Monday, 6 October 2014


 Rich Mullins


“The Bible is not a book for the faint of heart --
 it is a book full of all the greed and glory and violence
 and tenderness and sex and betrayal that benefits mankind.
 It is not the collection of pretty little anecdotes 
mouthed by pious little church mice -- 
it does not so much nibble at our shoe leather
 as it cuts to the heart and splits the marrow from the bone.
 It does not give us answers fitted to our small-minded questions,
 but truth that goes beyond what we even know to ask.”

Rich Mullins


Sunday, 21 September 2014



This symbol has gone from a mark of destruction for Christians living in Mosul in southern Iraq to a badge of solidarity by Christians elsewhere highlighting the persecution and killings by the Islamic State Army.

The sign is in fact the 14 th. Letter of the Arabic alphabet equivalent to our letter N, the first letter of NASARA or Nazarene the term by which Christians are called by Muslims. The IS Army scrawled this letter on dwellings occupied by Christians and then threatened the inhabitants to convert to Islam or be killed! 


The term intended as a mark of shame by IS but has been taken up by Believers all around the world who are standing up in solidarity with their persecuted brothers and sisters.

Gerard O'Shea



Billy Graham has had many  high-profile friends over the years, and among them is U2 frontman and international rockstar Bono.

Bono is open about his Christian faith, frequently speaking on the importance of God in his life and incorporating spiritually-theme lyrics into his songs. And based on a poem  the soinger wrote to Billy Grahamback in 2002, it seems the American evangelical leader has played a important role in Bono's life

The hand-written poem, which is on display at the Billy Graham Library in North Carolina, refers to "the voice of a preacher/loudly soft on my tears" which was the "lyric voice that gave my life/A Rhyme/a meaning that wasn’t there before."

Bono composed the poem in 2002 after visiting Billy and Ruth Graham at their home in western North Carolina. Several years later he  teamed up with pop singer Pat Boone and other musicians to record "Thank You Billy Graham" as a tribute to the preacher.

I give thanks just for the sanity of Billy Graham," Bono says in the tribute's intro. "That clear, empathetic voice of his, in that southern accent, part poet, part preacher. A singer of the human spirit, I'd say." 


Sojourners writer Cathleen Falsani   spooke with Bono in 2015 on his friendship with Billy Graham and the surprise phone call the musician received in 2002 from the preacher's office. Graham, as it turned out, wished to give Bono and his teammates a blessing.
“I told [my bandmates], I said, ‘This is a big deal. This is BILLY GRAHAM!’ And they all said, ‘That’s great. But we’re in the middle of a tour.’ So I rented a plane and flew there right away in case he might forget. I was picked up by his son, Franklin, and driven a couple of hours up to their house. I met briefly with himself and his wife, Ruth. I think I’ve mentioned to you before that the blessings of an older man mean a great deal to me. Particularly this man. I gave him a book of Seamus Heaney poetry, and I wrote a poem for him in it."

Transcript of Bono’s poem to the Grahams:

The journey from Father to friend
  is all paternal loves end
  It was sung in my teenage ears
  In the voice of a preacher
  loudly soft on my tears
  I would never forget this
Melody line
  Or its lyric voice that gave my life
  A Rhyme
a meaning that wasn’t there before
  a child born in dung and straw
  wish the Father’s love and desire to explain
how we might get on with each other again…

To the Rev Billy Graham (that preacher) Ruth and all the Graham family From Bono (March 11 2002) With much love and respect.

Sunday, 29 June 2014



During his lecture tour of the United States in the 60s,
 Karl Barth was asked for what he considered was the most
 profound theological idea he had ever come across.
Barth said,
 "Jesus loves me,
 this I know,
 for the Bible told me so."

Wednesday, 18 June 2014


Billy Graham's daughter,
 Ann Graham Lotz
 on the End Times

Thursday, 27 March 2014


As succinct and powerful a
 theological summary 
as you could hope for !

Wednesday, 12 March 2014



And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: 
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.

 That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night.

 And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.

 Minnie Louise Haskins

Friday, 28 February 2014



I was on the phone with a good friend the other day. After covering important topics, like disparaging each other's mothers and retelling semi-factual tales from our college days, our conversation turned to the mundane.
"So, how's work going?" he asked.
For those of you who don't know, I make money by teaching leadership skills and helping people learn to get along in corporate America. My wife says it's all a clever disguise so I can get up in front of large groups and tell stories.
I plead the fifth.
I answered my buddy's question with,
"Definitely feeling blessed. Last year was the best year yet for my business. And it looks like this year will be just as busy."
The words rolled off my tongue without a second thought. Like reciting the Pledge of Allegiance or placing my usual lunch order at McDonald's.
But it was a lie.
Now, before you start taking up a collection for the "Feed the Dannemillers" fund, allow me to explain. You may have the impression that our family is subsisting on Ramen noodles and free chips and salsa at the local Mexican restaurant. Not to worry, we are not in dire straits.
Last year was the best year yet for my business.
Things are looking busy in 2014.
But that is not a blessing.

I've noticed a trend among Christians, myself included, and it troubles me. Our rote response to material windfalls is to call ourselves blessed. Like the "amen" at the end of a prayer.
"This new car is such a blessing."
"Finally closed on the house. Feeling blessed."
"Just got back from a mission trip. Realizing how blessed we are here in this country."
On the surface, the phrase seems harmless. Faithful even. Why wouldn't I want to give God the glory for everything I have? Isn't that the right thing to do?

As I reflected on my "feeling blessed" comment, two thoughts came to mind. I realize I'm splitting hairs here, creating an argument over semantics. But bear with me, because I believe it is critically important. It's one of those things we can't see because it's so culturally engrained that it has become normal.
But it has to stop. And here's why.
First, when I say that my material fortune is the result of God's blessing, it reduces The Almighty to some sort of sky-bound, wish-granting fairy who spends his days randomly bestowing cars and cash upon his followers. I can't help but draw parallels to how I handed out M&M's to my own kids when they followed my directions and chose to poop in the toilet rather than in their pants. Sure, God wants us to continually seek His will, and it's for our own good. But positive reinforcement?

Second, and more importantly, calling myself blessed because of material good fortune is just plain wrong. For starters, it can be offensive to the hundreds of millions of Christians in the world who live on less than $10 per day. You read that right. Hundreds of millions who receive a single-digit dollar "blessing" per day.
During our year in Guatemala, Gabby and I witnessed first-hand the damage done by the theology of prosperity, where faithful people scraping by to feed their families were simply told they must not be faithful enough. If they were, God would pull them out of their nightmare. Just try harder, and God will show favor.
The problem? Nowhere in scripture are we promised worldly ease in return for our pledge of faith. In fact, the most devout saints from the Bible usually died penniless, receiving a one-way ticket to prison or death by torture.
I'll take door number three, please.

If we're looking for the definition of blessing, Jesus spells it out clearly (Matthew 5: 1-12).
1 Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to Him,
2 And He began to teach them, saying:
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
I have a sneaking suspicion verses 12a 12b and 12c were omitted from the text. That's where the disciples responded by saying:
12a Waitest thou for one second, Lord. What about "blessed art thou comfortable," or 12b "blessed art thou which havest good jobs, a modest house in the suburbs, and a yearly vacation to the Florida Gulf Coast?"
12c And Jesus said unto them, "Apologies, my brothers, but those did not maketh the cut."

So there it is. Written in red. Plain as day. Even still, we ignore it all when we hijack the word "blessed" to make it fit neatly into our modern American ideals, creating a cosmic lottery where every sincere prayer buys us another scratch-off ticket. In the process, we stand the risk of alienating those we are hoping to bring to the faith.
And we have to stop playing that game.
The truth is, I have no idea why I was born where I was or why I have the opportunity I have. It's beyond comprehension. But I certainly don't believe God has chosen me above others because of the veracity of my prayers or the depth of my faith. Still, if I take advantage of the opportunities set before me, a comfortable life may come my way. It's not guaranteed. But if it does happen, I don't believe Jesus will call me blessed.
He will call me "burdened."

He will ask,
"What will you do with it?"
"Will you use it for yourself?"
"Will you use it to help?"
"Will you hold it close for comfort?"
"Will you share it?"
So many hard choices. So few easy answers.
So my prayer today is that I understand my true blessing. It's not my house. Or my job. Or my standard of living.
My blessing is this. I know a God who gives hope to the hopeless. I know a God who loves the unlovable. I know a God who comforts the sorrowful. And I know a God who has planted this same power within me. Within all of us.
And for this blessing, may our response always be,
"Use me."
Since I had this conversation, my new response is simply, "I'm grateful." Would love to hear your thoughts.
Scott Dannemiller is a writer, blogger, worship leader and former missionary with the Presbyterian Church. He writes the blog The Accidental Missionary, where this post first appeared.

Saturday, 22 February 2014



An unknown author elaborated on each line ...

The Lord is my Shepherd — that’s relationship!
I shall not be in want — that’s supply
He makes me lie down in green pastures — that’s rest!
He leads me beside quiet waters — that’s refreshment!
He restores my soul — that’s healing!
He guides me in the paths of righteousness —that’s guidance!
For His name’s sake — that’s purpose!
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death —that’s testing!
I will fear no evil — that’s protection!
For you are with me — that’s faithfulness!
Your rod and the staff, they comfort me — that’s discipline!
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies —that’s hope!
You anoint my head with oil — that’s consecration!
My cup overflows — that’s abundance!
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life —that’s blessing!
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord — that’s security!
Forever — that’s eternity!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014


(1947 ~ 2008)

“Jesus calls us to his rest, and meekness is His method. The meek man cares not at all who is greater than he, for he has long ago decided that the esteem of the world is not worth the effort.”
A W Tozer

Aidan was a man without any guile, what you saw was what you got, and what you got was given with a generosity of heart and spirit that was rare and wonderful...Aidan's life was like his house, the door was never locked. He was always there for others, whether it was to meet for a chat or whether you needed a place to stay...These are the marks of a life well lived, the marks of a man who loved his God and sought to serve his fellow-man...

He would often challenge himself and others to show the substance of the Christian life and not just the talk or the theory. He need not have agonised over himself, as he lived that life and walked that path in the multitude of kindnesses and compassionate acts which he showed towards others...

He was great company. We would meet regularly and he usually ensured a lively and wide-ranging discussion. No subject was taboo and a stimulating exchange of views ensued. Aidan always made sure that no matter where the conversation rambled he would always bring it back to the Bible, you could say that his second language was Scripture and he shared it with a fluency and a passion that was arresting. He had a great grasp of the Book and a sharp memory for appropriate verses related to whatever you talked about...

Today, six years on from his untimely passing I remember that towering presence and those tender kindnesses and the void left behind in all who knew and loved this gentlest of souls.. Our hope is that Aidan is now present with the Lord and enjoying what God had laid up for him before the foundations of the world. (1 Corinthians 2:9)

Gerard O'Shea

Saturday, 8 February 2014



Cædmon's Hymn is a short Old English  poem originally composed by Caedmon in honour of God the Creator. It survives in a Latin. Bede wrote about the poet and his work in the fourth book of his Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum 
Bede told the story of Cædmon who was an illiterate cow-herd who miraculously was able to recite a Christian song of creation in Old English verse. This miracle happened after Cædmon left a feast when they were passing a harp around for all to sing a song. He left the hall after feeling ashamed that he could not contribute a song. Later in a dream he said a man appeared to him and asked him to sing a song. Cædmon responded that he could not sing, yet the man told him that he could and asked him to “Sing to me the beginning of all things.” Cædmon was then able to sing verses and words that he had not heard of before. Cædmon then reported his experience first to a steward then to Hild the abbess. She invited scholars to evaluate Cædmon’s gift, and he was sent home to turn more divine doctrine into song. The abbess was so impressed with the success of his gift that she encouraged him to become a monk. He learned the history of the Christian church and created more music like the story of Genesis and many biblical stories which impressed his teachers. Bede says that Cædmon in his creation of his songs wanted to turn man from love of sin to a love of good deeds. Cædmon is said to have died peacefully in his sleep after asking for the Eucharist and making sure he was at peace with his fellow men.

 Now let me praise the keeper of Heaven's kingdom,
The might of the Creator, and his thought,
The work of the Father of glory, how each of wonders
The Eternal Lord established in the beginning.
He first created for the sons of men
Heaven as a roof, the holy Creator,
Then Middle-earth the keeper of mankind,
The Eternal Lord, afterwards made,
The earth for men, the Almighty Lord.

(adapted from Wikkipedia and

Monday, 27 January 2014


In 1997 Francis Spufford sat in a London café reeling after a recent fight with his wife. He felt hopeless, and, although he was a longtime Christian, he was grappling with his belief in God. How does one reconcile an omnipotent, all-good presence with such a dark world, one full of disputes and broken hearts? “I could not see any way out of sorrow that did not involve some obvious self-deception, some wishful lie about where we’d got to,” he wrote about his dilemma.

Then, a server in the café put on a cassette tape.
The novelist Richard Powers once said that Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto sounds like mercy. What this means exactly is something that’s difficult to fathom. The song is, as Spufford puts it, “patient,” and each time one listens to it the waves of the strings interceding before the clarinet takes over is a moment where the entire body begins to move with the song’s ebb and flow. The second movement, the slow section (the adagio), is the piece’s best part for it is a movement of rejoicing, and yet it is also a movement that is rather sad. The orchestra lifts the clarinet in a patient excitement, whereupon the clarinet delivers the news that this will not be a frenzied, ecstatic song, but one of truth, of pensiveness.

When it began to play in the background at the café, the strings swelling up, ready to hit the very A note that it had started out with, the song seemed to transcend even the emotions that Mozart had so carefully imbued it with. Scribbling down notes, trying to sort out his life, Spufford noted that his faith was restored over the course of this song:
“What I felt listening to Mozart in 1997 is not some wishy-washy metaphor for an idea I believe in, and it’s not a front behind which the real business of belief is going on: it’s the thing itself. My belief is made of, built up from, sustained by, emotions like that. That’s what makes it real.”
But how could one song, one burst of emotion, so quickly change a man’s heart?

Music creates emotions faster and with greater regularity than any other type of art. In a book, a film, or a play, catharsis comes after growing with a character, seeing him/her change from experiences, and, by the end, both the character and you (the reader) have learned something new about the world, perhaps gained a new perspective on humanity. Good music though somehow transcends all of this, quickly guiding you through a visceral adventure, delivering surges of excitement or melancholy or thoughtfulness or sheer happiness each time it reaches its chorus...

 Cody Delistraty
'Thought Catalog'



“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,
And do not return there,
But water the earth,
And make it bring forth and bud,
That it may give seed to the sower
And bread to the eater,
So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it."

Isaiah 55:10~11

Thursday, 9 January 2014



As I remember
You were not unfamiliar with storms,
On the sea and in the Temple.
You calmed the one
And caused the other.
In both you made the point
That you are Lord of all.

Quieting winds from fishing boats
Upsetting thieves and tables
Settling once for all
The question
Is God for us or against us.

With every move you made
The answer gave
Love is the beat
Of the Omnipotent heart,
The cross-winds you faced
Salvaged our soul-drown
And made a place
For God to live
In hearts – surrendered.

Gerard O'Shea

Wednesday, 8 January 2014



First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a communist;

Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a socialist;

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a trade unionist;

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a Jew;

Then they came for me—
and there was no one left to speak out for me. 

Martin Niemoller


Here are just a few...

Psalm 23:4...Ps 27:1...Ps 118 :6...Deut. 31:6...
1 Chron.28:20...Isaiah 41:13...Isaiah 54:4..
.Matthew 10:28...1 Peter 3:13-14...
Jeremiah 46:28...Ezekiel 2:6...
Daniel 10:12...Joel 2:22...
Zechariah 8:13...Luke 1:30...John 12:15...
Acts 27:24...Revelation 2:10

Wednesday, 1 January 2014




"For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. (1)

Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him." (2)

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will. (3)

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (4)

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. (5)

~ 1.Jer 29:11...2 Lamentations 3:22~24...3 Rom 12:1~2..
.4 Proverbs 3:5~6... 5 Rom 8:18 ~