freedom to find out what you want to live for, what you enjoy doing and dream about before you need to match it with someone else's life.

3. There are so many people to get to know and learn from, friendships to invest in and cafes to try out!

4. The single season is a great time to work on yourself and become the person you want to be. You can build on your character and get rid of the habits and attitudes you don't want before someone else points them out to you. You can try a hobby, give it up and try another one.

5. Now is your chance to find out what you're really looking for in a future spouse and how you want your marriage to be. You can study other people and learn from their experiences and mistakes so you are better prepared to get it right.

6. Lastly, theres also less pressure to look good and be sensible. You've only got your own reputation to look out for so why not be a bit silly if you want to?

Theres a reason for the season and this one right here will never be back so embrace it and enjoy it!

Monday, 20 May 2013

I love the random, everyday conversations with customers that come into the cafe! One of my regulars is a sweet, elderly lady who comes in each day to have a sandwich, a cup of tea and a read in the paper. She loves chatting about the latest news or the tennis and the other day we started talking about Margaret Thatcher. According to her, Maggie was great leader, inspiring many women to make something of themselves. I don't know enough about her to have much of an opinion but pointed out that many people clearly didn't like her. Here she looked at me and said "Remember this, an insecure man will be intimidated by a succesful woman but a secure man will be impressed. You don't want the insecure ones around you anyway."
It got me thinking how it can be hard to be around successful people and encourage them without starting to compare their lives with our own. Life easily becomes a competition where its all about us getting ahead and where others become a threat. Making somebody else look good might just mean they get the recognition that we should of had. Helping somebody else get ahead might mean that we fall behind and get forgotten.

The more I read in the Bible, the more I find that everything seems to be for God and His glory. Creation is for His glory, miracles are for His glory and the very details of my life are designed to be for His glory. God wants to be the one lifted up and in control in our lives.
At first thought this can seem restricting. Why should I submit to some higher being who might not want the same things for my life as I want? Shouldn't I have the right and the freedom to live life the way I want to?But then again, this is God we are talking about. If the creator of all actually cares enough about me to want to have his way in my life, why would I deny myself that privilege? If God in all His power and wisdom would bother to navigate my life, why would I want to try alone? The fact that I don't understand it all or see exactly where my life is going no longer matters. If God is in control, then I longer have to be.
Its exciting to see the way God works in people, creating something unique out of there gifts, dreams and experiences. Each story is different and becomes something beautiful as it fits into the bigger picture. Our lives can be significant! If I know there is a place for me and an awesome plan for my life then why compare with anyone elses?

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

toasted bagels

Yesterday on my daily commute across London, I was reading a book called ”beautiful outlaw” by John Eldredge. It’s a great book, all about Jesus and the sides of his personality that we tend to forget like his playfulness and humor. And of course Jesus would be funny! I mean, there are so many hilarious people on Earth, where else would their sense of humor come from? 
The author of the book shares how Jesus would remind him of his love by showing him hearts in random places that he passed in his everyday life. I loved that thought so I decided to try it for myself and told Jesus I wanted to see a heart too. So, in the Café that morning, toasting a ham and cheese bagel for one of the customers, I lifted the grill lid to find the hole in the middle of the bagel in the shape of a real cute heart. How awesome is that?! That made me smile!
I pointed out the heart to the customer but she wasn’t quite as excited as I was and probably didn’t see it as a sign from Jesus but oh well. Try it for yourself! I reckon God is waiting to make us smile and laugh.

Later that day an elderly lady I hadn’t seen before came into the café for a coffee and sandwich. She told me she had just come over from South Africa. Hearing that, one of our regulars (a woman who comes in every single day for a very hot, skinny cappuccino with as much froth on as will balance in the mug) started chatting to her and asking her about her life. After a couple of minutes the South African was close to tears as she explained how she had recently become a widow and lost her son and had now moved to London. A short time later, these two women were laughing and joking around, talking politics, travels and books as if they had been friends for ages. This regular talks to just about anyone and is often seen by others as pretty annoying  and a little bit mad but I thought it was beautiful to see how she showed interest in the other person’s life and got to hear her story.  There are all these interesting people around us with so much to share if we have the time to listen and be interested. That was my thought of the day…