Engaged

Thirty years ago today this beauty said "Yes!" when I asked her to marry me in Greenwich Park.

It was to be another two and a half years before we got to tie the knot but it was worth every second of the wait! Not to mention how amazing life has been ever since.

I love you more than words could ever say!

I am the most blessed man on the planet.



Health Update

As I said in a previous blog post, I knew that after 8 years of inactivity it was time to get fit again (hitting almost 103 kgs was quite motivational) and so I took up boxing and haven't looked back.

So, for the first time ever I'm really enjoying the exercise. I used to like cycling but it was never this much fun and I never saw such dramatic changes in my body or general health.

However, exercise is only half the story.... at the point of deciding to make some positive changes the BBC News website published this article: The lifesaving food 90% aren’t eating enough of. So as well as exercising I made two big dietary changes, firstly I radically reduced my sugar intake (six Cokes a day isn't good!) and secondly, I began having a minimum of 60g of All Bran for breakfast, that's double the amount recommended by researchers at the University of Otago in New Zealand and the University of Dundee.

Whenever I hear of the latest dietary fad I'm always sceptical, but I'm convinced that the biggest reason for my cholesterol level being more than halved is my fibre intake. My body is obviously making the most of the health benefits of fibre and my desire for snacking has reduced massively, so it's win win, especially as my BP is back to normal as are my blood sugar levels. It really does keep getting better and better!



Three weeks ago I committed to getting fit again and decided to give Boxing and Crossfit a go. This was no new year resolution, I don't do them, rather it was something that has been a long time coming. I knew that having given up cycling (yes I was very very fit back then and you can read my story here) I had to do something but wasn't sure what. Anyway, long story short and I'm now boxing twice a week and doing Crossfit once, and when Paula returns home I plan to box three times a week.

So three weeks ago I weighed in at 102.7kg, my shirts were stretching over my gut and I was generally feeling pretty lousy. Just three weeks in and I've lost 4.6kgs and am feeling great. I've got more energy than before, I'm falling asleep on the couch a lot less and I'm finding I'm a little less forgetful, all of which is brilliant.

Having given up cycling about 8 years ago I knew I needed to get back in to a regular exercise programme, but until now had no idea as to what that would be given that enjoying it is very high on my list of priorities.

Let me be honest, I find the regular gym mind numbingly boring and I'm always amused by the thought that some people get stuck in traffic on their way to the gym to ride a stationary bike. I think it's fair to say that regular gym is definitely not for me.

However, I've been piling on the weight, eating and drinking way too much and starting to suffer for it, so it's time for change.

Knowing I wouldn't do regular gym and being too scared to cycle again (4 particular incidents killed that for me), I put some thought in to the matter and decided to give boxing a go.

Three sessions in and I'm loving it! 

Following on from my post Unfolding Tragedy on Friday which I wrote about a gang related incident on Thursday evening in Firgrove, I felt prompted to change church on Sunday and rather than preach (I had a sermon on the I Am sayings of Christ all ready), The Gathering spent the morning praying for Firgrove and some of the issues affecting her right now.

I set up four prayer stations (see the pic on the left) and gave a few pointers as to the kinds of things we needed to be praying about.

The Gathering responded magnificently and we had an amazing time together. Before we prayed at each station we sang a worship song as a prayer and then got busy interceding on behalf of the community.

Please pray for Firgrove and more specifically her children.

Late last year we found out that two of The Gathering's Homework Club kids are leaders of rival gangs. Initially we found this quite amusing given the diminutive stature of said kids and the fact that they're only about 10 or 11 years old.

However, these two gangs have been terrorising vulnerable local residents with all kinds of disgustingly threatening behaviour, with one friend of ours being told that they are coming to rape her.  There is nothing amusing about such horrific threats!
Rather than kicking off the New Year with some grand vision morning, we decided to do something a bit more practical that will help us throughout the year and will be a tremendous blessing at the end of the year.

We're not against vision, far from it, but The Gathering's vision hasn't changed and our members are fully behind it, so rather let's move on in the things of God and see his Kingdom extended.

So this morning we looked at Psalm 103 and how David opens with a heart and spirit of praise, moves into thanking God for his benefits (blessings) and then lists them before returning to a heart & spirit of praise for our awesome God.

Thank You!

Thank you to all of you who contributed financially, in kind and prayerfully to The Gathering's Soup Kitchen Christmas Lunch, we really couldn't have done this without you.

It was an amazing day and we feel tremendously privileged to have been a part of it and we hope & pray you're blessed too.

Thank you Lord!
Wow, what a day that was!

For me it was the most exciting day of the year and a tremendous privilege to be a part of.

It was amazing to see how the seed of a crazy idea planted just over a year ago came to bear such incredible fruit.

It was also an amazing testament to unity, between local churches and the wider international body of Christ. The Gathering couldn't have pulled this off without the love and support of Father's House in Simon's Town, nor could we have done it without the amazing local volunteers and financial blessing from a range of other churches. And we definitely couldn't have done it without the incredibly generous blessing from various UK churches and Christians. You know who you are and we are truly thankful to God for your partnership!

Merry Christmas

Wishing you all a very happy Christmas and a blessed New Year.

We hope you're as excited about what God is going to do in 2019 as we are.

Have a fantastic year!