Wednesday, 23 April 2014

A failure in life and I can prove it!

Got the results from the (tropical) Doc yesterday - could have been better, could have been worse. She went through pages and pages of stuff, in a matter-of-fact kind of way, a bit like a teacher reading out your exam results. You know the kind of thing?

Teacher: Physics ... (long pause, whilst you look at the floor)... A.
               English... (equally long pause) ... E.

Only this time the report read a little differently:

Doctor: Malaria ... negative
             Bilharzia... negative
             Liver... fine
             Kidneys... they're fine too
             You do have a fungal infection on your foot, so we'll get you some tablets for that...

At this point, allow me to break away from the friendly Doc and confess that I am a failure in life. Yes, that's right, I have never completed a marathon. Failure. My brother's done it. My Dad's done it. I haven't. Just to really rub it in, my Dad's in training for another marathon this year. He's 70. Everyone else is playing bridge, whilst my father runs for four hours non-stop.

So what does that have to do with a fungal infection on the foot? Well, alas, it means that MY marathon training will HAVE to be delayed indefinitely. Shame. Every cloud really does have a silver lining.    

The Doc did have more news to share. It seems that I now have my fair share of tropical ailments - all part of the package. Looks like I have:

1. Typhus
2. An amoeba (somewhere within...)
3.Salmonella (yes, I've heard of that one)

Better take the tablets, I guess! At least it's not 'man flu'.

Like I said on my last post: I find it so reassuring that it is Jesus Christ who is in control. He died for me and for you (out of love for us), and he is in control. He cares about every detail of our lives and he is in control.

Friday, 18 April 2014

And we think we're in control

There's nothing quite like a conversation with a doctor to put you in your place. He's examined you and now the verdict. You are not in control. At all. Sure, you can argue: "But I feel fine." Nevertheless, if it's bad news, it's bad news. Non-negotiable.

As I'm on a break in Nairobi, I thought I'd get myself a health check in a popular travel clinic. Like you do. The doctor was thorough and suspects that I have a couple of infections. Gulp. Then the testing began: blood test, urine sample, stool sample, scraping sample (yes, really)... I find out the results next week. Strumming my fingers on the desk somewhat.

Now (Mum and Dad), I feel great, so I'm not expecting dramatic news next week, but it did make me think: we're not in control. How many people have sat facing the doctor and it IS bad news; terrible news? Too many. Friends of mine. We're not in control.

Give any man the remote control and see how he loves control. We love control, even though control is often taken away from us.

So who is in control?

I find it so reassuring that it is Jesus Christ who is in control. He died for me and for you, and he is in control. He cares about every detail of our lives and he is in control.

The Bible is very clear: Jesus is in control, even today. Check out the book of Colossians, chapter 1:

16 for through him (i.e. through Jesus) God created everything
    in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
    and the things we can’t see—
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
    Everything was created through him and for him.
17 He existed before anything else,
    and he holds all creation together.

Jesus holds everything together, up to this second.

Jesus is in control.

Happy Good Friday!

Friday, 4 April 2014

First phone call at fourteen

Korr's a funny old place in some ways. Many people here have mobile phones, but there's never been any mobile reception. Never. Still, people keep charging up their phones, playing music on their phones, using the alarms on their phones, making the most of the torches on the end of their phones. But no one makes any mobile phone calls in Korr. Ever.

I know what you're thinking - sounds like heaven. No mobile phones = no rude interruptions. No people texting under the table. No people randomly giggling to themselves. Proper conversations. No ridiculous ring tones going off in the meeting? Bliss.

But if you have an emergency in Korr, you have to walk to get help. No mobile phone reception. Car breaks down in the middle of nowhere? Walk. Want to text a friend to see if you can meet? Walk. (Keeps you fit, I guess).

But this week, life has changed. Network is here. You can be connected. The wait is over. Suddenly the phone can be used (wait for it) AS A PHONE. Yes, actually talking to people using your phone. Even casually checking Facebook.

On my way home from school I was called over to a house: "We have network." It was local kids who had never seen a real phone in action. (Teenagers who had never seen a phone call before). Someone from Nairobi was speaking, somehow, through this device. Remarkable, when you've grown up and never seen it before.
All this talk of connecting got me thinking. What use is a phone if it is not actually used as a phone? Yes, you can do lots with it, but you have moved far away from the original point of a phone.
Bit like humans really. Made to connect with our Maker, to live for Him, to know Him and bring glory to Him. But we have moved so far away from that original purpose. Yes, we can do lots of clever things, but going back to basics, why are we actually here?
Joy erupted this week as phones were used in a way that goes all the way back to their original design.  
And our original design? To know God. To have a relationship with God. In the words of Jesus:
"Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." (John 17v3)
How do we connect with God? In John 1 it tells us:
12 But to all who believed him (i.e. believed in Jesus) and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.

For a fuller explanation, try this link: