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James The Disciple



British, Christian, Evangelist, Blogger.



Updated: 2017-10-10T19:15:11.104+01:00

 



Moving of a blog

2008-10-12T19:27:21.653+01:00

This blog is moving to James The Disciple at wordpress

I will continue with snippets from time to time, but the main things will be over there...

Hope you enjoy the new look and what I write.

Be blessed
Blogged with the Flock Browser



The Friday Letter - Sport, housing, politicions

2008-09-06T10:37:35.183+01:00

I noticed that Kevin Rudd (PM of Australia), after seeing Great Britain's success in the Olympics, has decided that the reason for this was the National Lottery. Undoubtedly the Funds from the National Lottery has helped, but when you look back, Team GB's success came from hard work and dedication, and the framework that allowed this came from how Australia did it. Fortunately that funds were spent wisely and the end result was the 19 gold medals with the silver and bronze too. Team GB had seen how Australia had done it and did similar. Now Australia are thinking of doing similar! We copy them, they copy us... strange! And as far as the lottery is concerned, that is open for concern as Australia has a problem with gambling, and so question arises, is it easy to get off the lottery than the pokies (slot machines).Education in Australia might be taking a turn for the worse with the introduction of league tables. Here in the UK league tables has changed education from teaching students a subject and how to use it in the world (or how useless it is) to how to pass exams so the school came go up the league table. I know this is a very sweeping statement and there are schools out there who teach well, but when universities complain that the level of education is lower now than 10 years ago, but the pass rate is at an all time high,it make you wonder, is there something not working properly?. Also employers are saying students don't know how to use the knowledge they have. Personally I think a better way would be something like a short list of areas, like, happiness of students/ teachers/ parents, cleanliness, attendance, discipline, would a student recommend the school to a friend, would a parent recommend the school to a friend, points 1 - 5 and a yes/ no answer. These, I think would be more informative than league tables.I've been waiting for the UK government to announce their package to help the housing market. There seems to me to be too much emphasis put on the housing market and the value of houses. The only time the value of a house matters is when you are about to sell it and buy another, or when you are about to buy for the first time. At this point one of the main hurdles is finding a mortgage, and this only after doing some math and making sure one can afford it, now AND in the future. The govt. has suspended stamp duty on housing up to £175000 for 12 months. This means that if you want to buy a property for £175000 you will 'save' £1750. When I say save, its not actually a saving, its something else you don't have to pay. They have also said that if you are a first time buyer you might be able to get an interest free loan of up to 1/3 of the value of the property for five years. Now, for some this will be good, assuming there aren't too many hoops to jump through to get the loan. Years ago, the housing market wasn't as 'fluid' as it was a year ago, so why so much emphasis to this. Money I would suggest. The suspension of Stamp duty will 'cost' the govt. £650 million. This actually means hat the govt would not be getting £650 million over the next year in taxes. Yes, if you move house, you are taxed! If you pull out a mortgage, the interest you pay to the back is taxed, and therefore you pay more so the banks can make a bit of money too. But at the end of the day, after about 25 years, the house you live in and have been toiling every day to pay the mortgage, will be yours.And now, there's even more going on in politics with Mr Clark's writings in the Statesman. Incidentally, I agree with him. Politicians in the Labour Party and particularly Gordon Brown's supporters don't and have been knocking him as an embittered man. And call me cynical, but they seem to be the young and up-and-coming, and feathering their own nest, "look at me, I'm loyal Mr Brown". But what I like about this is that once in a while there comes a man with his head screwed on right, who knows that his career in his party is no more and therefore he might as well speak sense rather than the "party line". It makes [...]



The Friday Letter - Learning from history

2008-08-23T11:05:48.346+01:00

Only a quickie this week.
Learing from histroy...
In the 1930's a leader from one country went to another and came back with a signature on a piece of paper 'guarenteeing' peace in Europe. Then Hitler's troops invaded Poland and the 39-45 World War began... Does this ring any bells? Maybe Russia and Georgia? Didn't Russia sign a bit a paper saying they would leave Georgia, and they haven't. They are even suggesting that part of Georgia isn't part of Georgia. And thier reason for invading - to protect Russian passport holders... humm. I'm sure there are various groups of Russian passport holder around the world. I wounder, if the Americans rounded up and put in a camp would Russia would invade America to protect it's passort holders? Phew-ee. It would appear that Russia is paranoid. It also appears that Russia feels that it can say one thing to appese those making noises, and then go ahead and do something else.
This reminds me of another "leader" who time and again does this, Robert Mugabe. Is it a pre-requisit to be a criminal and a lier to rule a country in Africa? I heard today that in Zimbabwe inflation is at 11 million percent. Eleven million! Wow. I wonder how people can live, or even survive. Do people now barter for bread, milk, eggs, cane rat? Or do they nip down to the bank and draw a couple of million and hope to buy an egg before the price goes up? or is it a grain of rice, maize?
So, what do we learn from history? I would suggest that "the only thing we learn from history is that we don't learn from history!"



Friday letter, Housing, sport and education

2008-08-16T12:45:35.110+01:00

Friday letter 2The housing market and stamp dutyI am astounded that the government would let the home office leak information that the government is thinking of changing stamp duty and then announcing that they are 'looking at various measures' and say nothing about stamp duty, and therefore stagnated the housing market at a time when it doesn't need it. Shame on you Mr Darling! The OlympicsThe run up to the Olympics has been a strange one as there has been and still is a tension between sport and politics. Those countries who have a financial and therefore political connection have sent their 'heads of state' to China. Those who have decided that what China is doing in repressing various areas of its society are not sending their 'heads of state'. This I think is to be applauded. What I find appalling is that the Olympics, as good and wonderful as it is, has embraced a capitalistic fervor for what ever reason. One-up-man-ship. Each Olympics has to be better than the last, and to what cost? Who has actually build the 'Olympic village'? How many have be displaced, without evening be asked if they wanted the games or if they wanted to move and where to? The politicians have been saying, more to convince themselves then anyone else, that the Olympics is good for the economy. The only Olympics that I know of that came anywhere near breaking even was the Sydney Olympics, and that after the games had finished for a number of years. A little bit like the Eurovision Song contest, Ireland decided NOT to win the contest because it didn't want to fork out thousands of pounds to host it. The Olympics i feel is going the same way it that it is becoming more and more expensive and a day will come when no-one will want to host it because of the expense. Until then, people will be displaced and the country tax payers will fund it whether they want to or not.Ho humm!"London's Telegraph newspaper reports that some of the fireworks which appeared over Beijing during the television broadcast of the Olympic Opening Ceremony were actually computer generated. But — hold on — it's not necessarily as bad as you think. The faked fireworks were actually set-off at the stadium, but because of potential dangers in filming the display live from a helicopter, viewers at home were shown a pre-recorded, computer-generated shot." (Quote from the internet.)And then there's the little seven year old singer who wasn't allowed to take the stage at the opening ceremony because she has 'a chubby face and uneven teeth'. The vanity of the leaders astounds me.A Levels were released this week. It was expected that the pass rate would go up, the 26th year in a row. Are A levels valid? I'm not having a go at students, I do think that they work hard for the exams, but I think they have been let down by the system. Are students are being taught to pass exams or are they being taught the subject and how to use it? Is it all down to the pressures of league tables of the schools. Has the ideals of giving parents all the information to make an informed choice failed the students? Do league tables give the right information for an informed choice? Is the pass rate the only information needed? Going back a few years to when I was at school the choice parents made about which school to send your children was done by speaking to other parents and visiting to schools during term time. If parents cant get time off work, then maybe they should re-appraise their priorities and where their children come in the grand scheme of their lives?? Also, many of the students would be employed locally, so if someone is employable then the school must be doing something right. And a bigger also, their was also a community where families would gather and help and be with each other, 'do life together' and in that you would get to know which schools had good discipline, good teaching standards and where the students are happy (a much missed attribute). One thing I am really grateful for is that I was taught h[...]



A few observations

2008-08-06T19:23:09.213+01:00

The Friday Letter One

I was delighted to hear this morning someone (from the Evening Standard) have a pop at the heads of the banks. This financial mess we are in, or has been imposed on us are mainly due to irresponsible lending. Who in there right mind would lend to someone more than they had? It seems to me that a 110% mortgage is daft. Just in case some of you didn't know, the banks set out mortgages, and then sold these mortgages for securities to sell more mortgages. "Reap what you sow" springs to mind!

The financial climate seems to be one of debt and loans.
I remember years ago with my dads business which always seemed to have an overdraft. My dad tried his hardest to reduce the overdraft. He knew that it was wrong. I was taught at home that if you wanted something (normally toys!) then you either saved up for it or you hoped that you got it for Christmas or birthday. At school it was the case that you made profits to invest back into the business so it can grow and then make more profits etc. Sometimes there is a case for borrowing short term to expand or invest, but it shouldn't be the norm. Now it seems to be the norm. I wonder just how many businesses don't have loans or an overdraft or in debt of some sort. The problem with borrowing is that you become 'the slave' of the lender. Not good.

I was thinking the other day about Gordon Brown (Prime Minister) and his future and as to why people and other ministers are having a go at him, even wen he is on holiday and therefore not in the light to reply or defend himself. I was reading the other day about a business conference in the USA where the main subject was leadership. The conclusion of the conference was there was nothing less than a crisis of leadership in American society; the nation was being guided, not by leaders but by managers and its condition could be described as being over-managed and under-led*. I think this is true of the UK now. Gordon Brown I think is a good manager, but as a leader I'm not sure. Tony Blair had a vision and everyone could see it. I don't even know what Mr Browns vision is. 
In the book of Proverbs it is written: Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained. In other words, without a vision, there is no focus, no path, and people feel lost.

Shell announced massive profits and cash turnover, but still charge lots at the pump. They say most of the price at the pump is tax, which is true. But, Shell extract the oil, refine it and then tanker it to the forecourts. Each part of the process is done but a different part of the business. So Shell sells to Shell the extracted oil, who then refines it and sells it to Shell, who then sells and transports it to the forecourts (Shell) who then sells it to you and me. So who's making the money? Shell (except the "forecourt Shell") and the government (about 64% of the pump price). It staggers me that various companies set themselves up so they can make full use of a market and appear to have a clear conscience where in fact they have us over a barrel and no-one sees it, or if they do, not to question it. After all, Shell is Shell is Shell, isn't it?

On a lighter note,
The name Jean Luc Picard of the Starship Enterprize was apparently named after John Picard who liked to fly by being attached to helium balloons!



0 Comments

2008-08-05T15:28:52.642+01:00

Just checking...

I'm trying out several off line blog clients to see how and if they work.




A New Start

2008-07-16T17:33:14.488+01:00

Now that I now have a little time during the week, I'll be updating this more often.

The Church of England is starting their Lambeth Conference today. Apparently they are not going to discuss homosexuality until the last day in three weeks time. And there was a 'break-away' collection of Bishops meeting in Jerusalem last month who have decided not to recognise the authority of the Arch-bishop of Canterbury. It doesn't seem strange, only sad, that such an institution that once was the concience on the nation cant even agree on who its ok to sleep with, or the deffinision of Anglicanism... To me it would be beneficial to go back to the Bible, swallow pride, pray hard, listen to God, take a deep breath and be speak out what the Bible says clearly.

On a lighter note. Jules and I returned from the Newfrontiers Brighton Leaders Conference hosted by Tery Virgo, with the main speaker being Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church. Mark aslo joined Jubilee Chruch last weekend. See Adrian Warnock's for a review and some more links.



A New Something

2008-07-15T21:10:50.366+01:00

A New Something...

I now using a new bit of software to post this... just hope it works
Now I'm using another apps to edit this, and if this works I'll be very happy



A call to Prayer

2008-03-07T17:25:19.427+00:00

A call to prayer. We are called to pray. Jesus instructs us when we pray, not if, but when we pray, to go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.


Two 'types' of prayer are, the fervent prayer where you cry out to God to help those you care for, rule over you, and for His kingdom to increase, for Jesus to come, to heal the sick for the blind to see and the lame to walk, and then there's the more relaxed type of prayer, almost a conversational prayer, like a Father/ son chat, where you talk with God which includes listening to what God has to say. This second type of prayer is some what rarer i feel.


Prayer also changes through out the year and over time. There are many reasons for this. Most are what happens around us. During the good times we can forget to prayer, sort of thinking that if everything is going well, then lets just get on with life and leave God to get on with what He does. In a way this is quite dangerous. You only have to look at what happened to Israel in the Old Testament. When Israel went through good times, they tended to stray from God, and only came back to Him when things went bad. When things go well, it would be good to thank God and give the Glory back to Him for without Him, there wouldn't be good times.


Other reason for prayer to change could be sin, feeling guilty out doing something and then not feeling 'right' to come before God. Well, maybe this should be the time to come before God, to ask for forgiveness, to 'put things right', to ask God maybe to help you put things right with your friend/ brother/ etc.


Answered prayer. This can be such a discouragement, but can also have the opposite effect of encouraging us even more to pray, and to pray for answers. And sometimes we don't like the answers too.


The final one in this note is tiredness, and I think we all know this one. The pressures of everyday life, work, the home, the children, friends, family, they all demand your time and energy.


But, sometimes, God will allow something tricky to happen that will draw us back to Him. First we run back to God with 'sorry I've been away, I didn't know I was doing it'. Then we realise that really we ought to make time, set aside time purposely to be with God, regularly. The Psalmist writes in 46;10 "Be still and know that I am God" or as the NASB puts it as "Cease striving..."






Trying something new

2008-02-02T23:05:15.026+00:00

I've been hunting around for a new application so I can write up some posts off line and then post them when I'm done. I've found a some app going by the name Petrus which seems to fit the bill. If it does, I'll be writing some more, hopefully about James the disciple!



Christmas

2007-12-31T18:05:41.462+00:00

What a Christmas. Graham (Jules's dad), Lisa (sister-in law), and Sandra (Jules's Aunty) came over for Christmas Day. Graham arrived from South Africa last Tuesday week (18th) and is staying till the new year. Lisa came over on the evening of the 24th. Anyway, the 25th was a good day. We all opened our presents, and then had a large lunch followed by Christmas pudding. It was all good.






New Year

2007-12-31T18:05:05.624+00:00

I am now on holiday. I will be spending New Year at home with Jules, Graham and Sandra.


Tomorrow we (Jules and I) go on holiday.


I would like to wish all who read this a very merry and wonderful New Year.


Next year I hope to change the theme of this journal, so it may be a week or two before I get going on it.


Have a good New year






My Birthday and work Christmas lunch

2007-12-23T16:39:40.395+00:00

Even though its my birthday today, I still had to go to work... shame....


But, we still went out for Christmas lunch and the local pub. Food good and the company good too.








(image)


Here we have Vasi, Nick, Fivos, Ian, George, Sabina and John.







(image)





And here Vasi is taking the photo.



And now I'm on holiday for 5, yes 5 days. Yay.









Todays blessing

2007-12-05T07:37:17.707+00:00

Yesterday, Jules wasn't feeling very well at all. she had been sick a few time through the night and felt delicate throughout the day. Last night we prayed for healing. and this morning Jules is feeling much much better, far more than expected. Praise God.






This week

2007-12-04T21:40:00.082+00:00

Well, Sandra, Jules's aunt has moved out into her own place in Enfield. I am slowly making friends at work. Jules isn't feeling too well at the moment so we're not too sure if we'll make her work Xmas dinner on Friday. I hope we do.


Looking forward to tomorrow (Wednesday) evening as we're (Jubilee Church home groups) are meeting near Chingford. Should be good.


More later in the week when I have more time...






The Pond (Stoney Cove at sunset)

2007-11-29T20:36:53.743+00:00

(image)
The Pond (Stoney Cove at sunset)
Originally uploaded by james4coffee

Sunset at the end of a good days diving, we had all passed, yey.

This is the lake (ex-quarry) where we dived. It is quite beautiful, below the water as well as above.

Next stop, diving with sharks off the coast of South Africa....




Between dives (Second day)

2007-11-29T20:33:56.454+00:00

(image)
Between dives (Second day)
Originally uploaded by james4coffee

This was on a Saturday morning... boy was it cold...




Between dives (First day)

2007-11-29T20:32:42.926+00:00

(image)
Between dives (First day)
Originally uploaded by james4coffee

A pleasant Monday morning...
This was after the first dive and waiting with egger anticipation for the next chilling episode...




In the water

2007-11-28T18:40:34.369+00:00

(image)
In the water
Originally uploaded by james4coffee

This was taken on November 12th at Stoney Cove. It was cold although we were waring semi-dry suits.




The second two

2007-11-28T18:18:33.001+00:00

The second two dives for my Padi certificate was last weekend (Saturday). Sam and I drove up. We left home at 4:30am and arrived at Stoney Cove at about 6:45ish (I think). After waiting to get in, there was a long cue of cars before us waiting in the car park, we parked up in the lower car park, next to the water. We didn't have this problem last time because it was a Monday, and not many people go diving on a Monday. So a little wait with a coffee. Then kitted up and into the water. It was so cold... still, we did what was necessary and out for a cuppa. After a break, it was back in for the final time, and after, we were all smiles and hand-shakes and well dones as Andy explained to us the we'd all passed. Hurrah.


So now, two on the course are off to Oz for a bit of the reef. Another is off to Maritius, and I'm off to South Africa with Jules to dive with the sharks (friendly ones mind!)






November, the beginning

2007-11-28T18:18:22.257+00:00

It's well through November and I've said very little...


As you might of guessed, November has been rather busy. At the beginning, I had to go to Dudley in the West Midlands for a days training with Computeach. Their facility there was quite impressive.


Then a few days later I did the first two of four open water dives for the Padi certificate. This turned out to be a rather cold time as we set off on a Monday morning for Stoney Cove, a dive centre and ex-quarry full of water. After sorting out a few things like hiring the semi dry suits, we got kitted up went to the water. It was freezing. A shock to the system. All of us felt it. Andy, our instructor said he felt the cold, but he was in a dry suit which happens to have a good layer of insulation. I think he was saying that so we didn't feel to bad... At the end of the two dives we retired to the bar after cleaning up and putting away the kit. The cold didn't go for a couple of days. A two week wait for the next two dives...


On the following Wednesday I started my new work at Chase Farm Hospital. The work is so different and yet the same as when I was at Smiths Medical. It is a much better environment because the attitude is far different. Get the job done and everyone's happy. At the moment, there is no 'time management' or time analysis which means there is far less pressure in the work place. The work still gets done.






So much

2007-11-17T16:41:40.605+00:00

So much has happened over the last couple of weeks I haven't had time to write up anything. I will over the next day or so write up what has happen. as a little flavour, I went diving, drove to Dudley and started a new job....






Last day

2007-10-31T15:58:53.637+00:00

Today is the last day at my present job. Brought in some doughnuts and cookies for everyone. The main thing I am looking forward to is not having to get up at 5:30 each morning. Although I am sure I'll still wake at 5:30 for next few days! I am sad (well, slightly) to leave this job as I have enjoyed working here. Of course there have been problems and as usual with large companies the bureaucracy is phenomenal, along with internal politics and personal snipping, but overall, it has been good. There is a good sense of team and a genuine willingness to help. The biggest problem for me has been the distance. Driving 50 miles round trip may not sound too bad, and it isn't really, its just that most of it is on the M25 motorway, which as some of you know is sometimes a carpark when there is either too many vehicles or an accident. And this is what makes the job tiring. I know others have a harder life, worse job, longer hours, further to travel, so I consider it a real blessing that I now have a new job closer to home and with more standard hours.






Ecto

2007-10-29T16:32:27.912+00:00

I've been using ecto for a while now, and now a new "beta version" has been released to try. And I'm using it now. It is such an improvement over the previous, I'm delighted. So, what is ecto? Ecto is an application that lets you type up a post for a blog off-line, or on-line, edit it fully, and then publish it when its ready. So handy. At the moment, the new version only works on the Mac, but the old works on windows. I don't know if the new version will be made available for windows. Oh, before I forget, ecto isn't free, the guy who spent many hours putting this together needs to eat...






Oh joy...

2007-10-29T16:32:37.498+00:00

An other great weekend has just passed by, sadly far too quickly. Jubilee Church was blessed on Sunday by Steve Tibbert from Kings Church, Catford (that would be South London). His sermon on Guidance can be heard or downloaded here


So a new week starts, and I'm sitting in my car in the car park at work. Oh joy! Well, this is joy of a type as this is my last week here, well, when I say week, I mean last few days as my last day is Wednesday. Then I move on. I have two weeks rest before starting my new job at a hospital. Jules and I are looking forward to not waking at 5:30 each morning. Oh joy.