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Friday, 6 December 2013

Blog Moved, Please Subscribe at New Address

Hi Folk,

A couple of months ago I transferred this blog over to Wordpress as I much prefer the functionality of that platform. You can find the new blog at

The new Skonkworks blog includes all old posts from this blog and I'll continue to write about my personal experience of brotherhood, Christian community and adventure, but there will be a bit more of an emphasis on wrestling with the future of the church with some collaborative content from other dreamers, hence the 'Skonkworks' title.

If you're wondering what a 'Skonkworks' is when it's at home take a look at my new about page: Sorry, did you say Skonkworks?

If you'd like to receive posts from the new blog by email head to and subscribe at the top of the right hand sidebar under 'Get New Posts by Email'. If RSS is your thing you can find the feed at

I'll be deleting this Blogspot blog in a few weeks.

Thanks for flying with us.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Cooking, Drinking and Digging for Jesus

Last Sunday afternoon I took a bunch of lads to Peterborough and had an adventure. We made some very generous friends and were given pizza and cider and came back with a squash and some red onions. Success, I'd say.

Peterborough's just over an hour's drive from home, so why did we go there for our fun?

Last month I wrote about my trip to Romania with the Multiply Network. Because I only had a few weeks to prepare for the trip I had to fast track my passport application, which meant travelling to Peterborough for an interview at the passport office. Around that time I'd also been praying and listening to God about outreach opportunities for our household; this year we want to "find our field", as it were, a shared opportunity for mission that we can all contribute to together.

I wondered if God had brought me to Peterborough for a reason (I'd never been there before) so after my passport interview I spent 45 minutes driving around the town seeing the sights and listening out for God. Like Jesus I want to "only do what I see my Father doing" (Jn 5:19), especially when considering new initiatives and responsibilities.

Jack finally found his soul mate
While driving down a hill to go under a railway bridge I looked left and saw a patch of wasteland surrounded by boards covered in colourful artwork, and inside stood a large geodesic dome in green and white fabric. "Interesting", I thought, "I bet we could meet some cool people there". The whole thing intrigued me and it stood out in my memory like God had outlined it with a big fat yellow highlighter pen in my brain.

That evening I looked the place up on Google maps, found the website and watched the video and found out it's a full on community project run and coordinated by volunteers. A lot goes on there- allotments, conker championships, drumming circles, tai chi, wood turning courses, craft fair, live art jam... What a great way to get involved in a community, much better than handing out tracts or hotdogs on the street, or whatever.

God had been talking to me all year about taking risks and launching out on new ventures but it took a post about outreach to Peterborough by someone in a Facebook group to jolt me into action. So one Friday evening a few weeks ago four of us drove up to Peterborough to meet people on the streets and scout the land. We had one good conversation, prayed around the place and had a definite sense of something coming together in Peterborough. The door didn't open properly for us that night but we peered through the keyhole and saw God was doing something good.

I found out the project has a volunteering day every Wednesday and Sunday 11am - 4pm so I got some lunch and lads together and we left straight after our morning service to see if we could lend a hand digging a veg patch, or something.

Wandering around the allotments it didn't look like anyone was in but we were soon invited warmly into the site shed and offered some home brewed cider and a pizza thingy.

The few people who were around were incredibly open and outgoing and showed us around. We talked for a few hours about them, about us and about composting urinals.

Cooking on a rocket stove
It turns out they usually have between 40 and 50 volunteers on a Wednesday. The fact that hardly anyone was around when we turned up was brilliant because it meant we got to spend nearly three hours with a chap called Rene and one of the main volunteers who turned up later, a lady called Marie.

Marie, a Christian, was very keen on community and we had a jam playing percussion on pots, pans, tubs and a guitar we brought along.

Particularly pleased with our pizza pasty thingies while Joe checks out the composting urinal
Later they offered us pizza which meant making pizza-pasties there and then, all out of food grown on site (they're completely off-grid, electrics an' all). Our three hour stay ended with us praying for them and the project and them giving us a 6kg squash (that's a type of fruit, by the way!) and a few red onions.

When Jesus sent out 72 (read Luke 10) of his followers he predicted that they would be given either food or the cold shoulder, so either of those two are good signs that we're doing the right thing when on mission. We got pizza and cider (non-alcoholic), so I think we have an open door.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Light On Resources = Strong With God’s Power

A guest post from a friend continuing the We Are Too Safe series:

In the book of Judges Gideon heard the call of God to fight. He tested the Lord to make sure the calling was God’s plan and not his own. He started out to fight the Midianites with 32,000 men. The Lord stripped away his men (symbolising Israel’s own resources and natural strength) until he had only 300 men left. The enemy against them “lay along the valley like locusts in abundance, and their camels were without number, as the sand that is on the seashore in abundance”.
     300 men.
     300 men.
     God’s plans are impossible and very simple.

When “The Lord their God is with them, and the shout of a king is among them” (Num 23. v21) we will have nothing to fear.

We need to learn corporately to take risks and not rely on our own resources. If Jesus came to us with a desire to strip us of some or all of our wealth, houses and material possessions would we recognize it as Him? Or would we fight in the courts or take out insurance to protect our assets- not realizing that we are fighting God? You might ask- why would He want to do that? Because of the principle outlined in the story of Gideon, that a Church that has little or none of its own resources- but has faith- is strong with the power and authority of the Lord Jesus.

Yes there’s a need for discernment and wisdom. But Jesus wants a Bride with “nothing in my hands I bring- simply to Thy cross I cling”.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Accidental Poetry - Party Like a Christian

Sometimes accomplished orators accidently speak poetry. Or maybe poets just write the same music that orators speak.

Whatever. Anyway, below is a snippet of a message by Michael Frost about Missional Church, given Norway in 2011.

The whole extroardinary message is essential listening for anyone wrestling with working out the mission of Jesus and missional stuff. It's in three parts but if you want a taste of the best bit jump to 28 minitues in to his first session on Missional Church to hear the story of Abraham, the "dude in the back row".

I believe
A day is coming
When we will live in perfect harmony with each other.

Do you agree?

Where there will be no unbelief
Because every knee shall bow and every tongue confess.

I believe a day is coming
When we will work in the most satisfying fashion
Sleep in the deepest slumber.
A day is coming
When we will produce the most astonishing music
The most extroardinary art
The most fabulous films.

I believe a day is coming when we will party every night
And there'll be no such thing as a hangover.

I believe a day is coming
When there shall be no poverty,
No loneliness,
No fear.
When a person who's a hundred years old will be considered to be a young man.
When no babies will die in childbirth.
When you will build your house and no one will take it from you.
You'll plant your crops and eat of the fruit of your vine.

Sometimes I desire this so much I almost can't bear it,
But in this epoch of history
The closest we get to it until Christ returns
Is the fashioning of foretastes of exactly that.

So you party better than anybody else in this town.
You love more than anybody else in this town.
You announce the reign of God more clearly than anybody else in this town.
Because that's the mission to which you've been called.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Last Night's Cell Group - "Pass the Power" and "Masks"

I co-lead a group for teenagers every wednesday night. Last week we decided we could do with a sabbath rest so we lit the first fire of season in our lounge's hearth, prayed, worshiped, listened and chatted.

This week saw a bit of a relaunch with eight of us at my house (two absent):
  1. We played fox and hounds (group hide and seek) with a twist:
    The hunting team had a whistle. When they blew it everyone on the hunted team had to move at least 20'. The whistle could only be blown twice in a game. It was called the 'ants in yer pants superpower' and meant things were kept active, rather than letting people just go to ground and hide for ages. We got through two rounds.
  2. A cake and hot chocolate interlude.
  3. In the office at home we played Pass the Power, which was the name I gave to a game I've read about where everyone stands in a circle holding hands and when you feel your right hand squeezed you squeeze the hand of the person on your left, so the hand squeezing goes round the circle in a wave, like an electric shock. We tried to see how fast we could "pass the power" and we ended up with quite a fast rhythm.
  4. I compared the invisible but tangible wave of power to the Holy Spirit and we prayed together, still holding hands. A couple of the lads asked for prayer.
  5. We watched this video:
  6. We went into the lounge and discussed the theme of masks (from the video) around the fire. More prayer and cake followed.

Feet by the fire

Friday, 13 September 2013

Security Without Safety

We need to be a risk taking church. There is security in Christ but no safety.
Justin Welby

Many times we live our lives in such a way that the power of God is not necessary. Our expectations are low, our prayers are mundane and our witness is bland. The power of God tends to show up when we throw ourselves with abandon into God’s mission and expect his power to truly make a difference. God shows up where people are depending on him.
Mark Jobe

God is looking for people through whom He can do the impossible. What a pity that we plan only things we can do by ourselves.
A.W Tozer