He’s Alive!

August 1, 2015

Mike, its taken 6 years to return us to a Friday night and Saturday morning. The actual days you went on ahead. It is surreal.  As I wake at 4am and again at 06:30 this song is in my mind. Love you buddy. Dad

The gates and doors were barred and all the windows fastened down,
I spent the night in sleeplessness and rose at every sound,
Half in hopeless sorrow half in fear the day,
Would find the soldiers crashing through to drag us all away.
Then just before the sunrise I heard something at the wall,
The gate began to rattle and a voice began to call,
I hurried to the window and looked down to the street,
Expecting swords and torches and the sound of soldiers feet,

There was no one there but Mary so I went down to let her in,
John stood there beside me as she told us were she’d been,
She said they moved him in the night and none of us knows where,
The stones been rolled away and now his body isn’t there.
We both ran toward the garden then John ran on ahead,
We found the stone and the empty tomb just the way that Mary said,
But the winding sheet they wrapped him in was just an empty shell,
And how or where they’d taken him was more than I could tell.

Something strange had happened there but what I did not know,
John believed a miracle but I just turned to go,
Circumstance and speculation couldn’t lift me very high,
Cause I’d seen them crucify him and then I’d watched him die,
Back inside the house again all the guilt and anguish came,
Everything I’d promised him just added to my shame,
But at last it came to choices I denied I knew his name,
Even If he was alive it wouldn’t be the same.

But suddenly the air was filled with a strange and sweet perfume,
Light that came from everywhere drove shadows from the room,
Jesus stood before me with his arms held open wide,
And I fell down on my knees and clung to him and cried,
He raised me to my feet and as I looked into his eyes,
Love was shining out from him like sunlight from the sky,
Guilt and my confusion disappeared in sweet release,
And every fear I’d ever had just melted into peace.

He’s alive, He’s alive, He’s alive and I’m forgiven,
Heavens gates are open wide.
He’s alive, He’s alive, He’s alive and I’m forgiven,
Heavens gates are open wide.
He’s alive, He’s alive, He’s alive and I’m forgiven,
Heavens gates are open wide

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Making peace with the “Re” in our lives that does not happen!

March 10, 2015

The paramedics tried to Re-suscitate Mike ,they could not.

I wanted to Re-count to a family of 5, we are 4

Can I not Re-turn to having a son, I have 2 daughters

The “Re” is the desire to go back to a previous state. We use words like rebuild, restore, redeem, return and renew to articulate that desire. But what happens when the “re” does not happen? How do I move forward in a healthy way? How to I transition from where I was,  accepting the loss and now finding I am at a new place, more often than not, not by my choosing?

Oh and then we say have faith, pray more! Well the divorce went through, the business collapsed, the cancer continued, the redundancy went through. The Re was absent! I don’t have an answer here, sorry. All I can do is cry with you and walk with you as you look at the new landscape after the storm has wash away what was norm.

My story with regard to Mike is a little different. I can honestly say that today, I do not want to return to that place. How an earth can I say that? Well it has to do with my faith and hope in the Redemptive Story. I believe the words of Paul in the Holy Scriptures that says

 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. “ 2 Cor 5

Mike has been Re-stored, Re-united and Re-turned in completeness. He is with His Heavenly Father. Whilst I am missing him, I know he is in the best place I could want for him. If he were to have been Re-suscitated he would only have to die later anyway! So within the Redemptive Story I can say 5 ½ years on “I do not want to re-turn” to having a son present, I do have a son, its just he went on ahead!


Where am I today, five and a half years since Mike’s death?

March 8, 2015

Over the past months, I have been trying to make sense of where I am today, five and a half years on from that life altering event. My difficulty is that I have been afraid that what I say may both hurt my family and not be understood. So my blog has remained untouched, but I want to start again processing my thoughts through writing.

Today I want to grapple with a topic that in many ways is so hurtful and yet it’s a verse from the scriptures!

I don’t know about you but I have heard, read and had it said to me “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Rm8:28 For 20+ years I have grappled to understand this verse. I find it one of the most hurtful things to say when there has been tragedy! It makes my blood boil, but why?

Some years ago when I was studying business, I came across the word synergy “The interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of the individual effects”. This was a great help at that time to be more at peace with this verse. Individually, an event can be bad, but combined with other events, the sum total can be good! Of course we are talking here about spiritual good. I just could not accept that a rape, murder, death of a loved one etc could be “good” as I listened to some well-meaning but annoying person come out with “And we know that all things……………” Are you crazy? Do you not have an ounce of compassion in your soul? Have you never experienced pain of loss or rejection? These are the type of thoughts I would quietly hold.

I am a huge fan on the topic of narrative or story. I love to ask the question, what is the narrative here? That can be a question for an individual, family, community, and nation. If you want to understand the culture and behavior of Carlisle, you have to look at the story. A city that is on the boarder of England and Scotland, a city that has been invaded and ruled for short periods by non-English. Once you dig into the narrative, you can see the longer term effects that has had on the formation of current culture.

So what has that to do with this verse?

There are four parts to God’s story, Creation, Fall, Redemption, Restoration. We are in the 3rd part of the story, redemption. Simply put, God through Jesus has made a way to deal with our wrong and bring us back into relationship with Himself. This is the redemptive story. Mike’s death, someone else’s horrible story only make’s sense, when it is placed within the redemptive story. Outside of that, it remains a terrible event. But when we look at it within the context of the redemptive story, well it changes everything. I witnessed the other week two sisters being baptized as a sign of their relationship with Father God, on the one year death anniversary of their amazing Godly mother. Their mom suffered from MS for many years and was wheel chair bound. “BAD”. But she loved Jesus and had a wonderful active walk with her Saviour. Her life and death had a huge impact on these ladies and God used it within the Redemptive Story to bring these daughters into beautiful reconciliation with Himself.

We have seen God take Mike’s story and use it in ways we could never imagine for “GOOD”, even good in my, Kathy, Akila and Laura’s character. I can only see that now after 5 1/2 years. We only see the “good” as we look back. There is no “good” in the storm!

So I have moved on from accepting this verse in the context of “Synergy”. Today, I can accept that God can take something so horrible, so painful, so bewildering and use it to continue writing His Story, The Redemptive Story. I would still plead with my friends to not speak this verse to people who are going through a hard time. Just love them and be quiet and let God be God and pray He can use a bad situation for good as He continues writing His Redemptive Story. Then years later or as time has passed, look at the narrative and yes join me and say with tears running down “Nothing but good has come from Mike’s death”


July 31, 2014
He is alive! Sun rise Aug 1st 2014 Inchon, Sth Korea

He is alive! Sun rise Aug 1st 2014 Inchon, Sth Korea

A beginning starts with an end. On this 5th anniversary of Mike’s death I wake early before the sun rise here in Inchon, South Korea with the word’s “He’s alive, He’s alive, I’m forgiven Heaven’s gates are open wide”

John 20

Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene *came early to the tomb, while it *was still dark, and *saw the stone already taken away from the tomb. So she *ran and *came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and *said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.” So Peter and the other disciple went forth, and they were going to the tomb. The two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first; and stooping and looking in, he *saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in. And so Simon Peter also *came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he *saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed. For as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. 10 So the disciples went away again to their own homes.

11 But Mary was standing outside the tomb weeping; and so, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb; 12 and she *saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying. 13 And they *said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She *said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” 14 When she had said this, she turned around and *saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus *said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing Him to be the gardener, she *said to Him, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” 16 Jesus *said to her, “Mary!” She turned and *said to Him in [a]Hebrew, “Rabboni!” (which means, Teacher). 17 Jesus *said to her, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene *came, announcing to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and that He had said these things to her.

How important it is to have a body to bury as a part of the process of dealing with grief. There is something special about a person’s body to the family, to those who loved the person, especially mum, dad, brothers and sisters. It’s a time of utter confusion, pain, disbelief, loss, end, death, anger…. I know how Mary found comfort in coming to the place where her son was laid to rest. But to the find the body has disappeared would be horrendous. “Who has defiled my son’s body? How can they do this? I am already in such pain and now they put more on me”

In her pain and tears and grief, Mary see’s a gardener, but that is not who He is. Who do I see in my grief, pain and confusion? What is so loving is Jesus is not indignant to Mary, the one who has just done the unthinkable, doesn’t have an attitude of ego, He says one word and it’s her name, He does not say, “I am Jesus.” Oh my giddy aunt, Jesus say’s Mark, Kathy, Akila, Laura today as he did 5 years ago. That’s all I need and like Mary, I no longer see a gardener but I can say “I have seen the Lord”

Jesus is still in the business of revelation today and calling us by name. When was the last time you heard Him call your name? He loves us and died for us. So today, I rise early on Logos Hope, a name that is both Greek and English. Logos = the living word, Jesus. Hope = a sure confidence, not an aspiration. So my confidence is in Jesus. Mike’s beginning started with an end, death proceeds life. So today, as we in Korea and the girls in England thank God for Mike’s life and celebrate his new beginning, we also thank God for Jesus conquering death and just saying our names. That’s enough for me!


We walk in obedience not understanding

December 12, 2013

There are times when our emotion says to do the opposite or different from wisdom of others built upon experience. Its in these times that we need the discipline to go with the conventional wisdom, use our heads and not our hearts. So much of the military training is to teach best practice so when a soldier finds themselves in a certain situation they fall back on their training not to be lead by the immediate emotion.

There is much I do not understand when it comes to the faith journey of being a follower of Jesus. After spending much time reading the scriptures I come to a simple summary phrase for myself “lifestyle obedience”. Now I don’t always practice that but I strive for it!

There is much confusion these days with regard to healing and whether God will heal, should heal, how to pray for healing, how not to pray, whether there was sufficient faith and on and on. I am left perplexed by God in this area. So I fall back on the scriptures, not on emotion or experience. In obedience to what the teachings tell me, we pray for healing for someone. We are told to pray without ceasing, to call upon the name of the LORD, to bring all our requests to Him. We know He can, we know His loving nature and His desire for relationship with us. We also know that He is in control of the meta-narrative and we have to trust Him with the sub-plots of individuals.


We have footprints here….

January 30, 2013

Many people have found great comfort in the “Foot Prints in the Sand”  prayer, poem, lyrics. The authorship is debated but what it highlights for me is that we have predecessors. Now I know that is not at all the intent of the  author! Isnt it good to know others have gone before in all walks of life. The fact the the book of Job in the scriptures is as far as we know the first recorded writings of God, even though man has put it in the middle of the Bible! God wanted us to know that suffering is a part of life and how to walk the road.

I believe the wise person will take note of others whose footprints go before us and learn from them, both the good and the bad, the failures and successes. We don’t have to walk alone. We live in a very privilege age where knowledge is readily available to us concerning all areas of life. There is a stark difference between the person who has there own footprints and those who have studied at a distance. Whilst the former may not be eloquent in communication, they have tacit knowledge; that whilst their experience and interpretation may be  quite different to ours, they may have just one or two insights that can be so beneficial to us as we create our own footprints.

There is nothing new under the sun. If you are thinking or experiencing it, you can guarantee so are others. So dont walk alone!


Prayer for Healing

December 22, 2012

Do I want to be healed! What a funny question, of course I do. I have shared about my lump with a few people and their reaction is to say they are praying and they are praying for healing. I soooo appreciate that. BUT

Actually if I am honest, what I would appreciate more is prayer to hold fast to Him. I am not convinced about healing……and now we open up a can of worms and controversy! Do I believe in healing? YES. Can God heal? YES. Does God heal……..not all the time, in fact most of the time He does not. Why do I read stories of people who prayed for a parking spot and God  seems to miraculously provide one but when I read of people who need healing, it does not come? I also read of some people who are healed. Many times when it is a terminal illness, they have a slow down in the process or healing for a few years. There is the one side who pray with such zeal and passion for healing, using lots of loud prayer, lots of positive thoughts and quoting lots of scripture. On the other there are those who don’t pray at all. I think I am in the middle! Why is physical healing so important to us? Why do we not put the same wieght on emotional healing or in fact, spiritual healing. The bottom line is we are in a process and in one sense from the day we are born we are dying. Mike has total healing.

In my own heart, what I am struggling with is my passion and walk with God. What I want more than healing is that I would “walk with God, obey what he requires of me and to hold fast to Him whilst I am on planet earth”. I want to trust Him with areas that I cannot control but think my involvement is important. God is God and I am not.

The bizarre part of all this is that I have at this stage no knowledge of what this lump is but its that lack of knowledge that is the killer!


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