I am sitting in the Ministers’* Office at our church. In the corner is a little pile of cuplets (officially known as ‘castor cups’) – the little cups you put under the feet of chairs in order to stop them sinking into the carpet and leaving marks. They sit there as a reminder that a while back we had some chairs in the office under whose legs they used to sit. I suspect that they predate the current carpet we have in the office as the current carpet is hard-wearing and unlikely to be affected by chair legs.

The chairs under which the castor cups sat have long since gone to the great furniture recycling centre in the sky. One of them had a piece of hardboard underneath the cushion – replacing the webbing that had broken when someone sat on the chair and then sat on the floor through the chair. The others were, well, shabby and uncomfortable.

But the cuplets (I am sticking with that name) remain. They were not disposed of when the chairs were, and may well soon become a national heritage site because they have been here so long. I sometimes look at them and think ‘I ought to do something about them’ and remain in my chair, held fast by inertia and lethargy.

I wonder what cuplets we have in our own lives… things that are residual clutter to which we have become accustomed or can’t be bothered to deal with:

Apologies that need making.

Vocabulary that needs to be reined in.

Attitudes that need adjusting.

Hardness of heart that needs softening.

Activity that needs curtailing.

We can easily get used to these things so that they don’t bother us. But if they are relics of an old lifestyle that is incompatible with being a follower of Jesus they are things that bother him.

Anyone need any cuplets?

Be blessed, be a blessing.

To make it possible for everyone to attend church this Sunday, we are going to have a special “No Excuse Sunday”:

Cots will be placed in the foyer for those who say, “Sunday is my only day to sleep in.”

There will be a special section with lounge chairs for those who feel that our pews are too hard.

Eye drops will be available for those with tired eyes from watching TV late Saturday night.

We will have steel helmets for those who say, “The roof would cave in if I ever came to church.”

Blankets will be furnished for those who think the church is too cold, and fans for those who say it is too hot.

Scorecards will be available for those who wish to list the hypocrites present.

Relatives and friends will be in attendance for those who can’t go to church and cook dinner, too.

One section will be devoted to trees and grass for those who like to seek God in nature.

Doctors and nurses will be in attendance for those who plan to be sick on Sunday.

The church will be decorated with both Christmas poinsettias and Easter lilies for those who never have seen the church without them.

We will provide hearing aids for those who can’t hear the preacher and cotton wool for those who think he’s too loud!

*grammar pedants calm down, there are two ministers who share the office.


I am currently very frustrated. Microsoft has kindly sent me some updates for programs on my computer. That is very thoughtful of them.

However the process of updating requires a restart of my computer and it has so far taken the best part of an hour to install the updates and it has been working on update 8 for most of that time. There is activity on my hard disk so I assume it’s still actively updating.

There is also a polite message on screen at the moment: “Please do not power off or unplug your machine.” That prevents the official tech support solution of turning it off and on again.

It’s frustrating because there is stuff on my computer that I need for tonight’s church meeting and I can’t get to it. It’s frustrating because I was in the middle of producing a PowerPoint for Sunday evening’s sermon and I can’t continue with that.

At what point do I give up and reboot regardless of the polite request? If I do try that will the computer go into stroppy teenager mode and refuse to do anything because it is in a huff?

Sitting here waiting (im)patiently for the update to finish I am grateful that God is not like me. When the updates that he offers me by the Spirit fail to get installed or I take ages to install them or I crash he patiently tries again. And he does not require a reboot. A quick prayer returns me to pristine condition.

Be patient, be blessed, be a blessing.
(Sent from my Blackberry cos computer is STILL updating)


Tag on Chain 3

So… what sort of person are you?

There are all sorts of ways in which we categorise people. We paste labels onto each other like we are tagging photos on Facebook.







“Not a morning person” (me at the moment!)

…and so on. You know what I am talking about. And you are anticipating that I have been telling myself not to label people because we are all individuals, just like everyone else. We are not defined by the labels that people place on us, that is absolutely true.

But God labels us.


“Child of God”

“Filled with my Spirit”

“Mine forever”

Those are designer labels to wear with pride!

…and just as I finish the radio plays ‘Price tag’ by Jessie J! Smile

In case you needed further proof that the human race is doomed, here are some actual label instructions on consumer goods:

– On Sears hair dryer:
Do not use while sleeping.

– On a bag of Fritos:
You could be a winner! No purchase necessary. Details inside.

– On a bar of Dial soap:
Directions: Use like regular soap.

– Some Swann frozen dinners:
Serving suggestion: Defrost.

– On a hotel-provided shower cap in a box:
Fits one head.

– On Tesco’s Tiramisu desert:
Do not turn upside down. (Printed on the bottom of the box.)

– On Marks and Spencer Bread Pudding:
Product will be hot after heating

– On packaging for a Rowenta Iron:
Do not iron clothes on body

– On Boot’s CHILDREN’s Cough Medicine
Do not drive car or operate machinery

– On Nytol (a sleep aid):
Warning: may cause drowsiness

– On a kitchen knife:
Warning: Keep out of children.

– On a string of Christmas lights:
For indoor or outdoor use only.

– On a food processor:
Not to be used for the other use.

– On Sainsbury’s Peanuts
Warning: contains nuts

– On an American Airlines packet of nuts:
Instructions: open packet, eat nuts.

– On a chainsaw:
Do not attempt to stop chain with your hands.

Look what I made

Verb: to raise the spring-loaded footrest on a sofa or armchair (onomatopoeic)

Verb: to lower the spring-loaded footrest on a sofa or armchair (also onomatopoeic)

You heard it here first. Well actually you read it here first. I have invented two new words that one day I hope will make it into the Oxford English Dictionary. This will only happen if the words make it into daily usage, so please get out there and use the words whenever possible. If you like you can create Facebook pages about them, use them in written work or simply just use them every time you use the spring-loaded footrest on a sofa or armchair.

I would be thrilled if you use the words when you are at our house and avail yourself of the spring-loaded footrests. I would be over the moon if you decided to get evangelistic about this and went into furniture stores trying out all the spring-loaded footrests and using the word every time, That would be awesome! Video evidence of that would literally make me LOL or even ROTFL. I might even add some other letters!

When our children were younger our fridge door was often adorned with some piece of artwork they had created. There are items around our house that they have made. I am still using a bookrack that I made in woodwork at school when I was 13 (it’s 30 years old and still going strong – beat that IKEA!).

We are rightly proud of the things we have created, whether it be words, artwork, book racks, work well done, rooms tidied, cakes made, plastic aircraft, sermons that no one fell asleep in, poems, car repairs, housework, homework, school work and so on.

Have you ever thought that when God looks at you he thinks, “I made them,” and smiles proudly at his handiwork.
Playing with words

A Spanish man who spoke no English went into a famous London Department store to buy socks. He found his way to the Men’s Wear department where a young lady offered to help him.

“Quiero calcetines” said the man.

“I don’t speak Spanish, but we have some very nice suits over here.” said the salesgirl.

“No, no quiero trajes. Quiero calcetines.” said the man.

“Well, these shirts are on sale this week.” declared the salesgirl.

“No, no quiero camisas. Quiero calcetines.” repeated the man.

“I still don’t know what you’re trying to say. We have some lovely trousers on this rack.” offered the salesgirl.

“No, no quiero pantalones. Quiero calcetines.” insisted the man.

“These sweaters are top quality.” the salesgirl probed.

“No, no quiero sueter. Quiero calcetines.” said the man.

“Our vests are over here.” fumbled the salesgirl, beginning to lose patience.

“No, no quiero camisetas. Quiero calcetines.” the man repeated.

As they passed the underwear counter, the man spotted a display of socks and happily grabbed a pair. Holding them up he proclaimed “Eso sí que es!.”

“Well, if you could spell it, why didn’t you do that in the beginning?” asked the exasperated salesgirl.

(“Eso sí que es!” means “That is what it is!” and is pronounced “Esso see kay ess”)
(I apologise to any Spanish speakers who read this if the Spanish is incorrect!)