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God sees diamonds

(image reblogged from readpenguin)

First paragraph from The Picture of Dorian Gray…

Here are the opening lines of ‘The Boy Who Loved Rain. Want more? Pre-order now at Amazon.

Colom woke with a start, the dream slipping away like water from a bath. Only the question, the puzzle remained strong. Once again he was at sea, trying to push himself towards a muddy shoreline, where he might just find a grip and pull free. There was nothing to push against. Every time he felt he was moving closer, the drift took him further away. If he couldn’t get to the land he would surely drown, when his tired limbs surrendered at last to exhaustion. He knew that the ocean wanted him, had claimed him. He knew that in the end he would not have the power to resist. Nor would his sister, thrashing just as he was in half-darkness at the edge of his peripheral vision. He couldn’t get to her, couldn’t propel his body in her direction. And even if he did, what use would he be? They could drown together, or they could drown apart; either way they were both going to drown. 

He woke up trying to solve the riddle, as if the question had been set for today’s exams: “My sister is drowning, and I can’t reach her. But I don’t have a sister. How can I save my sister from drowning, when I don’t have a sister?”

(via thetinhouse)

Fascinating gathering this morning in the crypt of the Basilica of Lisieux, gathering Priests, staff members, volunteers and activists from across the Diocese of Bayeux, Lisieux and Caen. Guest speaker was Yves Le Saulx, recently installed as the Bishop of neighbouring Le Mans.

I wasn’t able to stay for the whole day, but what I did hear was encouraging and inspiring. The aim was to discuss the ‘conversion of the church towards mission’ - a favourite theme of Pope Francis and a process of which Le Saulx is a product champion. His presentation would not have been out of place in a Spring Harvest seminar…

This was no youth meeting (!) but the sense of real faith, relaxed worship and a genuine orientation towards mission was refreshing - and would have surprised if not shocked many I know in the protestant / evangelical world. It has been all too easy in recent decades to write-off the French catholic church as nominal and superstitious. There are still numerous Protestant analyses of religion in France that count “christians” but exclude catholics. Such bean-counters need to meet Michelle from Bayeux. She took the vacant seat beside me under the ornate mosaic ceiling of the crypt, and at first I thought she seemed a little downcast. When the worship team began, she came alive, and when we were encouraged to bless one another she prayed for me by name with words of depth and power. Michelle, like many of the 300 or so gathered in Lisieux this morning, is connected to the ‘Chemin Neuf’ community. She spoke with genuine affection and passion of the journey of faith the community has taken her on. Hers is a deep faith, rooted in catholic tradition and brought to vibrant life by the Holy Spirit.

I am so glad that Michelle and thousands like her are praying and working for spiritual renewal in France. I’m learning to re-draw my own inner maps to take account of their powerful and positive influence.

These are beautiful pathway images. I took an hour in the prayer room this morning and while there did an exercise about imagined rooms. The challenge was to imagine or remember a room in which you feel or felt completely safe: a place where you were free to be yourself and set apart from any threat.

The odd thing was, I couldn’t think of such a room. I couldn’t remember any room I had as a child that felt that way, and I couldn’t imagine what it might look like. Until I did remember - not a room, but a walk. It was a wooded path that ran parallel to the Kelston Road on the West side of Bath, skirting the Avon river valley. The trees were sky-high, the ground littered with roots and leaves and fallen branches and as far as I could tell no-one ever walked there. I did, and I felt safe, and alive and 100% me.

So that was God’s gift to me this morning - to realise my safe place was not a room but a walk, a pathway through the woods. I’m 55 in three days and yet I never knew, until now, that this is why I walk when I pray and pray when I walk.

Long may it continue…

images from asylum-art:

Magical Paths Begging To Be Walked

Roads and paths pervade our literature, poetry, artwork, linguistic expressions and music. Even photographers can’t keep their eyes (and lenses) off of a beautiful road or path, which is why we collected this list of 28 amazing photos of paths.

Paths like these have a powerful grip on the human imagination – they can bring adventure, promise and change or solitude, peace and calm. There’s nothing like a walk down a beautiful path to clear your head – or to fill it with ideas!

I’ll leave you with an excellent quote from J. R. R. Tolkien’s works while you enjoy these images; “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.

  1. Autumn In The White Carpathians
  2. Rhododendron Laden Path, Mount Rogers, Virginia, USA
  3. Spring In Hallerbos Forest, Belgium
  4. Autumn Path In Kyoto, Japan 
  5. Autumn Path
  6. Bamboo Path In Kyoto, Japan
  7. Hitachi Seaside Park Path In Japan
  8. Dark Hedges In Ireland
  9. Winter Forest Path, Czech Republic
  10. Path Under Blooming Trees In Spring


(via figmentdotcom)

We heard today the tragic news of the death of Bishop Tony Palmer, pictured above with Pope Francis. We’ve met Tony a number of times and have several friends in common. He had a unique perspective on Christian unity and carried an extraordinary vision for the worldwide charismatic renewal. Earlier this year in a historic series of exchanges and events, he brought together a small group of very well known charismatic leaders - including Kenneth Copeland, James Robison and John and Carol Arnott (above) - to meet with and pray for Pope Francis.

The move towards unity is often misunderstood, but Tony’s part in it was a personal, Spirit-led conversation among friends. He said of it ‘We are on uncharted waters here - there is no protocol for what we are doing.” His life has been cut short, but not before it has borne significant fruit for God’s kingdom. 

The website of the Ark Community has links to a page for messages of condolence.


Over the last 2 days team Rotterdam have been…

Muffin baking,
Pancake making,
Banquet preparing,
Brunch hosting,
Church going,
Coffee drinking,
Bible studying,
Friendship making,
Photo boothing,
Tower climbing,
Life speaking
Stronghold breaking,
Outdoor worshipping!

And loving every minute of it.

We see God at work in this city.


This is the new church building in Slavonski Brod. It is just under 45% complete but still looking great. It overlooks where we will be running a Kids Club next week. The weather is set to be thunderous so do pray for nice warm days as it is all outdoors.


One day in the city and one in the countryside and we’ve:
Prayed for peace and painted posts
Had coffee in Caen and cake à la campagne
Seen brokenness and been soaked
Polished pews and worshipped with city views




This evening we practiced our circus skills as the sun set ready for the tomorrow!


We had a wonderful last couple of days training in France before leaving for Livarot, Rotterdam and Slavonski Brod. A big thank you goes out to Martin Young and Josh Dipple for coming over and teaching / leading us in worship!


Walking through the Presqu’ile in Caen, we noticed a crane covered head to foot in rust.
We felt that God was promising a redemption in that place, a renewal of all things.
A lick of white paint over everything, just like our own fence painting.

Rust to redemption.

Mission team on the ball in Caen….


Back along the bless ’b’ I scribbled for a promo postcard made it onto the 2014 bless t-shirt. COOL or wat.

It is printed by Get A Grip Studio and

you can buy one at

(via liveforothers)