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2010: What Kind of Church is the 'Right' Church for Us?

Some Christians are very protective about their church denomination, be that Anglican, Baptist or any other label. The USA has 100 different denominations and one type of cheese; France has one denomination and 100 types of cheese. Church in Taiwan was Baptist-flavoured, but it was the friendships we formed there that kept us going. I loved and respected our first pastor because of his character and example; it didn't matter to me if he was Baptist or anything else. When choosing our first UK church, I hoped for another friendly church but one which was much less predictable in its services. In the main, the preaching and worship at Grace Baptist Church were good; the services just didn't allow for any variety or contributions from the congregation. Having experienced a different style of worship in Newfrontiers churches - great music, but the room for prayer, prophecy, testimony and spontaneous singing - I longed to experience that in my own church. Joelle had visited a cou
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2009/2010: To the UK!

'Go back to your country and your relatives, and I will make you prosper' (Genesis 32:9) Joelle and I had been considering a possible move to the UK for a while when I read this verse. Was this guidance? My family tried to discourage us - the UK economy was a mess and the job market was very sluggish - but we wanted to make the move if we could get the finances and Joelle's visa together. Despite a few hurdles, we moved to Gravesend, Kent in October 2009; although I had no guarantee of work, we had enough savings to support us while I jobhunted. Our first UK home was a 2-bedroom flat overlooking the town's park. In the winter, once the leaves had fallen from the trees, it was even possible to see container ships passing on the Thames. We settled in quickly, helped by the amazing love and support we received from our new church NKCC. The winter months were a hard slog; (largely) fruitless jobhunting was made all the more frustrating as the days got shorter and shorte

March 2012: Caleb

As Caleb approaches the 2-month mark, I thought it was a good time to write a little about him. Caleb Hao-en Peter Jackson ( 陳昊恩 ) was born at 7.31am on Wednesday 1st February 2012, weighing 3.8kg (8 pounds 4 ounces). I had half-joked that it would be great for Samuel to go to bed one night and wake up with a brother the next day; as it happens, that's exactly how it worked out! Just like his big brother, Caleb has two middle names - a nod to his Taiwanese and British sides. We chose Caleb because of how the Biblical character is described. He had a 'different spirit' and followed God 'wholeheartedly' (Numbers 14:24); he also entered the promised land! Hao-en (昊恩) is not massively different from Samuel's Chi-en ( 奇恩 = amazing grace), and means vast & limitless grace. We're big on grace in the Jackson family! Peter is a tribute to my uncle who died in 2001 and was a wonderfully kind, imaginative, funny and talented man. So, the name might seem like a b

Is Jesus the Only God?

(Notes taken from Vintage Jesus series, preached by Mark Driscoll) Who did JESUS say he was? How did JESUS describe himself? 1. He came down from heaven (John 6:38) "I have come down from heaven not to do my will, but to do the will of him who sent me" Christianity is not about us ascending to God through good works; it's about Jesus descending to earth and living a man's life. 2. He's more than just a good man (Mark 10:17-18) " Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good - except God alone" If you think He's God, then call him good. Only God is truly good. 3. He's the Son of Man (David 7:13-14) "In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshipped him. His dominion is an

Faith for Healing

After having my eyes tested the other day, I just longed for totally restored eyesight. My 800 (+200 for an astigmatism) left eye seemed like a good metaphor for the Earth - in gradual decline with no hope of change. Then I thought, ' why not pray for healing? Why not ask God for totally restored eyesight?' What an amazing testimony that would be!! I found some notes from a Terry Virgo healing talk at CCK Brighton that I listened to a few years back. I think I'll be returning to them quite often in the years to come! MAIN PRINCIPLE: we must put aside experience (we've never seen that before) and look at what the Word says. "And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues... They will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well" (Mark 16:17,18) 'Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you have hea

Waiting for Caleb...

In stark contrast to his elder brother, whose birth was induced 3 weeks early, our second son seems to be in no hurry to enter the world. Whether that's down to the colder weather, the comfort of his 'bedwomb', or the fact that he keeps on hearing the words 'Samuel' and 'no!' spoken in ever-exasperated tones, he seems determined not to be punctual! Well, with his grandma and Auntie Stacy here to say, at least we can say we're ready!

August 2003: Enter Joelle!

As I blogged previously, the May retreat was the first time I chatted to Joelle. I knew her by sight, and that she was involved in the church's children's ministry on Sundays, taught kindergarten, and helped with the Powerpoint presentations during our Sunday evening meetings. Following on from the retreat, we had various other opportunities to chat, and also began to talk on MSN Messenger from time to time. I had also provisionally agreed to be a foreign teacher at her kindergarten a few days a week. By the time July came along, I was starting to really like her. Nothing much happened, though - I was terrified of saying anything at that point. I did, however, treat her to a meal on 25th July, her birthday. At the time, I thought I was being subtle; seen from her eyes, it probably looked like a pretty serious statement... She was real fun to be with - bright, optimistic, liked to laugh... and I really enjoyed her company. It was obvious how much she enjoyed working with child