So 2009 is drawing to a close and it has been a real brain bender of a year. The Christmas break is going to serve me well as an opportunity to allow my brain to catch up on it self. I always know when I need downtime because I find myself wanting to pick fights with anybody who is nice to me and the volume on the ipod always goes up!
Next year promises to be a corker. We have big plans for Christ Church Manchester to increase ourselves in size and quality. The Chapel also promises to throw up more surprises and challenges!
Anyways favorite gig of the year? The Bronx at the birmingham academy. Ear bleedingly loud and a band who were at the end of a tour, close to melt down and playing on a mixture of beer and adreneline. It was an incredible show. (Although I am seeing Doves on friday which could win the prize at the last moment.)
Album of the Year? – Kingdom of Rust by Doves is the winner. The Bronx third album is a very close second, and Supporting Caste by Propagandhi in third.
Last week I got a little pretensious (It comes naturally) and I wrote about how God got us to manchester.
Once you have considered how and why you got somewhere.
In the last week I have had a few excellent guys challenge me to look at what this thing is. What do I want the chapel to be? What do I want its cultures and values to be? How would I summarise what I want church to look like?
So that is what I shall do. Please feel free to comment. I am really enjoying that I get to think these things through in public, because it is making me be so much more slapdash and is also pulling me away from being a complete internal processor.
I may also whine some more about worship music. It is just to easy and to funny not too.
So our story carries on from yesterday.
The whole time God had been talking to us about Manchester some good friends of ours were moving from Churchcentral in Birmingham to take over a church in Solihull. Because all we had for Manchester was a desire to go but no plan and no-one to go with, we decided to go to Solihull with these guys so that we could wait for God to instruct us further. We loved the guys who were moving and wanted to help them out.
At almost the exact point we decided to move to Solihull God intensified within me the desire to move to Manchester. I was getting these dreams, God was giving me vision. I spent most of my waking hours thinking about Manchester. Honestly, it was a completely bizarre experience. God was givning my plans, ideas and almost helping me map out the future.And yet we were going to move to Solihull! If you could imagine a place that is completely opposite to Manchester then it would be Solihull!
Anyways one morning in June 2008 I wrote in my prayer journal (this is not a dear diary kinda thing, so please don’t mock!) – “It is funny what God talks to you about. We are preparing to move to Solihull, and yet all God is talking to me about is Manchester. Lord, What is with that? I trust you. I am listening lord, please help me to be obedient” . That morning I rode to work and asked God to give me clear instruction.
That day I get a phone call from the guy who led my church. He explains that he has been in a meeting with Colin Baron (leader of Christ Church Manchester and Newfrontiers heavy weight), after the meeting they get talking and my pastor asks Colin what he is planning for Manchester. Colin explains that they would love to start a meeting aimed at students and the 18 -30s crowd but they don’t have anyone to lead it. My pastor tells Colin about me, he explains that we are planning on going to Solihull but that he doesn’t think we should go. So God broke in. We found ourselves deciding that Solihull was the wrong place to go and that God was very clearly telling us to move to Manchester.
I tweeted earlier on that I had heard a worship album that didn’t make me angry. My tweets sync up to my facebook status and I got a whole bunch of people expressing their surprise.
The album was “Your love never fails” by Jesus Culture.
Why did I not hate it? (liking a worship album is a step I am not yet prepared to make but clearly old age is messing with my brain)
- It was live which meant no sickly production.
- It was not covered in a thick layer off cheese – I have a horrible memory of being played a worship album where the leader “spontaneously” sings about geese flying in formation. Words cannot describe the rage this provoked…..
- The worship leaders seemed like they were enjoying themselves (Oh boy do I sound like my dad…)
- No acoustic guitars!! Woop Woop!
- No mid 90s Jazz funk
- No easy listening
- No choir
- It didnt sound like there were depressed. I have always been amazed how “Happy Day” has been played like it was an ironic statement
- It had energy, passion and athenticity
Lets be clear, they are ripping off coldplay, U2, Bruce Springsteen and anyother mid pace rock band you can think of and if they were a secular band I probably wouldnt be that bothered. But, they had something. Good songs, melody that you can remember, and an obvious passion for worship. Will I listen to it more than twice? Maybe. Is it allowed in my CD collection. Absolutely not.
Right now that is off my chest I am going to listen to Rocket from the Crypt to clear my head.
Yesterday I started to blog about how we ended up moving to manchester.
In short God was making me like Manchester before we even got there! At this point things started to get a little supernatural. If you pushed me to define my faith I would say that I am a charismatic evangelical christian. If you pushed me a little harder I would tell you that I find charismatic evangelical christian (including myself) a little strange. But, I believe the bible so I have to believe that God is involved in our world today.
So, I started to get dreams. That’s right. Dreams about Manchester (told you this was wierd).
I had four dreams in total. Each dream was pretty similar. They all basically involved me talking to four significant people about what I felt called to do in Manchester. Each of the people in these dreams reacted in different ways. Their differing reactions have helped inform me and even begun to guide me in the steps I take. Even now I am still unpacking these dreams
I won’t tell you about all the dreams but the first involved me and Vicki trying to convince a friend of ours who we both look up to, and who leads a church in the south of England, to move to Manchester. In the real world – I had said to a few friends that if this guy moved to Manchester to plant a church I would be there in a shot.
Back in the dream – this guy freaked out. Walked out the room and said we shouldn’t tell anyone we had asked him.
When I told Vix about the dream, I didn’t really get it. Vix said that she thought it showed that I needed to step up and do this Manchester thing myself.
Deep breath. More wierdness tomorrow.