No one knew where we were, how did they pay for our meal!

February 23, 2012

I cannot express my thanks to the overwhelming amount of love shown to us yesterday. The amount of Facebook comments from so many was so special, I read them all to Kathy throughout the day. We decided to go to see War Horse at The Trafford Centre in Manchester. I have to say this is the nicest shopping centre I have ever been to. I thought we were in the Atlantis Hotel in the Bahamas!

The girls phoned soon after it had finished and we were sitting in a lovely Italian restaurant overlooking a balcony. Then a text arrived, dont leave the table! We wondered how an earth did the girls know where we were to surprise us. Next the waiter came over to say, “Mark & Kathy”? “Please choose a bottle of wine from a friend”. How kind is that. We discovered the whole meal was paid for!

All Paid for!


Wow, my friend Richard talks to people about religion and he says “all religions are DO”, he the says “Jesus is the only one that add’s NE and say’s “Jesus us DONE it all, He paid for us”. Its so wonderful when its all paid for us! Jesus and whoever you are out there, thank you for such extravagant love.

26 Years to the same woman!

February 22, 2012

February 22nd, 1986 in a snowy Chorleywood, the village where I grew up, Kathy and I got married. Over the years we have tried to celebrate our anniversary and get the kids baby sat so we could have at least 1 night away. Some times, our budget has been low and we have had some rather economical locations! I leave for work in Asia tomorrow and Kathy is wondering which motorway hotel we are staying in!

As I reflect back over the 26 years, there has been pain, joy, grief and happiness. What an incredible adventure.  We are together today because of God’s grace and mercy, not because we have a strong marriage. We both could have thrown the towel in on more than one occassion! Life is meant to be walked with people you love. Thanks Kathy for 26 years.

Why did we not marry in Australia....I'm freezing!

“Mike was blameless”

February 10, 2012

Kathy and I talked about Mike being ‘blameless’ and that if we had to present him to God, we could say “this one is blameless”. That does not mean he was a saint or sinless. It says of Job, ‘he was blameless’.  Basically Mike was such a good boy, he didnt give anyone trouble and his ‘faults’ were so minor. Unlike his dad who was a terrible kid until I came to walk with God at 18/19.

What a great character reference for Mike, I wish I had that…….but then I do and so do you if you are ‘in Christ’. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1 4 I thank [c]my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, 5that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge, 6 even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed [d]in you, 7 so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ9 God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

How cool is that! As I could present Mike blameless, Christ is going to present me blameless, not sinless!

2 x Mark's ...blameless not saints!

Mike would have been so happy to see you Kim

February 6, 2012

I had forgotten that Mike had also given Kim a Bible. Its so wonderful to listen to Kim’s story and for her to kindly honor Mike as a key actor in her life.

A life changed Kim

It was bizarre to sit in the same seats as Mike’s funeral and remember the events surrounding his death. Here we were 2 1/2 years later celebrating Kim’s new life in Christ!. I mentioned in my blog yesterday the verse John 12:24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. In preparation for a talk later in the month on the resurrection, I was reading 1 Corinthians 15 yesterday. I smiled at the reference again to a seed and its necessity for death before life and that as we sow that seed we cannot tell what it is going to produce, it does not resemble the end result.

35 But someone will say, “How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?” 36You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies; 37 and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of [k]something else. 38 But God gives it a body just as He wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own. 39 All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another flesh of birds, and another of fish. 40 There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.

42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown [l]a perishable body, it is raised [m]an imperishable body; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 So also it is written, “The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. 47 The first man is from the earth, [n]earthy; the second man is from heaven. 48 As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly.49 Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, [o]we will also bear the image of the heavenly.

Mike, this is an awesome day!

February 5, 2012

Kathy was cleaning Mike’s room and found a teddy in his wardrobe whilst hanging up the many clothes. Thinking he had brought it as a Christmas present for one of his sisters she mentioned her find to him. He said it wasn’t for them and now to her embarrassment she thought it may have been for her! Mike worked in the kitchen at McDonald’s where he befriended Kim. She once shared she was having difficulties with her boy friend. Mike seeing over the weeks how sad she was brought the teddy for her. One evening he stuffed it in his back pack and announced he was meeting Kim at KFC. When Kathy tried to understand his actions he simply said ‘I just want to make her happy”. Kim to him was a girl, just like his sisters. He was thrilled when she agreed to come along to the youth mid week Bible study. Mike knew Kim could find peace in a relationship with God.

As the paramedics were in with Mike, I stood outside his bedroom knowing he had died for some hours, I stamped on the ground, crying out to God in pain and said, “If something eternal does not come from this then I will be very angry, I want to see salvation come as a result”.

In the weeks that followed I heard that Kim had come to the burial service. I wrote some comments about Mike and Kim on my blog and to my surprise Kim contacted me to tell me she was the girl from McDonald Mike had befriended. Until that point I did not know her name. Well to cut a long story short, Kim continued on the path of discovery of peace with God.  Kim has become a friend of the family and has told us that Mike would but Kutless CD’s under her bag in the staff locker room. Mike was too shy to give it to her personally.

Today Kim  is getting baptised at Mike’s church, a demonstration of spiritual death and resurrection. John 12:24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.

God has been gracious and is showing me this answer to my prayer that horrible morning. I continue to pray for “many seeds”.

I forgot to visit Mike’s grave on his 21st B’day but I have this strong desire to visit him with the girls today and just thank God for his simple life and how God can use us when we are obedient.

Mike, this is an awesome day!

Its okay to express our humanity

February 1, 2012

On my journey I have discovered that our humanity and spirituality are so intertwined, but for some reason we grow up in a church that the message comes through that they are separate. By our words and expressions we keep strengthening that notion. On some church notice boards it will say “Worship Service – Sunday 10:30 am”. Is not worship 24/7 irrespective of the venue!

So when bad things happen, or we have years of unanswered prayer, instead of being free to say, “this sucks God, I am so tired of praying and praying and praying”, “Or what happened God, why?”, “When are you going to do what I ask, its not as though its a bad thing, in fact I want xxxxxx to walk with you?”. So we quote verses to each other and ourselves, try and “stand on the truth of God’s word”. We feel guilty for having a bad attitude towards God.

I kept saying through my grief process, “I cannot tell you the human story without the God story and I cannot tell the God story without the human story”. The human story is one of fear, failure, uncertainty, pain……the spiritual story is one of forgiveness, joy, mercy, grace, love….. so simultaneously I can be sad and have joy, have doubt and insecurity but be sure and have a solid hope.

I am amazed that God allowed some of the words of David into the Bible. David felt free to express himself to God and God seemed to handle that. I am more convinced that when we chat to God, He wants us to express and be real with Him. He knows anyway! At the same time, I do not just want to listen to my own feelings, its important that I read and speak what God has already said to me in His word. Its not an either or and sometimes its Okay to just allow each other to express our humanity without hitting the ball back with spirituality.

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