Saturday, 3 March 2012

Poem based on Psalm 51

Poem based on Psalm 51

O my God who's love is unchanging, O Lord of mercy, God of compassion remember me, be gracious to me and wipe out my sins, Lord if you cleanse me I will be without disease or contamination.

How can I be without sin for from the moment I was born to the moment I die it surrounds me? Purify my blood that is full up with evil and courses through my veins, O God of my salvation, deliver me.

I am a slave to its nature and am inconstant rebellion against You, I cannot break free.

At night my sins haunt me and stalk me in the daytime, only You my God can rescue me.

In Your sight O Lord my sins are obliterated and made like dust in the wind.

Remake me and fill me with Your morality and purity and pronounce me clean.

Lord Your command is righteous and your judgment is pure, do not cast me away in my guilt but have mercy on me Lord and let me enter Your holy gates and dwell in Your kingdom.

It was you O Lord who made me aware of my sins so that I can admit them to you, for a relationship with my God requires faithfulness and truthfulness in the hidden recesses of my soul, and it is in that place where you teach me your ways.

When you made me aware of my iniquities I was crushed, but it was for Your divine purposes that I was broken for it is only in the very depths of my sin that I can truly know the very depth of Your mercy.

I take pleasure the goodness of my God for my fearfulness of You O lord has been changed to exaltation.

Lord give me a heart that longs for You and Your goodness and justice, make me faithful to your ways, remake me in Your perfect image and fill me with Your Spirit.

Let me find my joy in You again, I will be glad in Your salvation like I once was. I will rejoice in You, how can I not sing your praises for You have been faithful to me, in your righteousness you have renewed me.

I will worship You forever, with my mouth I will make my God known, when others hear of Your greatness in love and mercy they will turn back to You because of how I praise Your holy name.

When I was in sin my worship fell on deaf ears but now You hear my praises and accept them because they come from the depths of my heart and the hidden places of my soul. I sing your praises aware of my inadequacies and in repentance, for what use are praises to you without contrition?

Rebuild me and make me strong in You, so that I may become a temple of worship dedicated to the Lord.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Leviticus 20:7-8,22-24 Poem

Consecrate yourselves therefore and be holy,
For I am the Lord your God
Keep my statutes and observe them
I am the Lord; I sanctify you.
I am the Lord your God, I have separated you from the

You are my Kingdom people and I love you I have chosen you from out of all the nations to be beacons of light for all to see, you are divided and separated from the ways of the world you are order in chaos.
If you follow me and keep to my path then you shall be holy, if you dedicate yourself to me and separate yourself from the world for my purposes I shall sanctify you and make you holy, honored and sacred. you will be majestic to all who see you because I will make so.
I will consecrate you so that you will exemplify My Glory.
Stand up against the unjust and the unethical ways of the world. Do not conform to their ways but instead confront them. Let your words and deeds reflect Me, if you do this you will be holy and beacons of light lighting people on their way to me.
You have been chosen to be a holy blessing, that is why I have divided you and separated you from the ways of the world. You are order in chaos and through you I will restore creation to its original order. I am the Lord your God.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Why Wild Goose Hunter? Who is Jesus

This evening I'm preaching on Matthew 16:13-20 which is Simon Peter's confession of Jesus and exploring the question, Who is Jesus?

When I came up with the name for this blog I thought I was being very clever and using the celtic name for the Holy Spirit, (I still think I'm very clever). I also chose it because I wanted the title of the blog to represent what I'm trying to do which is seek God and know Him more. Which is what tonight's sermon is on.

This question of who Jesus is is one that has caused problems throughout Christian history. An example of this can be found when looking at the Nicene Creed written around 325 AD

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, light from light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.

In this extract from Creed it is written to state clearly that Jesus and God are one and the same and that Jesus was with God in the beginning in particular this is demonstrated when it says that Jesus was 'begotten not made' and 'of one Being with the Father.' The reason for the emphasis of this is that around the time it was written there was another form of teaching by a person called Arius who taught that Jesus although He is Divine he was created by God and is therefore lower than God. The Church declared this a heresy and wrote the Nicene Creed as a statement of the Christian faith to counter this teaching.

In more recent times from some liberal theologians who advocate that Jesus's resurrection was purely spiritual rather than physical (I can't remember the exact details of this but I ant be expected to remember absolutely everything from Bible College). This clearly shows that the question from Jesus of "Who do you say that I am?" is one that needs to be explored beyond the basic orthodox answer which is that Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah who died to take away our punishment for sin so that through faith in Him we can know God and have a relationship with Him.

I firmly believe this but I also think to just see Jesus in terms of his salvific atctivity is a bit too restrictive. Through reading the Gospels we learn more of who Jesus is, yes we learn that He is the Messiah and that Forgives sins from his actions and His statements about Himslef particulary in the "I Am" statements. We also learn that He is a healer and a provider and that he cares about community and bring the socially marginalised out from the fringes and back to the community, every time He healed a criple or someone with leprosey He was bringing someone who because of their disability were considered unclean and outcast back into the community that had rejected them, He also did the same with prostitues and tax collectors and people who the Jewish culture of the time rejected. He travelled in His own community of followers. Jesus came proclaiming that the Kingdom of God is at hand which is a Jewish Idiom for the Kingdom of God is here, the Kingdom of God is now and it is the kind of community which Jesus promoted and demonstrated.

As a Christian I believe I am a member of this community through faith in Jesus and as such I am to be like Jesus. The name Christian was originally an insult used to describe the followers of the early Church and it means 'Little Christ' (Thanks Anneka). I find it a bit of an odd insult as it describes what they suposed to be. If someone were to and laugh and point at me saying something along the lines of, "ha ha your a little Christ", I'd probably say, "Thank you that's what I'm aiming for." Its probably a bit obvious but in order to become Christ-like you need to know him and that is more than just knowing Him as our Saviour. Only when we are seeking to know Him more can we be more like Him and this comes through relationship with Him and its only through this that we can effectivly share our faith in Him. I was at a New Wine retreat last weekend and in one of the seminars there was this statement, 'Our Christology affects our missiology' it goes on to say that our missiology affects our ecclesiology but thats for another discussion. Basically the more we know and understand God the better we will be at shareing our faith in Him. A highly exaggerated example of what can happen if we don't really seek to know God that well can be found in the first ever episode of a TV series called Black Books, the link is below.

The clip is of two door to door evangelists who come to the door of the shop and are surprised when Bernard Black (the owner of the shop) invites them in. Although he is only doing it to procrastinate from the task of filling in his tax return. So they come in and have no idea where to start and then proceed to tell him their favorite bible stories all of which they get wrong and Bernard then corrects them on the stories and then continues to teach them all about the actual stories (over a few bottles of wine) and about Jesus and they leave drunk and excited wanting to come back to learn more about Jesus.

It's impossible and even arrogant to suggest that we can ever fully know God, but the more we truly seek God and a relationship with Him the greater our passion for sharing our faith will become and the more we will see the Kingdom of God grow.

Like I said earlier I chose the title of Wild Goose Hunter because the Celtic name for the Holy Spirit  translates as Wild Goose, and I am seeking to grow in my relationship with God and to know him more. I am also looking at what it means to know him and what implications that has in my life and journey of faith. So essentially I am looking for the answer to Jesus' question, "Who do you say that I am?"

questions to think about: How would you answer Jesus' question  and what impact does it have in your life?   

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Prayer Answered

There are 2 stories I wish to tell today the 1st is kind of long(ish) the 2nd isn't.

Story 1

This time last week I was sat in the sanctuary after student prayers talking with a person from the Church. He told me about a man called Richard Hernandez in the Philippines, who runs a volunteer fire service in the slums using old donated equipment from several fire services here.

The discussion I was having with the man in sanctuary was not about the good job the man was doing but about how a woman who was running for the local government had promised him and the people in the slums that she would build fire hydrants in the slums and provide a new fire-engine for them. When she was elected instead of doing that she tried to evict the volunteer fire service from the sight where they were based and sell of the land for private development.

I spent about 20 to 30 minutes with the guy from my church talking about the situation and praying. I also spent time praying for him as well because earlier in the conversation he had indicated that he had little confidence in prayer or that it would be answered. So I shared a bit of my testimony of how God hand answered prayer in my life to encourage him and then we prayed for a while and I prayed that he would see prayer answered and have confidence in prayer.

This week when I went into sanctuary I was greeted by him with the news that Richards' wife had challenged the legality of what the woman was trying to do and that they had discovered that it was illegal to sell of the land the firefighters were on without providing them with an alternative premises on which to conduct their business otherwise she would be removing a vital service to the community so although she is still going to be selling off the land she now has to provide them with another plot of land to use as their base of operations.

When I was talking to the guy again today he made the comment. "God answers prayer."

Story 2

When I first moved into Jesmond the houses along the streets on my walk to the church were filled with empty houses waiting to be filled with people, students mostly. On my walk to Church I would pray for the people who were going to move into the houses I would pray for protection for them and blessings on the houses and that there would also be other Christians on the street to be a witness in the community and yesterday when I was walking past the houses on my way to Tesco I noticed that from the top room in one of the houses on the street someone was playing worship music, it doesn't defiantly mean that they are a Christian but its a good indicator.

In 3 ways this week God has answered prayer and its only Wednesday! I Rejoice in the fact that there is a God who is present and at work among us.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Liturgy for those in the medical profession

At Church at the moment we are looking at the names of God and this Sunday we are looking at Jehovah Rophi the God who heals. I'm not sure what the Sermon will about exactly but at JMC blessing others and the community is important to us and so we will be praying for and blessing the medics in the Church. Because of my experiences in hospital due to my illness I was asked to have a go at writing some prayers for the service... let me know what you think... (the last section is taken from the Jesmond Blessing.)

In the medical units that are staffed to see a particular number of patients but instead see almost twice as much, we pray for the medical staff who see more patients they are staffed for and still expected to provide the highest standard of care,

We pray to the God who says, “I Am” will be for them the God who provides strength, endurance and patience and when the strains and stresses become too much be for them Jehovah Rophi and bring physical and emotional healing.

In the waiting room when the patient who has been waiting sees another who came in after go before them and becomes agitated, we pray for the medical staff who have to calm the situation,

We pray to the God who says, “I Am” will be for them the God of wisdom and guidance and protector so that the situation is resolved peacefully.

When faced with the patients who come in suffering from wounds sometimes inflicted by others or by themselves and sometimes where they are just bad accidents we pray for the medical staffs that regularly see the results of the worst of human nature.

We pray to the God who says, “I Am” will be for them the Suffering God who not only understands and shares the emotional burdens that come from seeing such sights, but also experienced the pain and anguish they see so that he could bring healing and comfort to the patients and medical staff alike.

For those in the medical profession whose future is uncertain, who are on short term contracts or face potential redundancy.

We pray to the God who says, “I Am” will be for them the God who remembers them and does not forget their needs so that no matter what the future holds they will be provided for.

We pray for the people in the NHS who have to make the difficult decisions, to balance the budget and still meet targets and provide a high quality of care while the decisions seem like trying to pick the best of a bad bunch.

We pray to the God who says, “I Am” will be for them the God of wisdom and sound judgement so that they can make the right decisions for the right reasons.

When wrong decisions are made and the consequences adversely affect patients or staff, we pray for the people in a position to take a stand against the injustice done to themselves and others,

We pray to the God who says, “I Am” will be for them the God of power and might and provide them with the confidence and authority to challenge the people in power and fight against the injustices implemented by these people.

We pray for the future of the NHS. For the areas in medicine which is seeing a decline in the intake for new doctors and nurses due to them not seeming as glamorous or rewarding as other areas or because of how much harder they appear to be, and for those studying medicine and other health care courses who are making decisions on what to do next.

We pray to the God who says, “I Am” will be the God who calls, leads and directs; so that the right people will be in the right places and the areas that are low on numbers and stretched will be provided for so that they can run effectively and offer the highest standard of care.

We bless the doctors, dentists and other health related practitioners in our community. We bless their study and practice in the arts of healing and to the prevention of disease and pain. We bless them in the Name of Jesus, that by their ministries the health of the community may be promoted and your creation glorified.


Friday, 16 September 2011

More than a name

This Sunday I am leading a contemplative service based around meanings of names and whether God can speak to and bless people through the meaning of their names. This is something I feel God has been talking to me about and I thought why not share it.

I found a website which gives the meanings of names and so I decided to look up my relatives names and some friends but wont include them.

Timothy Arthur Coleman: Honoured by God, A follower of Thor, and works in a coal mine
Sally Ann(e?) Coleman (Richardson): Princess, Gracious, works in a coal mine, (son of Richard)
Paul Micheal Coleman: Small, who is like God? works in a coal mine
(figure I can leave out the last name for the rest)
Emma Louise Coleman: Whole, famous in battle
(me) Christopher Timothy Coleman: Christ bearer, honoured by God
Joanne Lois Coleman: God is Gracious, Famous Warrior
Jonathan Mark Coleman: Gift of God, Warlike

and as he's basically family

David Ruben Sankey: Friend, behold a son, no meaning found for his surname.

it was pretty good fun finding that out (well it passed the time) but I believe a name is more than just the thing people call you or you respond to. In the Bible particularly in the Old Testament the names of the characters convey meanings throughout the scripture for example the genealogy from Adam to Noah when you take the meanings of the names basically gives the message of the Gospel,

Man (is) appointed mortal sorrow; (but) the Blessed God shall come down teaching (that) His death shall bring (the) lamenting rest.

I could go into this more but the point I'm making is that God speaks through names, he reveals his plans and his promises. He changes Abrams name in genesis as a sign of his promise and blessing and does the same again with Simon who He calls Peter. For me I can see the promise for my life from John 11:4 demonstrated in the meaning of my name but also I should be praying the blessing of asking God to honour me as I am bearing Christ in my daily life or looking at whats going on around me and trying to see where He's already doing that. I'm not sure but its something that's really been on my mind recently.

For the service I'm going to share a little of this but the main point of it will be getting people to find the meaning of their name(s) and to pray and seek God in the meaning and then with others pray God's blessing from the meaning into each others lives. I'll let you know how it goes. If it feels right (if anyone has read this) maybe you could look up the meaning of your name and see if God has anything to say to you through it.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

My Testimony part 3

I first wrote this as a testimony sermon in my firs year at Cliff College the passages I used were John 11 and the passage from Isaiah shown below. I've never figured out a better way to write it so I see no reason not to re-use it.

This is the story of my hospital experiences from five years ago, the things that disturbed me when I was unable to sleep, and what happened in the times following. I would think about Isaiah 40:30-31:

"Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength: They will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary." (Isaiah 40:30-31)

which was my baptism verse, received even before I knew I was having the operation, however it didn’t seem to work, and when I did sleep I had nightmares because of the effects all the drugs were having on me. Where was the Glory of God in this? This sickness will not end in death I was told but at times I wished it would!!!

While I was in hospital I would lie in bed look down and all I would see is a massive hole through my left leg. I had an external pacemaker hanging out of my chest with Duracell batteries attached to it. When I woke up all I would hear was the sound of the machine beeping telling everyone that my heart was still beating and the sound of the respirator doing my breathing for me. (I still sometimes hear these noises when I wake up in the morning and I have to get out of bed and look around to make sure I'm not in hospital) where was the Glory of God in this?

I remember constantly coughing up blood clots, I had a tube in my chest to drain away all the fluid in my lungs, I couldn't eat food or swallow water I had to suck water off sponges and I have a memory of having to be defibulated while I was still awake because my heart had stopped! My physiotherapy consisted of being able to sit upright in a chair for as long as possible, I couldn't sit up straight without someone holding me up and when I did have the strength to walk I had to use a Zimmer frame.Where was the Glory of God in this?

If you read the Book of Psalms there are so many accounts of David calling out to the Lord and complaining; however despite his sorrow he was still able to see the Glory of God and write about it. Even in his moaning he was able to talk of the glory of God. He maybe didn't describe it as such but it's easy to see that he was able to see God working. It can be easy to miss the good and focus on all that is bad. I know I praise God when all is well but when things seem to be going against me I complain at him.

There is so much more of the bad stuff I could talk about BUT because at the time that is what I focused on I failed to see where the Glory of God was. I was expecting what always happens with me to happen. I was expecting a miraculous healing demonstrating to the doctors and the nurses the immense power and glory of God. Because of this I missed what God was trying to show me.

Looking back it's easier to see. Gods' glory was revealed through the strangers from the church across the road from the hospital who came to see me. It was in the Chief executive of Norwich Union who let my parents use his house to stay in so they didn't have to travel in and out of London everyday. This guy who when he planned a formal dinner would invite Tony Blair, came to my bed to sit and talk with me and joke with me. This is where Gods Glory was!!

It was in the hospital Chaplin who everyday would come and pray for me and read the bible to me. It was in all the cards I received from friends and all the churches in the circuit and the others that I had been to in the past, but also in the cards I received from complete strangers who had somehow heard about me. There was not one day except possibly Sunday when the post isn't delivered that I did not receive a card.This is where the Glory of God was!!

But I didn't see it!! I was too angry to see it and I stayed that way for almost a year. My response to this anger was to go down to the pub I wasn't there every night but I was generally down there 3 or 4 times a week and I would never leave sober. One night I drank an entire bottle of whisky!

It wasn't until I got my canoe that things changed. It was very strange because as soon as I got out on the water everything seemed to fade into the background. All I saw was blue seas and blue skies and the sun would reflect off the water and everything was just calm and as I looked around I couldn't help but see the glory of God. Even on a stormy day it was good because the waves would be crashing around me and I'd be getting soaked but beauty in the colour of the sea and the clouds. In the same way I would canoe into the sun I'd canoe against the wind and the canoe would launch up off the water and nose dive into the wave and water would spray all over me, and in this I felt completely surrounded by God.

In the psalm it is easy to relate with the author, because God is glory and God is everywhere and in everything. However it can be so subtle that we don't notice it. This is show in the gospels he didn't arrive as a conquering hero he arrived as a man. He preached and healed people and constantly did miracles which demonstrated the glory of God but his full glory was show through his death and resurrection. Although it is sometimes hard to see God working through all the hard work and pain of life the one place it can always be seen is in Jesus.

Ever since the summer I got the canoe and focused back on photography I've sensed God's presence. I believe that in every photo I take I am capturing the smallest amount of the glory of God.