It’s Alive!

2210.jpgFor the last two mornings my PDA has, and this is very weird, given me a lie in. I don’t mean the alarm failed to go off, I don’t mean I didn’t hear it, I mean that it ‘behaved’ illogically and let me sleep for an extra 24 minutes. There is of course a glorious tradition of computers coming to life and loyally befriending their owners (see Electric Dreams and Short Circuit) but I’m still a little fazed by my IPAQ knowing that I’m tired and letting me catch extra zzzzz’s!
The Scenario is this. For the last two mornings the alarm (and the only alarm set) on my PDA is demonstrably and clearly ’06:50!’ However it has failed to go off at this time and has on both occasions sprung into life at 07:14 while the screen reveals ‘Alarm 06:50’ and offers me a Snooze or Dismiss choice!
Anyone offer a technically plausible answer or should I just accept that I have a computerised friend whose internal logic is no longer logical? (Please keep in mind though that the PDA is hooked up here and may well be reading your response, so any talk of dis*****asse****mbl****y may produce an adverse reaction)

(Probably) the best coffee shop in the world

Those of you who know me are aware that I have two offices in Oxford. One is Church House, the other is the wonderful Combibos Cafe.
com coffee2.jpgAfter work last night I went over to Combibos where they were hosting an evening with their coffee supplier, Union Hand Roasted. It was a great evening as the shop and the supplier have a passion for THE best coffee and have a great relationship. Union work in partnership with farms and co-operatives in 17 countries and focus on only purchasing from the finest 2% of coffee production, which is then hand roasted in this country. They also work with their suppliers to pay a premium price, improve working conditions and help to develop the local economy. Last night we tasted coffees from Yemen, South America and Ethiopia, even more interestingly each of the four coffees was paired with a specific food to highlight the differences. I learned a LOT and enjoyed the coffee enormously!
Combibos is just such a cool place. Great Ambiance, amazing coffee, a warm welcome and a community feel, free wi-fi, delicious pastries and food AND still at below the prices of The StarCostaNero-Republicesque clones. Nice!
If you are in Oxford you should check out Combibos.
If you are in the market for some GREAT coffee then check out Union

Oh and if you want to meet to talk about Youth work/ministry, let me know a date and time (you already have the venue)

Love defined

I found this series of responses from children who were asked, “What does love mean?” I’ve been trawling the web to try and find (and authenticate) the original source of this work BUT have had no success, in the meantime ht to Ben and Tim.
“When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different.
You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.”
“Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.”

“Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss”

Hope they make you smile as much as they did me!

Anyone else wrestling with guidance?

ques.jpg Greeting my wise and spiritual friends, I want to pick your brains! When you get invited to speak at something, how do you work out whether to accept or not? Obviously I pray about stuff BUT it’s not always clear whether I should be going or not! I guess I assume that an invitation is not necessarily a ‘Call’ … and as the Principal of my Bible School used to say (in an appalling abuse of Grammar), “If you aren’t sent, don’t went!”
The danger is of course that you accept stuff on the basis of how much fun it will be or how important it looks, neither of which are good criteria. Ho hum?
For example:
I’m speaking this weekend at a Youth residential (bit late to be wrestling with my attendance on this one)
I’ve been invited to speak on a Ski trip
I’ve got the chance to lead a confirmation prep’ weekend for a Private School
I’ve got invites to speak at various Family Services

So, seriously. How do you discern and/or decide? What is a God given ministry opportunity and what isn’t? How are you accountable for these choices?

The Halloween Thing

Halloween is fast approaching. It’s easy to tell as in between the shop’s Christmas displays are racks of ‘Freddy Kruger’ and ‘Scream’ outfits for 5 year olds, bleugh! I’m not a huge fan of Halloween and/or Trick or Treating (which is massive on our estate) and I’m still wrestling with what we as a family are going to do!
Adding to this pressure this year is that on Monday I am taking part in a Discussion Podcast on a Christian response to Halloween.
I’ve been trawling around the web without much success (in terms of good content) but have picked up on the campaign to introduce some lighter and more diverse stuff into the shops. I’ve read up on light parties and re-claiming all hallows eve but quite a bit is too American, to work here, in it’s approach.
So, has anyone got any meaningful advice on how to do Halloween counter culturally without just coming across as sad and twee (and a complete kill joy)?