Not really been to church in a while

I have not really been to church in a while, I still get involved with things but not as much as I used too but its not that I’ve grown out of it, more that I never seem to have enough time to do everything I want too.

Earlier this week I went to a friends wedding, I’ve known her for years – we met at one of the events, harvest in the north east helping with stewarding and onto different events and came good friends. I met a lot of people that were Christians and really did enjoy the discussions and chat that was going on – I’d forgotten how much I enjoy it, and got me thinking to what I used to do.

Back then, and I’m only going back about 10 to 15 years when the internet was “safe” or there was less ignorance of the dangers I used to chat online to pretty much anyone – I’d often go into chat rooms and have discussions, and forums but not something I do anymore – there is usually too much spam being broadcast too but maybe I’ll find somewhere again.

I do plan to go to church, and thats maybe the downfall – its just a plan… something I could do. I really enjoy it when I attend but the thought of do I sleep and enjoy the dream world just that bit longer or get up and go out… choices choices… I know which would benefit me more but choices… I sometimes have difficulty with.

I really got put off going at the start of the year. I had planned to go to church and take a friend while in London. I’d been to the church and when I’d been previously, it had been encouraging, lively and enjoyable… but this time – very different. Throughout about 80% of the service it was all about getting money out of people for things.

I had wished I’d left after the second installment of it, the energy was so overpowering and felt like it was squashing the life and positivity in it all. I thought of leaving, but I’d taken a friend with me and I thought… maybe its just starting up, and some of the songs were fun too but they just went on and on and on about money… I know churches need cash but there is a line between saying so, and constantly going on and on, and re-wording it to repeat it again and requesting more and more offerings from people… I’d wished we’d never gone.

It put me off church stuff, and even though I know my own church isn’t like that – the idea of it put me off… The thought that if it put me off and I was happy to go – how would it affect those that don’t often go – can’t be good

I’ve been involved loads when at Spring Harvest, and already have my name down for next year and loved it then. I can honestly say that when I surroung myself with like minded people – life is often a lot better. Still difficult but at the same time comforting. I get it from both friends of intellect and those of faith.

I’m looking at what makes me happy, and trying to discover if there is a consistant way to do it, or do I keep at life of doing lots of little things… well thats my thought for today.

Have you any questions…

I’m working through some of the 30 days of questions and wonder… Do you have any questions you would like me to talk about on here.

It can be anything, you should know by now I will try to answer anything given to me about me and my feelings towards things.


Day 18 – My Beliefs

I became a Christian in 1988 or 1989 – I was about 10 years old, and felt in my heart and soul it was the right thing to do – it just made sense even at 10 years of age. Since then I’ve re-dedicated my life to Christ multiple times.

When in youth sunday school at the tab church I often felt the power of God in my life, often when we went away and life was away from school, and home life – where I could be free to believe and know that those around me didn’t judge me. I would be a lot more faithful then.

In February 1992 I started to go to an event named “Crucible” where a lot of youth groups met together and worshipped God together. There was around 200 people there when I started and the event had to move to different locations as it had around 400 people going each month – always based in the Tees Valley.

In 1994 I went to a youth camp named Harvest – The theme was “Everybody needs somebody” and was using music from the Blues Brothers theme tune. I went with The Tab Youth group.

While at school I discovered that many schools had a Christian union, but mine did not – myself and a group of others tried to set one up and had a small group of students meeting together once a week. It didn’t really work out – we didn’t know what was to happen just that there should be one. So without a real plan we went out and tried. Now they have one thats going well at the school but that many years since.

In 1995 I stopped going to church, I didn’t see the point anymore.. The sermons seemed to be repeated and the information stale. I’d been told I had to go into the main church now and youth church was no longer an option. I found the services tedious and quite boring so stopped going. I continued going to the crucible events each month and Harvest but otherwise church was out.

In 1997 I started University and was determined that I would not let people dis me for my beliefs – I would not make friends for them to throw religion at me..

So I introduced myself with “Hello my name is J… and I am a Christian” – It totally terrified me of the response and was so glad to find the first person I asked replied with.. “Hello my name is T… and so am I” which was a relief. I was later to find that no-one else in the class felt the same way so wow, I think that was a good sign and is still a great friendship.

We joined the Christian union of the University and were members throughout the time of University. At one point for a year I was involved in running part of the group which was an honour.

Uni was a suprise to me at how people seemed to look at people and the world, it was more of an accepting place of “oh, you believe that… thats nice” and not such ridicule for believing in God.

I found friends from all over the country and world that also believed as I did and were supportive and helping althou we were all doing totally different things in life, we are all following the same Christ.

It got me thinking as to why people from different denominations didn’t work together – always confused me – people asked me what my denomination was – I’d say “Christian” and they’d ask which type… I thought “There’s only one” and reply “Christian, Were all in this together”

In 1999 I joined a church named “Riverside” – I went after a friend bugged me continually about going for several weeks from the Christian Union [CU] – the services were quite long but enjoyable. They had a youth church on a friday night – around 20+ went which was nice. We would sing, and worship, games, pray and learn together support whatever any of us were going through.

In 2000, we heard about a mission event that was going to happen in Manchester at summer time – something that hadn’t happened before named “Message 2000” – two weeks of working in the area supporting the people there though running youth/children groups, clearing gardens and decorating homes and speaking to people about God. There was invitation to events on the night where bands would play in the areana and got around 14,000+ people turning up.

We went for week 2 of the project, where we camped out in groups in a park in manchester and worked on different teams in the area. I was working on a kids group team. Over the 2 weeks around 10,000 Christians joined together and helped out.

We also went out in small groups of 2 or 3 and spoke to people about out beliefs. This terrified me and on the first day when I tried to speak no sound came out – I was embarrased, and scared but nothing bad came from it… The next day, we went out again and spoke to people successfully.

Many people didn’t want to know and shrugged us off, but there were a lot of people willing to talk and convesations would go on and it was good. A lot of oposing ideas but people were listening and responding – something I was not expecting and felt blessed for it.

Around 2001 I went and got baptised – this isn’t the same as a Christening, this is showing people that I do believe in Christ and want God in my life – a public demonstration where I had many friends and family attend and see me leave one life and come into another.

I have continued to go to Harvest althou not as a patron any more, since around 2000, I helped with stewarding which helps keep the place running safely. In 2009 I tried a spot on the Ministry team which allowed me to pray with others – not that they couldn’t pray themselves – more as a faciliatator helping when stuck. In 2010 I am not doing stewarding – but intend to help with the ministry team as this is where I feel I am directed now.

In 2006 an event named NE1 was ran where several churches all from the North East of England met up in chester-le-street and spent a week going out helping people in the area. From Clearing gardens, and painting to spending time with people and running childrens groups.

NE1 reminded me of the Message 2000 event but was local to the North East where I am instead of another part of the country.

I helped with stewarding and anything else I could help with there. A fun time, great hot dry weather and wonderful friendships made aswell as seeing so many peoples lives changed through Christ.

In Late 2006 I moved back to the church I started at – The Tab where I attended and could get involved with things. They had a 20s to 30s group that met each week on a friday at Borders on Teesside Park at 7pm ish til closing. A time to chill out and be with other Christians not in a church setting – Not sure its still on since Borders closed but there are many coffee shops around there now.

Over the what been 23 years since becoming a Christian, I’ve fell away from God and the Faith many times but always have came back. If I look at all the times when I’ve been truely happy there has always been A God aspect to it all so that where my focus should be.

I don’t know what to expect from life in the future, or even in the present really but think that its going to be an amazing adventure.

A few bible verses come to mind:

Jeremiah 29:11: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

– I had always read that passage and missed the point of future – I’ve always looked at what NOW, and not future but to know that there is going to be a future and I will be looked after – I like that.

Psalm 139:1-3: O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.You discern my going out and my lying down;you are familiar with all my ways.

– To know that God knows everything is amazing and scary at the same time, but to know that someone is in control is a great thing to realise. Especially when they know what you are able to do and give you the power to do it.

In mid 2008, and spread over 10 weeks there has been a local event named Just 10, I’ve wrote about it here but its been a truelly local opertunity to see around 5,000+ people coming together and worship God together.

Lots has happened since then but I’ve not quite worked out how to put it into words that I can share yet, but it will come in time.

I currently (when I go) attend a church in Stockton named The Vine. Its a small church but its where I feel I fit in. I’ve many friends there and discovered that many of the friends I made in different churches over the years before getting here have also settled here too. Services are around 1.5 hours, and the sermon times are closer to 20 minutes. The regular sweet things after such as donuts, and cakes are a bonus and give people a time to chat afterwards.

We have small groups that meet once a month, and more through virtual online groups where we chat on whats been spoken about in church, eat together and support one another through whatever is happening in life. When I’ve not been to the actual church and groups I often get emails asking how I am and how is life which is great but not so many that is seems like pressure. A nice balance.

I don’t think that a belief is something that is static, I think it can grow with time and more understanding comes with it all. Its something you learn about, even when you don’t want too and can shape your life or at least, it has shaped mine.

Spicy Chicken

After making several dishes of chicken, with many different flavours I wanted something a little hotter than the dishes I had so far. So I thought… a marinade of something and see what happens. I know that its best to marinade for a few hours but I didn’t have that much time but it worked out quite well.

The Marinade

I made a marinade of

1 tbsp of lemon Juice
2 tbsp of Olive Oil
1 Naga Chilli finely chopped
1 tsp Habanero powder
2 tsp Coriander Leaf
1 tsp Ground Cuman
1 tsp Tumeric
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp Fresh Garlic
1 tsp Fresh Ginger

All mixed together and mixed into the chicken. I stuck it in the fridge for about 90 minutes to marinade.

The Sauce

2 tablespoons of oil
3 onions finely chopped
350ml Chopped Tomatoes
Spoon full of chopped Garlic
1 Green chilli pepper sliced

Fry the onions in some oil for a few minutes to brown them
Add garlic and chilli pepper
Add tomatoes
Blend onions mixture into a pulp
Heat until all cooked through (Takes about 5 minutes)

To Complete

Heat some oil hot, and add the marinaded chicken. Cook turning often and stiring to cook through. Once cooked through, add the sauce and continue to heat and mix.

Serve with some rice, or a naan bread.

I packaged several away into foil trays ready for another day. It was quite spicy but not too hot. Just the right heat for me.

Just Life Stuff

Sometimes the logistics of life make total sense and other times make none. Who are we to tell when they should or should not, except those that think we are in control of it all. When everything makes sense, it is only to one person or maybe a few but never everyone. We are all built differently and think differently – we may have the same basis of existance yet do things totally oposite to one another.

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the past, present and future. When I was at school, I never considered myself as intelligent – I was one of those that got by, I was generally in the medium groups for everything and really struggled through school.

I was not popular, I was awful at sports but would give them a try. I was picked on and bullied for no reason I could see. I could do IT stuff well, as well as Chemisty, Physics and Techologies but not well enough that I was in top groups. I struggled with everything and before year 9 I didn’t see the point in doing anything about it.

I was tutored for just under 3 years in English – for a few hours every monday after school, I would go to someones house and they taught me grammer, writing styles, how to write (hand writing) as well as many other things and at the time I didn’t think it was helping but looking back it helped me greatly in life.

Back to today and now. I sometimes see some of those people from school times on different things including facebook and trying to catch up of sorts of where they have been and what they are up to in life and just wonder what happened to many of them.

Some have not changed at all, yes – they have got older but their attitudes and overall outlooks on life have not changed. They don’t seem to have grown, they are in the same circles of friends and in dead end jobs if in a job at all… and many of these were those that made me feel dim and not worth anything.

Over the last year, I’ve been realising I can do a lot more in life than I ever thought possible. I’ve got so much further education wise than I thought I could do. I’d grown up believing that I could do stuff in IT because thats all I was good at but I’ve also discovered that I can do things to help people in teaching, leading, advising, demonstrating. I can problem solve, cook, rock climb (of sorts) as well as many other things I’ve spoken of before.

I never thought I’d even make it through to college, nevermind university and now hopefully going back to do a degree in Law. We can all do so much in life, but its a lot to do with attitude. If we choose to believe we can not do something, no matter what others tell us we will get nowhere, but to believe in oneself and with others also believing in you too, you can do so much more in life… but we’ve got to take the chance to try. Yes, it could all go wrong and we may fail, but then again, it could go awesome and right but to take the chance, and the journey.

As I said before, I made it to university – I came out with a HNC in IT stuff, yet life wise I came out with a lot more. I had learned how to relate to people in all different circumstances, how to work with a variety of people – even those I did not want too. I learned how to cook on a budget, dynamics of friendships – the good and bad sides. I learned my limits of alchol – and when I really should stop drinking if I don’t want to be ill or get to the drunken stage. My mind was not truelly ready for learning properly when I was there. Although I learned a lot, it was more what I learned around the lectures and tutorials that mattered most.

It allowed me to see so much more of everything around me, I had seen things for years but they were always in the background – they had no relevance, or at least I thought they didn’t until I was shown a purpose for things. Just little things, like the movement of the clouds or pressure in the air change… detections I’d seen and felt but never equated to actual events.

I see a lot more in life now than I ever thought possible and I’m glad that I didn’t see it all before, although a little earlier in life would have been nice… but to see what I’ve discovered so far makes me excited for the future as I could not imagine it this much I wonder… What will be next.

Stressed yet chilled and relaxed

Over the past week I have been feeling stressed of things in life. I’ve been struggling with money and going over all my accounts, whats coming in and going out and removing anything I can right away to reduce my outgoings. That is one of the many things that have been on my mind. Others include my work to do in my 3 or so jobs, and ensuring enough time is dedicated to each and every one of them.

However on Saturday morning I woke up and felt a peace, a peace I’ve not felt in a while. I am still aware of all that I need to do and get sorted yet at the same time feel everything is going to be okay. A calmness has filled me and all I can say is that it feels quite wierd. My mind seems split, one side is hectic, thinking about everything thats needing to be done and other other is calm, telling me everything is okay and it is being sorted.

Have you ever felt when you walk into a room that you know that people you know are also there. You don’t know who exactly, just that they are there. When I say that to friends I am with, an reply sometimes is “I’m not suprised some people think your wierd with comments like that” – is it normal? I’ve been a few times to the cinema and felt a presence of people I know are there but I can not see them… then a few days later, or online they come to me and say they saw me, and did i enjoy the film… It happens at all different things – I’m guessing it doesn’t happen to everyone.

I love looking at the moon when its full. I get a giddy feeling inside whenever I see it, I was never sure why but think its because I’ve linked the image to my dreams. Many years ago, I worked out how to put a concious thought into my subconcious mind so that I may take control of my dreams. I used a full moon with dark clouds surrounding it with a blue glow surrounding the moon. Something that even in sunlight would not be seen normally.

When I see my chosen image (full moon glowing), I get a choice within my dream to allow it to continue and run out or take control and break the rules of normality – I often choose to fly… to lift myself up into the air and move around with just the thought of direction. I can choose to change the dynamics of everything around me and once in place, choose to continue control or let it run or a mixture of both that usually happens.

Bulk ingredients make nice dishes

At the moment I’m cutting down on as many costs as possible but also wanting to eat generally healthy at the same time. I’ve came across many receipes that are cheap to make, and quite tasty.

I often buy bulk amounts of ingredients and then cook up several things and make single portions so I can make them faster from the freezer. Microwave meals with what I know has been put in them.

For the past month or so, my freezer has been empty except for a bag of prawns, and ice cubes. Tonight, it is quite full again – with lots of meals cooked up.

I’ve been using all fresh ingredients, getting veg from the local farms with whatever is in season and chicken from places like Makro – they had an offer for about £10 for 2.5KG of chicken breasts… so been making up things today.

Some of my menu for the following few weeks:

  • Mango Chicken
  • Chicken Jalfrezi
  • Chicken Curry
  • Piri Piri Chicken
  • Spicy Chicken

From what I’ve tasted today, its going to be a good set of meals.

Day 17 – your highs and lows of this past year.

I’ve had a mixture of Highs and Lows over the past year. Many lows that I wont be going into but will probably write about when I feel like it.

Some of the high’s

  • Spring Harvest 2011
  • Finding the Trigger for migrains
  • Pain relief from lack of migrains
  • Discovered things I enjoy such as Rock Climbing
  • Made many new friends
  • Northampton Time – seeing friends from Uni Times
  • Getting involved with events I’ve helped with in the background

Some of the lows

  • Finding the Trigger for migrains to be chocolate
  • Not having someone to share stuff with

Day 16 – your views on mainstream music

What is mainstream music? it seems that there are so many different styles of music now and so many channels on the radio and TV that there is no particular mainstream – either that or I am just unaware of it now.

I’m aware of “pop” music, but as stated previously, there are many variations of popular. I enjoy some of it, I’ve always enjoyed music with a good rhythem that you can dance too. I’ve noticed most music is in beats of 4 or 8, which means you can usually fit any dance to it.

Using up ingredients…

At the moment I’m trying to use up all the stuff in my cuboards and see what I can make with the variety of ingredients I have. Many that are coming to out of date time so need to be used up.

This is my most recent thing I’ve attempted – Its not quite what the receipe said but I didn’t have everything it said so I substituted ingredients to see what would happen:

Flaxseed Fruity Desert or Breakfast


8 x tbsp Flaxseed with Goji Berroes Mixture
1 cup of Water
1 cup of Milk
Half a cup of Sultanas
1 tbsp Honey
Juice of an Orange
1 banana
1 apple

Heat the milk to boil, and turn down to simmer.
Add the Flaxseed mixture and keep stiring to stop it going lumpy (apparently)
When mixed nicely, Add the sultanas and a grated apple and keep mixing.
After a minute or so, add the Honey & juice and stir
Mix in and allow to cool

I found I could eat it two ways.

1. Hot as a kind of breakfast meal with some yogurt on the top.
2. As a desert I added double cream on the top after pouring the mixture into stumpy glasses.

How it turned out

I added the banana chopped over the top of both variations

Apparently its quite healthy for you, but the taste was something strange to start with, but overall quite nice but not something I’d go out and buy the ingredients for.