Photo credits

The Embalse de Riano in northern Spain. The picture was taken by .... me!

Wednesday, June 28

Financial Crisis

Financial crisis? What financial crisis?

Well, like most people, I find that money is always an issue.

My parent’s approach was simple. As missionaries, they had no salary as such, and relied entirely on donations for decades. If things got a bit tight, they would tell God about it and a few days later a cheque would arrive in the post. There was one time when they didn’t have the money for their car tax. They knew a cheque was due, but it was delayed and delayed. Eventually it did arrive, on a day when the exchange rate between £ and the local currency changed. This meant that the value of the cheque increased – by the amount needed for the car tax. Most Christians can tell you this kind of story.

I have a good salary. Civil Engineering is not the most lucrative profession by any means, but I am paid significantly above the national average. But I have a big family, which eats a lots, needs a lot of clothes, goes to sports clubs and friends birthdays, and needs a bigger car for transport, and needs a bigger house to live and sleep in, and where some families manage with one computer we need at least two for them to do their homework. When we committed ourselves to having a big family, the generous child tax credits from the government were not available or even thought of. But God has provided these at just the right time.

I’ve already said in earlier posts that when we were struggling to keep our kids at the private school, God provided a miraculous mortgage at just the right time.

And I’ve already told you that the inheritance for our larger-than-we-could-have-dreamed-for house arrived two days before the deadline.

And so our story has constantly been that at the moment of financial crisis, God has always rescued us. It has got to the point where if we ever receive an unexpected some of money, we don’t spend it because we know that God has foreseen a need that is coming up.

Now the trouble with posting this on the internet is that it will be read by baddies as well as goodies. It is quite possible that some scheming demon will decide to add to my financial pressures. And the truth is, God is not OBLIGED to bail us out all the time. We tend to think of him as the God of the 11th hour – help in the nick of time. But there are many people for whom this has not been the case it it doesn’t have to be for us. God will still be God. There will be times when he comes, not in the 11th hour but in the 13th, when the crisis has struck with full force. There may be a day when our house is repossessed by the mortgage company – it will not undo all the things God has already done for us. Here may come a time when a child falls sick and we pray, but the child dies anyway. God is still God. He doesn’t have to do anything for us. Let us be grateful that in his love he nearly always does, and that in the times when he doesn’t it is only so that he can use the disaster to open the door to new avenues of blessing. All things [including the really bad things] work together for the good of those that love him [even if the bad things are genuinely BAD!!]

Friday, June 23

Let God Choose Your House (3)

I said we managed to sell our house with the beautiful house with a bad neighbour within a year. Since it is never straightforward, this involved getting a buyer, who then dropped out, marketing for months, getting some friends to nearly buy it, having an excited viewer put off by the neighbour, telling our friends not to buy it because of the neighbour, and eventually selling it to the original buyer for less than they originally offered.

In the meantime we had been looking for houses with six or more bedrooms. We found the one we wanted, just at the very top of our price range and a bit beyond. We could stretch to it. We viewed it on the first day that it came available, we were the first viewers, we placed our offer and had it provisionally accepted before the second viewers (who had been waiting their turn outside) came in. They placed a higher offer, and having already sold their own house they were in a position to move straightway. So we lost it.

What was God playing at? The perfect house, clearly destined for us, yet he let someone else in! We held on to it by faith. It would come back to us. This was a mistake – it did not come back to us. Our faith was tested again.

But then god’s plan revealed itself. My childless spinster aunt in London passed away, we sold her house and our share of the inheritance increased our budget by 45%!

We looked around a whole load more properties – much bigger and brighter, and eventually settled on one. Still waiting for our house to sell. Finally when it did sell we got cold feet on the one we wanted to buy – it was very posh but that won’t last long when you have kids. We looked at a few more, and found that for only a small amount more we would be in the next size bracket. This came to light with a whole hotel that was for sale, but unfortunately that already had an offer and they wouldn’t negotiate with us.

But then we found one in a better location closer to the town centre, close to our new church, close to the older children’s school bus stop, still close enough to the primary school, a short walk from all the shops etc. My wife still suffered arthritis, so these distances were good, but she was in remission and no longer needed the hospital visits.

The money from my Aunts inheritance arrived two days before we needed it to buy the house. God’s timing is perfect.

The house has two bedrooms in the attic, four on the main floor, and three or four (depending on what you count as a bedroom) in the basement. A room for each child and some spare.

What about damp? Well if you look close there are a few spots, but nothing beyond control.

What about neighbours? We live next to a pub, so no one complains about OUR noise or OUR parking!!!

And so, having allowed God to select our houses in the past, based on his criteria rather than our own, and having allowed God to say yes and no to the houses we liked, he has finally rewarded us with something that is much bigger than our wildest dreams.

Thank you, Lord Jesus!

Stories still to come before I catch up with the present:-

Financial crisis resolved
Changing churches
Victory over sin

Thursday, June 22

Let God Choose Your House (2)

So we moved to a bigger house in a nicer area. It was a really nice property, with a mock Tudor front and a long garden with good trees. It was a short walk from the park, a short walk from church (which meant we were able to care for someone’s autistic child while they went to church occasionally), a reasonable walk to the kid’s school, and a short walk to either of the hospitals.

We didn’t know when we moved there that my wife was about to develop rheumatoid arthritis and need a lot of hospital visits – it was a very convenient location.

It was good to have the extra space as well – at our old house our fifth child had been sleeping in a cot in the entrance hall! Now they each had a room to themselves! Later, since the girls were good friends, we put them in a shared room and converted the small bedroom to a computer room.

We enjoyed a fantastic view of the garden from the lounge french window. We were visited by frogs, wood pigeons, and a whole range of birds. The kitchen was antique, with all hand made work tops, cupboards and drawers. There was a cast iron range, and various original 1930s features.

How we praise God!

But, as I said in the last post – you can’t run away from problems. Damp started to show in the loft extension where the boys were sleeping, But our neighbour was the great test to our patience. He would complain if our children raised their voices above a whisper (his swearing loudly at his wife was different, of course!), he blamed all wind damage on their games, would not let us come and go without wanting to know where we had been, and so on. He complained if we had lights on at night. He would stand in his side passage and talk loudly ‘to his wife’ but so that we could hear, about all these terrible things we were doing. More importantly, he would harass our guests if they parked on the street outside. If they parked in front of his house, there would be a really big row. This terminated our plans to hold house group meetings in the house. Now a casual reader might think that he was right and that we were the problem. But the man was notorious for this behaviour throughout the street.

New baby - time to move to a bigger house again. This time we sold within a year, although not without trials as I shall tell in my next bulletin. But I have just to comment that we lost two sales and several viewings owing to the neighbour complaining to the potential buyers ‘loitering’ while the looked at our house with their car parked nearby.

So why do we keep letting God choose our house? Because although I am moaning about the problems, the houses were actually very good in many ways and we had happy times there and met the people God had appointed us to meet. There was also progress – each house was better than the last. But all this has really been building up to the next house, which I am still in, and very happy. Read on in the next post!

Tuesday, June 20

You can't run away

In my last post I told how we bought a house, convinced that it was God’s plan for us, but that it was not plain sailing all the way. There were problems with neighbours, damp, and so on.

We quickly became discouraged.

I told how the value of the house was not so much in the house and the neighbourhood, but more in the relationships developed while we were there. We didn’t appreciate this at the time. There was a Methodist church literally at the next corner, where our children went to the Mums and Toddlers Group. Like many Methodist churches, the true gospel originally preached by their founder Wesley had been largely diluted, but the minister was still a sound Christian and did his best to overcome the tide. It’s sad that so many people have turned Christianity into ”being-nice-ianity”, holding a form of godliness but denying its power. But that minister was good and preached a much sounder gospel than his congregation could handle. More to the point, through the kids work we got in touch not only with him but other good Christians too, and also had evangelistic opportunities with the other mums.

We were also close to the Elim Pentecostal church, which had an excellent pre-school group which exceeded all government standards. It’s leader was a nearby neighbour, about whom we were told “All her carpets are threadbare because she gives all her money to the church”. God has noted her sacrifice! That group was responsible for my children’s early education, both Spiritual and secular.

But we didn’t fully appreciate these things, and going to bed every night looking at a damp ceiling that no builder seemed able to fix, we soon became disheartened and put the house on the market after a year.

The trouble is, we needed to learn two lessons.

1) God will stick to his own agenda. He had put us in that house – he wasn’t about to move us out!
2) You can’t run away from problems. The only successful path is through them.

So we put the house on the market. Four years later, we were still waiting.

Finally, we agreed a price with some buyers. Jubilation! We testified to the goodness of God in church. Then the buyers pulled out of the deal.

We were so messed up that my wife could not go to church for two weeks. I went, forcing myself to sing praise through gritted teeth.

But then another buyer came, and this time the sale went through and we moved to a bigger, nicer house and a much smarter neighbourhood.

When God’s time is right, it all falls into place, doesn’t it?

Monday, June 19

Let God Choose Your House (1)

We let God choose our house.

We have done this several times. Each time we think we have learned the process from the previous time, but make life hard for ourselves by making the same mistakes again.

My wife bought her first house before we married. As a young adult, she and a friend were about to buy it together, but the friend got a boyfriend and went off to marry him instead. This was quite traumatic for my wife, bearing in mind she was only in her early twenties. She asked advice of her church pastor, who suggested that she could still buy the house on her own. He provided support while she negotiated the price, obtained a mortgage, dealt with solicitors, etc. Once she had moved in, she took on church friends as lodgers to help cover the costs. Over the next few years the value of the house doubled!

I came on the scene at this stage and married her. (Well, its one way to become a home owner!)

We started having babies and the house soon became too small. We put our house on the market and looked around for something meeting our budget and our need for somewhere big enough for our family plans. We searched for ages and eventually found one, and had our provisional offer accepted. But we still had not sold ours. This was hard because we were convinced that we should be moving, and were convinced that the house we had found was the right one. Eventually the house we wanted was taken off the market and rented out to someone else. We were still convinced it was our house! Finally we sold ours. We approached the owner of ‘our house’ and re-tendered our offer. He accepted it, but could not give us the house until the rental contract ran out in 4 months time. So, still convinced it was ‘our house’, we rented somewhere as well. Normally there is a six month minimum contract, but the Lord provided us with a 4 month minimum contract, and at an unusually low cost.

Despite all this, the doubts set in. The neighbourhood we were due to move into seemed to go downhill with some neglect and dereliction. We renewed our search for a house, but nothing came up. We went back to the pastor. (on a beautifully sunny day when he was dishing out home-grown strawberries and ice cream!). he said that if we had an agreement with the vendor, then a Christians we should honour it.

And so we did.

The neighbourhood had indeed gown downhill. The house had developed damp. Our neighbour’s children threw things at our kids and dropped knives and broken glass onto our patio. Where was God in this?

He was in the nearby Methodist and Elim Pentecostal churches where our children established lifelong friends and established themselves firmly in their own Christian faith.

Lunch break over – I’ll tell you about the next time, next time!!

Sunday, June 18

Delays delays

Been busy lately and not keeping up with my blog!

Excuse list:

Wednesday - away looking at the physical model of my calculations again - still looking good!

Thursday - funeral. My wife's uncle, father of one of our bridesmaids, passed away at 60. A decent bloke by anyone's assessment, but not a christian as far as I know. Travelled across the country to be tere, and then just after the coffin had been brought in and the entry music was fading away my 6 year old vomited on the carpet of the church and I had to miss the rest of the service cleaning up.

On the way back from the funeral we were deliberately travelling during the England football match to guarantee light traffic. Stopped 10 minutes before the end to bet some food before the main rush, and happened to see England's two goals on the telly in the takeaway!

Friday - colleagues have started expecting me to join them at lunch breaks. THis is very good, but I can hardly hear what they are saying in the echoing canteen and I just sit ther like a zombie.

Saturday - no chance. houswork, childcare etc. Didn't even manage my long-overdue hair cut.

Sunday - got up early to study and ended up doing this instead.

Will try to continue catching up with the story of God's extraordinary goodness in my life as sson as possible.

Back to my studies! Byeeee!

Tuesday, June 13

My calculations were right!

I have to show you this photo. I spent about three months calculating predicted water levels and the balance of flows across three detritors in a sewage treatment works. There was also two flumes,a hunting penstock controlling a storm weir, three escalator fine screens, 4 submersible pumps, and three coarse screens. I looked at storm flows, full flow to treatment, dry weather flow, and maintenance conditions, as well as those awkwrd flows where it changes from duty to duty and assist. We then arranged for a 1:10 scale model to be built, and the results were within 5% of my calculations. It's nice to get a 'Good boy' letter from the company's higher echelons and directors occasionally.

It gets Scary!

I promised more scary stuff so here we go.

This is the bit where God sent our first two children to a private school.

(For readers outside the UK, most schools in this country are run by the local authority or directly by the government – these are called State Schools, and are free of charge and are not generally allowed to select pupils on the basis of ability. There are also ‘Faith Schools- basically state schools but subsidised by the Anglican or Roman Catholic Churches, which means they can give admission priority to children from their own faith or other Churches. Then there are Independent or Private Schools, also called Public Schools just to confuse you, which are independent of the government and can select pupils by whatever criteria (other than racist) they wish. You have to pay a fee to send your child to these schools, typically about £7500 per year.)

I have always been opposed to private education on the grounds that it is a ridiculously large amount of money to spend for a relatively small increase in the child’s results.

However, as our oldest child passed through primary school, he proved to be unusually bright. The headmaster put the thought in our minds: “He could go to ##### School”. We therefore started to look at it a bit more seriously. The local state schools were mediocre, the nearest one with half decent results was a long way short of the private school mentioned. They also had discipline problems. My niece complained of her art lessons – “It’s hard to draw an orange when it is flying around the classroom”. The Private School had excellent results and much better discipline. Not harsh – just an understanding that respect is given and received.

So we stuck our lad in for the entrance exam – the Lord would use the result as a guide.

His result was in the top 2%!!

The next question was the fees – there was absolutely no way that we could afford them. But God knows what he is doing. Since most private schools are registered as educational charities, to qualify for registration they have to have a system of assisted places for able pupils who would otherwise be unable to attend. Through this system, we were only required to pay ¼ of the fees – which coincided with some other loans being paid off and we could afford it.

A year later our next son came along. We put him in to the entrance exam again asking for divine guidance, and he too passed with flying colours.

So we have two sons at a private school – a true miracle on our income.

God provides – if you count credit cards as God’s provision.

Eventually, much like Elijah’s brook running dry, we reached our credit card limit and went trough a highly stressed time. We already had a massive mortgage. How could we raise the funds to continue their education?

I contacted my professional institution’s benevolent fund, expecting them to take one look at my salary and tell me to go away. But instead, they put me in touch with their specialists who arranged a self-certification mortgage for us. This was unusual in that rather than asking us for explicit details of the income we were self-certifying, it only asked us to certify that we could afford the payments with only the briefest statement of income.

Now I am a little troubled by the next bit – knowing what income they needed us to quote to permit the mortgage, we quoted that figure. Our logic was – God has led us to this private school. He has led us to this house. He has led us to this self-certification mortgage company. Who are we to say that he will not give us this income? I accept that this is stretching the definitions of integrity, and I don’t advocate that anybody else should do it. But what it does mean is that we cleared the credit cards and put away a fund to pay the school fees until they reach 16 after which there is a natural break to transfer to the very good local state sixth form college.

Our next scare came within six moths. In the annual review of our assisted place they suddenly started counting the tax credit as income, which had been explicitly excluded before. Because of our big family, this was a large amount, and would have meant that we would have to take the boys out of the school. More desperate prayer!

I arranged an appointment with the headmaster and explained how the rule change had a disproportionate effect on our family compared to others. He agreed entirely, and citing the boys’ excellent behaviour and performance, arranged for their fees to be fixed plus inflation until they finish or we have a change in circumstances. Praise God!!!

The next worry was our third son. We wanted to treat him equally, but knew that this time we really, really couldn’t afford to send him to the private school. Much prayer for wisdom! But this boy was a very different boy from the others. If I give a book to one of them in the evening, they give it back in the morning having read it from cover to cover. But if I give number 3 a book, he reads half way down the fly-leaf and hands it back – bored. The first two study diligently for hours doing their homework. Number three completes it as quick as possible and runs out to play football. We realised that he would not be happy in the intensely academic atmosphere of the private school. And on top of that, in that year, the closest state secondary school improved its standards and achieved the highest state school results in the area, only a little short of the private school, even though it does not select on ability. So our number 3, who is still very bright even if not academic, is happily going to the nearest state school, and doing very well free of charge. God knew what he was doing all along.

So the education and fees for our sons has been a major source of stress over the years, and it has been very scary, but I can state categorically that if you allow God to take charge of your life he will provide for you at these difficult times. This is the adventure of a normal life given to God.

Monday, June 12

Children (Part 2)

Where was I?

Oh yes, kids! I was just saying how God answered our prayers with a daughter. It turned out that she was a really nice baby, good looking and very quiet compared to our three lively boys.

But money was getting tight. We had now met our first option target - 4 kids. So prayerfully, I went through the procedures to get a vasectomy. We thought it would be a miracle either way: if we had the vasectomy could copld make it fail and provide more kids, but if we didn't go for it it would take a miracle for us to NOT have more, being a fortunately fertile couple.

As the big day approached, we started having serious doubts. Yes, money was tight, but we didn't feel complete. On the actual day, I had more or less decided not to go through with it. BUt to clinch it and to give me that reassurance that God was guiding - on the morning taht I was due to go in the hospital phoned me up. I was the only person on their list for the day, and the surgeon didn't want to travel owing to the heavy snowfall - did I really want it? I said 'no', and praised God. Not to long afterwards, baby number 5 came along. This was another girl, to confound the doctors even more, and provided a good play mate for the first girl. I am one proud Daddy!

Money was really tight now, and we left it a long time before thinking again. We still had in mind the original target of six. And when we were doing a headcount to check we had not lost anyone in the supermarket we kept going 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, where's the other one? So in the end we had to go for it. Number six was a wonderful little boy.

Around this time, the govornment changed its benefits system, so what had previously been the "working families tax credit" became "Children's tax credit" and was widely publicised as 'Money with your name on it'. I had never dared applying for such things in the past - I did have a good salary and thought the clerks would laugh at me for applying. But in the new regime, presenting these things in a much more positive light, I stuck in an application to see what would happen. The result was much more generous than I had dared to dream of.

So God had tested our faith. He had lead us through th steps of building up the family that he wanted us to have. He ahs pressed us financially to see if we would trust him in it. And then, once the family was complete, and we had passed the test of faith, he provided the finance needed for the large family. We did not go in to having a big family with any expectation of 'living off benefits' - but we do benefit from the govornment's policies which are aimed at reversing the falling native population of these islands. My kids will pay for your pension!

We thank and praise God for his provision in our life - providing a large family of exceptional kids, and providing the finance for them.

The adventure continues, and gets a lot more scary than this!


What Shall I tell you about today, then?

First I have to say how good church was yesterday. The Holy Spirit was undeniably present - not in terms of charismatic phenomena (that was last week) but in terms of people meeting God and moving on. Not least the Vicar, who preached a very relevant sermon from Acts ch2 - again not about the supernatural apects but about how the disciples were 'all together' - spot on for our church which has not been entirely harmonious for the last 24 months. But his sermon showed his deep passion for the church to be God's church, doing God s will. His closing words were "are you an institutional christian, or a New Testament Christian?". Not long ago he would have been burned at the stake for speaking those words from an Anglican pulpit. It is very exciting to see God at work.

Now all that fits into the theme of this blog - God making an adventure out of ordinary things - but I'm getting ahead of myself becasue I wanted to catch up on what God has done for me in the past before making it more of a contemporary record as I go along.

Today I want to talk about children.

As a young man I was never really enamoured with the idea of children. Ii suppose it comes from a day when as a 17 year-old my lunch breaks in the prefects' common room were disturbed by small boys screaming shrilly and jostling for places in the refectory queue just outside. At this stage too I was cringeingly embarrassed to be seen pushing my new neice in her pram in the street - that was 'woman's work'. Anything to do with babies was for girls.

But we have a God who likes to change people, don't we?

As I got to know my future fiance, I learned very quickly that her gifting lies in children. She was a qualified teacher working at a local primary school. She was keen on the children's work in the church. But more importantly, she was desperate to be a motehr in her own right, not just of one or two, but of a large family.

I was not one to argue with God about this - I was sure that she was the one for me. If she wanted children, it was down to me to change. We agreed that we would go for either 4 or 6 children. We knew that we could not afford any children, let alone a big faily. But we took the view that if we waited till we could afford it we would nver do it. Anyway, we felt that this was what the Lord wanted for us. Not necessarily for everyone, but certainly for us.

We got on with it as soon as we were married, and our first boy was born the next year. 22 moths later boy number 2, and after another 16 months boy number 3. All along we had been wanting a girl - not that we didn't want boys but we definately wanted a girl. The doctors advised that we would probably continue having boys. So we prayed desperately that the next would be female. In fact my wife made a vow - that she would actually manage a quiet time everyday until the scan, to reinforce her prayers. So she locked herself in the toilet - the only quiet place with three young boys in the house - and diligently studied the Bible and prayed every day.

Then came the day of the scan. We had never asked the gender before, but this time we did, and although the health service will never say anything too definite in case they get it wrong, we had done our homework and could see clearly in the image that this was indeed the girl we had prayed for.

Afterwards we embraced and cried with joy - God had heard our prayers. The adventure continued.

I'll carry on with this tomorrow - but must go now to my workplace Christian Fellowship.

Tara for now.

Saturday, June 10


England just won the world cup!!!! (well, the first match, anyway)

In football (soccer to you Yanks) we rely on individual genius such as Wayne Rooney and Steve Gerrard, but they choose to play as part of a team.

It's the ame in our faith. Jesus has done it all - paid the price, won the victory, lived a perfect life on our behalf, saved us from the penalty for our sins, released us from the Law - you name it, he has done it. But he chooses now to fulfill his purpose through us. He is not ashamed to call us brothers. He also calls us as part of the church "his bride" or "his body". When Christ works in the world today, he does it through us. He uses us to do his work in the world. But even then, we are totally useless at this unless he comes and lives in us and fills us with his spirit. So even when we are doing his work, it is really him working through us.

At the end, when England lifts the world cup to the yelling crowds, every member of the team shares the glory, even if they haven't touched the ball. And at the end of time, when God wraps up the world and calls everyone and everything to account, Jesus will receive the full glory for his triumph but we will be there as part of his team, sharing in his glory, lifting the cup with him.


Friday, June 9

God provides........a wife!

I'm back at my desk after a very hot sunny morning surveying sewage works. I'm measuring water depths to calibrate my calculations. But there's quite an ecosystem out there - bugs feed on the sewage, spiders and housemartins feed on the bugs. There's also rabbits and pheasants, and I'm told foxes too.

But that's not what I'm here to talk about. This is a blog about God changing your life, if you let him take the driving seat. This post is about what a man needs most.

At school I as not exactly the Mr Cool that had a crowd of girls buzing around him. In fact I was unhygienic and snotty-nosed, and generally unpleasant. No girlfriend action at all! Well, there was one girl, that put up with me for three consecutive morning breaks - 3/4 hour in total. there was a girl that I really liked, and a pinched a rose from the school gardens every day and put it on her desk. After tolerating me for several months she finally said "I like you Simon, but nt tat much!". Oh well! My second school was boys-only, and I almost forgot what the opposite gender looked like.

Going to University I thought would bring new fortune in this department. But then in a moment of insanity, it clicked in my mind that the purpose of going to college was to get a degree, not to get distracted by other things. So I rashly vowed to God that I would not get involved with girls while at college.

I still asked one or two girls - most said a flat no, but during a year out from college (I had to re-take some exams) I felt exempt from my vow and developed something with a lovely young lady. But I wasn't very comfortable and soon elft her, explaining it wa not her fault but to do with my vow, etc. After college I tried to see her agian, but it was too late.

During my first job, my colleagues were in no dobt about my faith, but were very scornful of my idea that I would only marry another Christian and that she would be a virgin. I oved to a new job and a new church in the north, and after I had been there a month i thought "If i'm going to be part of this church I need to start pulling my weight", so I started welcoming people who looked like visitors. One was a young lady sitting at the end of a row, looking rather sad. As it happens, she was praying for a husband! So when I welcomed her, and it turned out she had already been at the church for 4 years, and we had had a laugh, and i had given her a lift home, and she had invited me in for coffee - I went home very happy!

Within a month we had our first official "date", and 11 months later we were married. First baby the following year. 17 years late we are still together, have six kids, a minibus, and a very big (by English standards) house. I'm not going to pretend it has all been easy and that there have been no dark days or rows, but we are still very much in love. I am totally convinced that We were made for each other by God, and this conviction helps in the hard times.

Had you seen me as a school boy, you could easily have thought no one would ever love me. But God has changed me inot something more attractive, and has given me the wife of my dreams.

My Normal life is not just an adventure - its a good one!

Thursday, June 8

My Second Day as a Blogger!

The Normal Life Adventure is a learning experience. For example, "Normal Life Adventure" is a very dull and unoriginal title for a blog! I may change it.
I also realise that I should not try to tell my whole life story - just pick out bits.
So, yesterday I told how I became a Christian at a very young age. Several times over the next few years I said - "Lord, if I didn't mean it then, I do now". But I do think that first occasion was the one that counted.
When I reached 13, I was baptised by imersion as a believer.
At 15, I started to experience for myself that God does things, rather than knowing this by proxy through my parents' experiences as un-salaried missionaries who were never short of what the needed. For me it started with a change of school. I was at a boarding school which charged reduced fees for the children of missionaries, and the remainder was paid mostly by an educational grant from the UK govornment (since my parents were overseas). It was a really good school, but didn't really have the facilities to reach science at A level (16-18 years old), and so I asked my parents if tere was apossibility of me changing school at that stage. We explored several ideas, none of which were really likely. But then out of the blue, we had a phone call that my grant would be terminated unless I moved to a state school. The sate school they named was much better for sciences at A level than the school I was in. So God saw my desires, and made changes in areas where I had absolutely no influence, to give me the good things that I asked for.
So life with God is truly and adventure. It gets better, so keep following my posts!

Wednesday, June 7


Well, here we go! My normal life continues to be an adventure, as I set up a blog for the first time - not helped by a crash half way through the process. Hope this works!

So, why the title "Normal Life Adventure"?

Basically, I'm just a normal bloke. Well, actually I am a chartered engineer specialising in hydraulics in sewage treatment works and sewer networks. That's the dull part. I also have a wife and six kids - more of an adventure! But deep incise I'm just a normal day when I was a child I was listening to a tape (1969) of a sunday school choir singing

Into my heart
into my heart
come in today
come in to stay
come into my heart, Lord Jesus.
I realised that that was what I wanted, that intimate presence, that close relationship. That night my mother (come on, I was only 5, I needed some guidance) helped me to ask Jesus into my heart.
And so my normal life was changed into an adventure. I stopped being just a kid, and became a God-kid. A kid stuffed full of God. A bag full of gold bars is more than an empty bag, isn't it? A kid full of God is more than just a kid!
Well, my lunch break is coming to an end so I will have to stop typing. But as I continue to blog i hope to show how life with God changes a normal bloke's normal life into an adventure.
And by the way, I am not as illiterate as my typing would suggest - I just can't type very well. Who cares! See ya tomorrow!