India first few days!

My first cred trip! Already know its not the last, as have already been asked to lead another one next year.

So we flew from Heathrow t4 at about 9:30pm, which started off really well as I was waiting for the others at the wrong W.H.SMITHS….smooth right. It was great seeing all the young people rock up in their Cred team t-shirts. We all had a good chat about how we were feeling etc…mainly nervous and excitement which was expected. However, all completely buzzing about it.

The flight itself was good, comfy seats, good films (fast and furious 6 and Troy) and tasty food. So I have watched Troy a number of times of the years and STILL to this day I haven’t managed to watch the whole thing. I didn’t really sleep on the first flight but started to drop off when we started making our decent into Mumbai and then woke up with the bounce of the wheels hitting the runway. We disembarked and then got fast tracked through customs, security etc because we all wore our team t-shirts and rushed to the next flight which left as soon as we sat down at 1225pm. As the buses were driving us from the lounge to the plane, we drove past loads of slums running along side to the airport, it was quite a sight and them you start noticing they all had satellites dishes on the roofs.  This time not so comfy seats, okish food (same as the time before chicken curry, rice, veg and some sort of flavoured rice pudding) but this time no movies, as the flight was only hour and half.

So we land in Hyderabad and guess what….part of England came with us, it was tipping it down but still very hot. As we were staying over night in Hyderabad we had a chance to go for a bit of a site seeing. So stereotypically loaded with cameras we went to this fort up this hill. It was so amazingly built. Then the heavens opened as we got closer to the top, we were soaked through within minutes, but on the great side of things we got loads of rain photos which was a good laugh. We headed back down to the coach….I forgot to tell you about the coach. So this coach think like any normal coach and bingo, but we had no space for 29 people and each of us having at least two suitcases/holdalls etc and some extra kit as well. So the first 6rows of seats were stacked floor to ceiling of bags, then all around the driver and bit of the corridor just had our luggage. It’s mental here for transport!

Where was I?! Oh yeah so we just got back on the coach soaked through, and Helen the main team leader said we were now going to the market. A while later we got to this market place and the first thing our guide said was:

“Barter for lower prices, they will always try to get more money from you”

So we looked around and loads of stuff there but I managed to the unthinkable for a man and buy (in my opinion and some of the girls on the trip from the schools) 3 nice presents for people and something for me. I bought myself this nice little chess set. Talking about chess my favourite thing I’ve bought with me on the trip is a credit card size magnetic chess set, it’s awesome. However and I hope the Charter boys don’t find this out, I’ve lost the three matches I’ve played so far. Which is truly gutting but he is a very good chess player to give him credit.

We finished shopping, got back on the coach then heading to the hotel where we were staying. And again the traffic was amazing, we got stuck in it for ages, still soaked through. Most of us fell asleep then woke up when we stopped and we were there. We walk to the hotel and I’m like “oh baby, this is what I’m talking about!” It was swish. We got told to drop our bags and go grab some food from the buffet. It was amazing, lots of different proper curries, pastas, soups, salad…it was a good choice. And there was even deserts. 

We headed up to our rooms, I find out that I’m sharing a room with Jim which I don’t mind. We are so similar it’s unreal. We had HDTV with films, hot showers, and comfy bed it was so nice to crash and after a FaceTime with Laura I pretty much did a Mikey as soon as my head hit he pillow I was asleep.

Next morning we went down for breakfast at 8:15 local for buffet breakfast.

  • Pancakes
  • Omelettes with bits of chilli in it (lush)
  • Chilli dough rings
  • Veggie curry
  • Beans
  • Watermelon
  • Cereals
  • Hot coffee
It was so good. Unlikely we had to inform the kids that the hotel where will staying will be nothing like this at all. Gutting. We got on our creatively packed coach and heading back to the airport to get our flight to rajahmundry. We got there and our team and maybe half dozen more people got on the flight. We landed got out the airport and the “coach” that was waiting for us was an old school bus, which thank God we managed to pack all our stuff in it, floor to roof, four rows or seats of bags, with 3 teachers sitting in the walkway. While it was being packed, we played frisbee in the airport pick up zone, and all the soldiers were just leaning on their guns watching us play, which was a bit nerve wrecking when the frisbee almost hit one (not my fault.) It took about 2/3 hours to get to the hotel, can’t tell you how long mainly because I has nodding dog syndrome. And I can tell you it’s interesting, I won’t go into much detail but it’s going to be a long week on a well hard bed.
So nice to be sat here writing this just after finishing curry for dinner, shock I know, sad point is there’s no cobras to go with. But have got air con which is a right blessing I can tell ya.
Right I’m off to sleep, well try, as it is thundering outside atm and due to get worse.
For now from India Mikey signing off! 🙂
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plan prep present

A big annoyance at the moment is the lack of planning, preparation and PRAYER people put in before they present. Wow that was a lot of Ps. Almost makes me wanna go for a pee now lol. 

…..ahhhh thats better, I actually did just go. TMI? 

Swiftly on……it’s something which I’ve had to sort out for myself as well in the past, and Tbh still do now and then. How can we deliver something if we make it up then day before or even the hour before, even better if sometimes as you are walking into a situation or room. 

When I was at Uni I did exactly that I wouldn’t do the work till the very last moment, and look where that got me ….a 3rd class degree without hons in accounting. If I had put the work in especially with my dissy then I could of got a better degree. Although I still don’t think I would be using it anyway, although I am indirectly, as I’m doing some teaching and support maths now at school. 

By going along that trail of thought pattern why don’t we transfer the skill base to our planning and preparation into the stuff we do at church. Whether its our small groups, childrens work, youth work, or just a meeting, we should have fully planned, prepared and prayed into it. 

Jesus often went off by himself to prepare for what was to come. So blimey people wake up if Jesus went to prepare himself shouldn’t we as well. 

But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray. (Luke 5:15, 16 ESV)

So many times in the bible it accounts that where Jesus was great crowds would surround Him and He always showed mercy to them;healing their sick chatting with them. But Jesus was fully human as well as fully good. He would of got hungry, thirsty and tired. He would of needed His space even though He would of always made time for people. 

We know He got tired by the bible actually saying times when He slept. We all know when Jesus sleep asleep in the boat when there was a storm, and all of the disciples were panicking and afraid. 

Another time when Jesus went off by Himself was in Mark 1:35 

And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, and they found him and said to him, “Everyone is looking for you.” And he said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.” (Mark 1:35-38 ESV)

I can picture Jesus leaving in the silence of early morning darkness, aware of His need to pray before the day began, aware of the fact that now that people knew He could cast out demons and heal the sick, that where would be questions and “bitching” (maybe shouldn’t write that but that’s what I mean) from scribes, Jews, Pharisees….basically anyone who wasn’t a follower of Jesus. To get away from all the expectations of people, and to refocus. Jesus often went off on his own to be alone. He prayed alone before any major event mentioned in the gospels. 

So Jesus prepared Himself, so when we are planning we need to prepare ourselves both in the teaching elements but also spiritually in prayer. 

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One small thing can ruin good things

Have you ever noticed how one small thing which is bad can basically destroy all the good things which might of happened. 
You could be right up there in the “good-o-meter” one small thing goes wrong, or you say one stupid thing and whoosh/just like that/snap/any other metaphor you want to enter here and you’re down back at zero or worse you are in the negative side of the good-o-meter.
There is one great book in the bible which says all about how the tongue can be poison to the rest of the body. That book is of course James. Chapter 3 

We put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. (3-8 ESV)

Like the rudder to a ship, our tongue is the rudder to how people see us. Which I know doesn’t really matter or it shouldn’t but it doesn’t reflect badly on us only, it is reflecting on how people see Jesus. Because if we are to truly represent Jesus in this world with our lives then it should be Jesus’ ship our tongue will be ruddering (that’s not a real word and I know it before any one picks up on it) for. 
James goes on to say 

it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water. (James 3:9-12 ESV)

We can’t go from worshiping God on a Sunday morning to then Sunday afternoon slagging someone off. The “holy” ones of you will be saying to yourself but shouldn’t be just worshiping on a Sunday morning, Mikey, should be all the time. Thanks, but yeah I know that, it was making my point.
Basically we need to watch what we say but also (summit I’m always learning and remembering) the tone in which we say it. That last bit I know can be hard but it’s still important. 
If James was to write it now, you know what? I think he would of also wrote not just our tongues but our fingers as we write statuses and tweets on Facebook and twitter. Facebook can reflect badly on Jesus and the church by us not thinking and sharing our annoyances with the world. 
So yeah that’s my thoughts, I won’t share why I started it, but that’s where it lead. So with every cloud they is a silver lining. Every bad things happens for a reason, just have to wait to see how God will use it or what He is trying to teach you from it. 
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Big vs Small

Is it all about bigness and fame. Having the latest thing, being uber popular. Being the centre of attention. Being the big man. Someone needs to the “radical” stuff in church, yes, someone needs to be at the front preaching and converting 100s of people in 24secs (just wanted a random time).
people are drawn to lights and celebrities, to arenas and megachurches. In the desert, Jesus was tempted by the SPECTACULAR – to throw himself from the temple so that people might believe – to shock and awe people, if you will. Today the church is tempted by the SPECTACULAR, To do big, miraculous things so people might believe, BUT Jesus has called us to littleness and compares our revolution to the little mustard seed, to yeast making its way through dough, slowly infecting this dark world with love.” Shane Claiborne – The Irresistible Revolution, living as an ordinary radical. Doing big things for Jesus isn’t wrong, far from it, but we need to make sure its not the overriding driving force -the big ooooo aahh.
The key thing to remember is that the small things we do as well, the unseen things, gives God more glory because if no one (human) sees us only can God can get all the glory. Which is what He deserves. The little things in church are just important as the up front stuff. My pastor once told me something about leadership in church which I will never forget, if you aren’t prepared to clean the toilets then you shouldn’t be up the front speaking. Which I think is awesome. I have tried to remember that and live by the way of thinking. Jesus wasn’t scared to get His hands dirty so  why should we be scared about getting hands on, with the little stuff.

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Got Too Many Fingers In Too Many Pies, Not Enough Time To Eat Any

Long title I know but in one word “Meh!”

So my worship pastor said to me, must of been a few months ago now, “Mikey, you have got your fingers in so many pies that you don’t have time to eat any!” Another way of saying that, basically, “You’re a jack of all trades but a master of none!” I, honestly, don’t think he was being harsh on me, because he said I do a great job of just being around, and mucking in when needs be. But what he meant was that sometimes I can spread myself too thinly which means that I don’t give my best for something but just enough to get it done.

Which comes back to the blog “Be Abel not Cain” giving God the best not just enough.

So it made me think what teams am I passionate about, which do I do out of skill, which I do out of lack of someone else doing it and which teams do I do out of………tradition? Maybe tradition isn’t the right word maybe out of habit would be a better way of describing it.

This isn’t meant to be “Ooooh look at how many teams I’m on” or anything like that, it’s meant to be a challenge on what we do to serve God and how we approach that and the other stuff we do in life.

Youth teams, schools team and Kids team, I wouldn’t dare thinking about dropping them, as I truly believe God is calling me to be on them. My passion is for kids through to youth to come to God, and take God home with them to tell their parents or whoever lives at home. This is where the rest comes difficult, I am on alot of different teams at church, which don’t get me wrong, I love, because it means I’m just not in one “click” at church but I meet and hang out with different people around the church. Which have always thought as important, Kings is very student based church, so I made sure I got to know the “adults” of the church as well.

Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” (NIV) WITH ALL YOUR HEART is a massive thing to do, so if your heart isn’t in the set up team (for example) then are you doing it for God? It’s a big challenge personally for me, as new things at church and with the schools are coming up. WATCH THIS SPACE.

You better check yourself before you wreck yourself – something a mate has just said to me, which I think is an awesome line to go with this chapter. God doesn’t want us to burn out serving Him, He wants us to be serving because we want, to not because we have to.

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Missing chances for prayer

Do you ever hear the call to go to the front for prayer and don’t go? For one reason or another you make an excuse not to go. “Other people need it more” “I can deal with it” “That’s not the right prayer request for me” All these things are just excuses, the real reason (well for me anyway) is that I am scared to admit that I need help and to show that I’m not all good.

Which I know is stupid as we all need help from time to time, we are only human after all. We aren’t expected to have it all sorted. It is actually good to get prayer as much as possible.

Example….On Sunday evening there was opportunity to be get prayed for anyone who thought they had a stronghold in their minds. Whether something like self doubt or not knowing love etc. They even said something which sort of rang true with me last night (won’t say what) but I told myself the two main excuses last night: I’m on song words so I can’t leave the booth, and other people need prayer. To be honest I didn’t want people to see I was going up there. Which comes back to the whole caring too much what people think of me. Which people still can’t believe about me.

Afterwards when I was in the pub playing pool, I started to regret not going up for it. But did I do anything about it? NOPE. This blog is trying to get into my head that I need to go sort it out. I know that I don’t always need to make a fuss about it. I can always ask someone else to pray for me. As long as I do it.

Sort and sweet today (like someone who might be reading this haha, sorry mate :p)

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God headphones

We need to take out our worldly headphones. And start being able to tune into God’s voice. I love listening to my Ipod when I’m walking places, sometimes its Semisonic, or Muse, or some funk music but most of the time worship tunes. Listening to music isn’t wrong at all, and this blog isn’t going to be about how some secular music is bad for you. It’s more about hearing God and how we need to be quiet sometimes.

I find it really hard to hear God’s voice when its really noisy, but I got told that if I can focus on Him in quiet times then I’m more likely to hear His voice when it’s not quiet. We need to make space for the quiet. In the busyness of our lives we need to make space for pray and chatting to the big man.

The more busy we are the more we need to pray. It shouldn’t be that we haven’t got the time to pray because we are too busy, BUT the busier we are the more we should pray. Yes I know have repeated myself there, and in a blog before, but it is the only way we learn. I heard a stat the other day the we have to learn something 7 times before we remember and can start living it. I wondering if this true or not.

ZIP IT, let God actually get a word in edge ways. Give Him a chance to speak to us.

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