He is always worthy!

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. (1Th 5:18)

God is good! This is not just a statement that is true when we experience good things; it is a statement of the nature of God that remains true, irrespective of our circumstances or feelings. God is always worthy of our praise; again this is not just when we have experienced his blessings: he is worthy irrespective of how we feel, or how much joy or sorrow we have inside.

All of us have experienced one blessing after another from the fullness of his grace, whether we perceive this immediately or not. And even if this were not so, he would not stop being God: faithful, true, holy, righteous, awesome, creator, saviour, loving, compassionate, merciful, gracious, pure, generous, wonderful... Father! Even if he never did another good thing for us (inconceivable!) he would still be worthy of all our praise for all eternity.

It is so important that we learn the secret of praising God in all circumstances. When you have great joy — Praise God! When you have deep sorrow — throw yourselves upon your loving heavenly father and worship him. It's not a case of, worship God anyway, as if it were something we do under compulsion or a sense of duty, or because we know we really should. But the heart of a true worshipper will always turn to the Lord, in the good times and the bad.

We, like everything else in all creation, were made to give glory to God. When we realise this, we see that all that comes our way, not just the good, but the painful and the bitter too, is worked together to draw us closer to God, and prevoke a response of worship from within us. If we stay focused on God, and handle them correctly, even the most bitter experiences can draw us closer to God.

The wonderful thing is that God is our rock: a firm place in times of trouble. No matter how hard the storm rages, before the throne of God there is always peace, security, calm, love, acceptance, and joy. When we worship the Lord, we transcend our circumstances and come to a place that nothing can touch. When we worship, we take our eyes of ourselves, and fix them on him; his radiant beauty floods our souls, and produces yet more worship. This is how we were designed to live, as undauntable worshipers, firmly planted on the rock, always praising him.

If you are having problems entering into worship, or finding something to praise God for — lift your eyes! If you can but catch a glimpse of this mighty God we serve, there is no other response but to worship, and worship, and worship...

Day and night they never stop saying:
"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come."
Whenever the living creatures give glory, honour and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:
"You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being." (Rev 4:8-11)


Our God can do anything!

Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God." (Mt 10:27)

On Sunday, there was an appeal for those who wanted a boldness of faith to believe for miracles. I responded — of course! I had another powerful encounter with the Holy Spirit, and afterwards I decided to pray and lay hands on others who were wanting to receive the same thing.

As I laid hands on one of the youth, I prayed, "When others see an impossibility, you will see an opportunity for the miraculous power of God."

Sometimes we also prophesy to ourselves when we pray for others. I now find that God is reminding me of those very words. There is nothing that we can face that is too difficult for God. Don't see an impossibility; see an opportunity for a miracle.


Building according to the pattern

It was my privilege this weekend to be at the International Elders and Leaders conference for all the churches from around the world that relate to Keri Jones as their apostle. It was a powerful time in the presence of God and great men. Keri shared his heart for the Church built according to the pattern; not according to the patterns of man, but marked by the presence of God and the supernatural movings of the Holy Spirit. It's all too easy for things that start off as moves of the Spirit to become just as formulaic as the patterns they originally broke out from. Keri stirred us again to accept nothing less than the supernatural presence of God in our midst. As Moses said, "If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here." (Ex 33:15) It was not just theory either! I personally, and many others, had a very powerful encounter with the Spirit of God, the like of which I have not felt for many years.

I had a real sense of excitement as I went to the meeting this morning. I knew it was going to be different. I knew I was different! I felt sure that what we had heard and experienced of the Holy Spirit over the weekend was going to break out among us in the meeting. I had already resolved to do something, anything, as a response to the compelling stirrings of the Holy Spirit within me. After the first song I brought a message in tongues; the interpretation followed immediately. Then came two prophecies back to back, and in response to God's word many came forward for prayer and were powerfully touched by the Spirit of God! Praise God! We had a wonderful supernatural time; God continued to move by his Spirit right the way through to the end.

We are building according to the pattern we have seen on the mountain! Nothing less will do!


Home, Sweet Home

Just discovered another very cool feature from Google. If you go to to www.google.com/ig, you can customise your own Google Homepage. As well as the usual Google Search (which you need all the time!) you can add various news feeds, your local weather, the films showing at your local cinema (along with an average reviewer star rating), a quote for the day, your latest Gmails, your own favourite links, etc. etc. You can even add your own custom feeds so you can see links to the latest posts in your favourite blogs.

Have a go, and don't forget to add http://chrishamer-hodges.blogspot.com/atom.xml to stay up to date with yours truly!


The Ultimate Authority

Last night I had the pleasure of teaching several new and prospective members of our church on the subject of the Word of God: the Bible, its origin, and its authority. God has the ultimate authority in this universe: there is no higher power or authority; but because it is impossible for God to lie, or to change his mind, there is no dichotomy between the authority of God's word, and the authority of God himself. It is the ultimate authority.

God has chosen to reveal himself to us (the only way that we can know him) and through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit we have his recorded word. No prophesy of scripture came about through the author's own interpretation, but they wrote as they were "carried along" by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20-21). This means that the Bible is Inerrant (it contains no flaws, errors, inaccuracies, or misrepresentations) it is Eternal (it has no best-before date; it is just as relevant today as the day it was written; it will never be disproved or become redundant) and Sufficient (it contains all we need; we are not waiting for book 67 to come along; we have no right to add or remove anything to what has been written).

It is also "Living and Active"; unlike every other book, the Bible is "alive." When we read the word of God, the Holy Spirit within us, the original author, repeats the process of revelation by which the words were first inspired, and speaks his life giving faith directly into our lives and situations.

It is so important that we spend time in God's word. Faith comes through hearing this word, and without faith it is impossible to please God!


"All they took was the tongue."

WARNING: Those of a sensitive nature may find the descriptions in this post upsetting!

A disturbing image came into my mind as I drove to work yesterday: it was the image of a baby whale, floating on it's back, dead, its tongue and lower jaw missing. If you saw the BBC/Discovery production "Deep Blue" or the earlier "Blue Planet" from which it was based you will know the scene I mean immediately. Most of the film contains the serene beauty of the undersea world, accompanied by soothing classical music, then suddenly the mood changes, and there are these scenes, which as one critic reported, "Are almost too disturbing to watch."

Orcas! Killer Whales as they are commonly known, but portrayed in a way that is totally contrary to the "Free Willy" Disney makeover they have enjoyed in public opinion. They are savage, compassionless killers, praying on the young. They will snatch a baby seal off the beach, and then toy with it for hours tossing it high into the air like a plaything, before finishing it off. A whole pod, were displayed attacking a lone mother and baby whale. They relentlessly harassed the pair, trying to separate the baby from its mother. Then constantly bullying the lone child, they kept pushing it under the water, until it drowned, exhausted.

The most shocking thing of all though was the senseless waste. Most animals kill out of need, but these Orcas just took the tongue and left the rest to rot... All they took was the tongue.

As this image and this phrase came to my mind, I felt God speak to me. The enemy is after our tongue! That is what he wants to take away from us, once he has got that, it's mission accomplished, he doesn't care about the rest. It doesn't matter how good the rest of our Christian life is: our prayers, our bible reading, our giving; if we have lost our tongues we are dead in the water, just like that poor baby whale.

I'm not writing this to scare or to condemn: our enemy is a defeated foe, and there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. In fact, I myself found these images so disturbing, I nearly didn't share this at all. But everywhere I turn at the moment, God is speaking about our confession: what comes out of our mouths. We must guard this at all costs; we must keep speaking, and confessing our faith and never let the enemy get our tongues.


Stepping out of the boat

It was my privilege on Sunday to preach at Living Rock Church. It was a double honour, as it was a visitor service, and so I was speaking to several visitors and non-Christians.

Our current theme is "The Citizenship of a Disciple — The Kingdom of God" which is a subject dear to my heart, which I have spoken on many times; but the challenge was to make the subject accessible to visitors too. This meant, among other things, stripping out all the jargon, and all the assumptions that we just take for granted as Christians. So before I read from the bible, I took the time to explain why it is the greatest book, and why we believe that God still speaks to us from it.

The way I approached the "Kingdom of God", was to start in heaven; something that everyone has thought about and has an opinion on, and then explained that it has been God's plan right from the beginning to bring heaven to earth. He has no alternative plan "B". This is the plan we see introduced in Genesis, and fulfilled in Revelation. The commission given to Adam, and restored in Christ.

I'm not ashamed to admit I was a little nervous beforehand. I'm not saying I didn't have peace — I did. But there is a sense of uncertainty, a requirement for faith. I'm very aware, every time I preach, that although I have done it many times before, I still can't do it without God. If he doesn't turn up with the goods, the very best I can do, is just entertain for 45 minutes. I don't know if other preachers feel the same way, but I often think of Peter, just before he stepped out of the boat; walking was not a problem, but in this situation, without God, that natural ability would count for nothing.

But my confidence in those situations is to remember the faithfulness of God. He has never let me down. Every time I have preached, he has always turned up, and always equipped me. He has never let me fall fat on my face just to teach me a lesson in humility, or to remind me how uninspiring I would be without him. God never sets us up to fail. When he calls you to do something, he will always make it possible, even if it is stepping out of the boat on to the choppy seas.

I'm pleased to report that the meeting went well. I spoke briefly with one visitor, who was in deep conversation with the friends who had brought her, obviously touched by God.


Which came first...?

Following on from my deep and meaningful post on Thursday... here's a photo for a caption competition that seems appropriate! Have fun


No spam please, we're British

You'll notice a change when you try to leave a comment on this site. I have enabled the "Word Verification" option. This just means that you will see an image of some letters that you need to type in order to leave a comment.

I have recently started to get a number of "Spam" comments in the form of: "Love your site, Check out my site on stamp-collecting..." etc. These spam comments are generally created automatically on blogs that allow anonymous comments. As the programs that generate these messages have not yet learned to read, but most people who would want to leave a legitimate comment have, the word verification thing is a nice way of still allowing anyone to comment, but keeping the spammers at bay.

Feel free to have a go... but really... I'm not interested in stamp-collecting! ;-)

[My thanks to the mysterious QuakerOatsGuy for pointing this option out]


Logic proves the existence of God

God exists! This is not just a statement of faith, but a conclusion of abstract logic.

Take the age old problem: "Which came first the chicken or the egg?" It is a very profound question, because to get a chicken you need an egg, but to get an egg, you need a chicken. The chickens we now see, came from eggs, which in turn came from chickens, which came from eggs and so on backwards in time. Logically there are two, and only two, explanations to this problem: either chickens (and all life by extension) have an infinate ancestry, or they had a moment of genesis.

The argument does not just apply to life, but to everything that goes on in the Universe. All things that happen in the Universe have a cause: there is nothing that "just happens." We refer to this as Cause and Effect. But the things we regard as "causes" are in reality also "effects", that is they themselves did not "just happen" but came about because of an earlier causal event, which in turn happened because of something earlier, and so on back in time — just as with the chickens and the eggs. So with the Universe itself, there are equally only two logical explanations: either these chain of events stretch back to infinty past, or there must be a Primal Cause. That is, a "Cause" that is not itself dependent on anything prior for its existence. As everything in our Universe IS dependent on something prior, it cannot be a cause from within, it must be a cause from without. Thus whether or not you know who or what this Primal Cause is, you cannot logically argue against it. If the Universe has a beginning there must be a pre-existent external entity that started it off.

Atheism is not a logical option!

[See also: Science proves the existence of God]


"That's my favourite!"

This is my two-year old son's latest expression. When he really likes something, he will pipe up with "That's my favourite!" He's a positive child; has a good confession, even at a tender age! :-)

When we were at the Ministries Without Borders Bible week, we were given a Children's Illustrated Bible Story book. He loves it. Most mornings after he wakes up, he comes and sits on our bed, while Dada drinks his coffee and slowly rejoins the land of the living, and asks to read his "Special Book."

Can you guess what his favourite stories are? It's no great surprise: "Big Boat" (Noah), "Big Fish" (Jonah) and "Lions' Den" (Daniel) — that's ma boy!

This got me thinking. Jesus loved Children. You see that clearly in the Gospels. He didn't have much time for religious people, with their pretence and their hypocrisy, their legalism and their somber piety, but he loved the simple, real, down to earth, fun-loving children.

So, I don't think it is any coincidence that these three stories, the ones that most Children are immediately drawn too, are three of the most significant illustrations of Christ in the Old Testament.

At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure." (Lk 10:21)

In the story of Noah, we have a great picture of what it means to be shielded from God's wrath by being in Christ. Just as only Noah and his family, those who were in the ark, were saved, so too, only those who are in Christ can be saved from God's righteous judgement on sin. Just as it didn't matter how good a swimmer you were when the floods came, so too, it doesn't matter how good a person you think you are, or how many good deeds you have done. No-one can be saved by their own efforts; Jesus is the only way. The great news is that while only 8 people were saved in the ark, in Christ there is room for all who will respond. He will never turn anyone away.

Jonah too is an amazing book. I don't think many Christians realise just how remarkable the book of Jonah really is. It is listed among the prophets and yet we don't have recorded a single word of Jonah's prophetic utterance! This is because Jonah himself, and his life were the prophetic message. In the four short chapters of Jonah we have an entire summary, a succinct representation, of the whole divine will of God for man! Man was purposed to serve God, that was his calling and his commission, yet he rebelled and turned the other way, choosing instead to turn his back on God. Yet God desires to take hold of man, and through a powerful identification with Christ's death and resurrection, give him a second chance to serve him in newness of life, and give him a part to play in the proclamation of a message that will bring salvation to the multitudes.

And Daniel... what can I say about Daniel... I could preach a whole series on Daniel!... oh yeah! I already did! ;-) If you are looking for Christ, revealed in the pages of the Old Testament, there isn't a better book! Jesus himself chose his messianic title "Son of Man", from the pages of this book. Daniel was a man before his time; he lived full of the Spirit before Pentecost, and met Christ himself prior to the incarnation. He saw things that even the great prophets like Isaiah didn't see. He saw the coming of the messiah, as they did; he saw the suffering and death of Christ as they did; but he saw even further to Christ's second coming, the final judgement of the living and the dead. Did you know that the only clear reference to the resurrection of the dead in the Old Testament is found in this book? But Daniel himself is also a "type" of Christ. As an exercise just read again the passage of Daniel in the lions' den, and compare it to the Gospel accounts of Christ in the tomb...

So never underestimate the truth contained in these "Children's Stories." Jesus loves the children. And as for Daniel... to quote my little boy.... "That's my favourite!"



Apologies to anyone who has been viewing my blog in Internet Explorer over the last few days. It seems IE objected to the formatting of one of my entries and shunted the sidebar down to the bottom. As I use Firefox, which is a sensible browser, I was blissfully unaware.

How come none of you guys told me!? ;-)

Getting the word out

It's great when you have good news to share. You tell a few people and very quickly it ripples out, sometimes out of sight, as one person tells another.

Thank you for all the responses we have had so far to our happy announcement... I just want to share something exciting about a different message of good news that is going out from this site.

If you are a regular (thank you!) you may remember that a month or so ago I posted up my notes on "The Kingdom of God." Well these notes should now be in Cuba, as some of the ladies from Ministries Without Borders, who have just arrived there, are using them as the basis of a series of teachings they are doing. I also discovered, that just today someone from Australia has downloaded my notes. Apparently if you do a search on "Kingdom of God notes" on google.com.au, I come up #56! Cool!

I'm not meaning to brag! I'm just very excited that God is using me and what I have done. As Christians we have a message of good news that is meant to go into all the world. That's why I'm thrilled that excellent teachers like Roger and Trevor have their own blog sites. It's truly amazing how many people from how many countries you can reach when you post material up on the Internet. Especially when the search-engines start to take notice of you.

So here's a challenge: If you've got something that's worth saying, why not say it to the world?
Power to the Bloggers!



We like to reflect the nature of the Kingdom of God in the Hamer-Hodges family: we are increasing! Jacqueline in particular is increasing at this time... yes, we are expecting another child... I'm going to be a dad again... and Michael will have a little brother or sister sometime in mid-April.

...unlike the Kingdom of God, we do not plan to increase in this way without ceasing!! ;-)


Blessed are the geek...

Here's a little test. Look at the image below. If you think it is cool or amusing - you are one of us, brother!

...don't be ashamed, be proud! Blessed are the geek! This is a day when the richest man in the world is a geek. No company can survive without its own team of geeks. Geeks are now well paid and respected members of society, no longer just spotty lovelorn teenagers who never leave their bedroom.

I visited a friend's house last night and on his fridge he had spelled in fridge magnets the words: "gentoo" and "ubuntu" -- Respeccct!!

So calling all fellow geeks -- confessional time: What is the geekiest thing you have ever done? Make me proud!


Jesus still has more to give!

Is this a controversial statement? I would never have thought so. To me it seems self-evident. God by nature is a giver, always has been, always will be. God so loved the world that he gave... Give and it shall be given to you. Generosity is one of the ways we reflect the nature of God, the most generous giver of all. He wants all his people to be sowers, and he generously showers us with an abundance of provision so in all occasions we will have something to give.

So what's the problem? Why is it that there is a growing number of Christians who have a problem with this statement? It seems to have its root in a misguided teaching that is going around that claims that God has already given all he has to give. That's it! There is no more!

Crazy!.... at least I still think so! [I'm sure I can't be the only one!] This teaching claims that when Jesus hung on the cross and said "It is finished" -- it meant God had done all he was ever going to do... oh yeah, except the outpouring of the Holy Spirit... but that really is your lot now! They say you shouldn't ask God for provision, healing, or any other kind of blessing because he has already given it to you. If you can't see it, it is because of some "Emperor's New Clothes" effect -- you just don't have enough "faith" to realise that these spiritual "truths" are more "real" than the deficiency that is perceived with the natural senses.

What a load of nonsense!! Can you honestly expect me to believe that God is like that?! That you can exhaust his generosity? That he gives in such a way that you have to ascend to the fith-dan of super-faith before you can experience it? Did Jesus ever heal like that? Is that how he fed the five thousand? Is that how he turned the water in to wine.... sorry Jesus, still tastes like water to me.... ahhhh! that's because you are tasting with your mouth not your spirit! When God gives, it is a blessing, not a krypton-factor puzzle that leaves you wondering what if anything you have actually got.

The real danger with this "You've already got it" doctrine lies not because it is so wrong, but because it is nearly right! This puts it into the category of the most dangerous errors: those that contain enough truth to slip under the radar of many Christians' defences without a blip, but still contain enough distortion to confuse, disrupt, divide and condemn.

Error, indeed, is never set forth in its naked deformity, lest, being thus exposed, it should at once be detected. But it is craftily decked out in an attractive dress, so as, by its outward form, to make it appear to the inexperienced (ridiculous as the expression may seem) more true than the truth itself.
-- Iranaeus

You see the work of Christ on the cross was a "once for all" event. When we sin, Jesus does not have to come and die all over again. His death was totally sufficient to propitiate all of God's wrath, and forgive us for all sins - past, present, and future. There is no sacrifice left for sin, nothing that needs to be added to this finished work of Christ... BUT... far from being a sign that this is the last and ultimate gift of God, it is actually the guarantee that God will continue to give!

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? (Ro 8:32)

It is also true that in Christ we already have all we need for life and godliness, and we have already been blessed in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing. We are not waiting for God to do or give anything else before we can take our place in his kingdom purpose. We don't need to know any more before we share our faith with the lost. We don't need anymore anointing before we lay our hands on the sick. We don't need a specific word before we serve our brothers and sisters in the Lord... BUT... again this does not mean that along the way we will not have any genuine needs nor that God will fail to meet those needs. Again it is quite the opposite. God gives us a promise -- if we do what he wants us to do, he will give, and meet all our other needs.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Mt 6:33)
And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. (Php 4:19)

Finally it is also true that faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things that we do not see. There is a realm of the spirit that we need to see if we are to walk by faith and not by sight alone. We need to have our eyes fixed in heaven, to see the world from God's perspective and not our own... BUT... the evidence of things hoped for refers to things we have not yet received. Not for things we allegedly already have. As it says in Romans 8 "Who hopes for what he already has?" Faith is taking God at his word (like Abraham) that when God gives a promise it is as good as done, not living in denial that it is already done.

But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. (Ro 8:24)

God is a giver! Don't let any false doctrine rob you of this great truth. He still has more to give. He delights to give -- and he wants us to ask. Jesus did not go into retirement when he ascended into heaven after the cross. He is still very much present and active in all we do. We must remain in him if we are to be fruitful. Without him we can do nothing. So I say again, and like John Crysostom -- I wish I could proclaim it to the whole Universe -- "Jesus still has more to give!"


St Augustine on Grace and Free will

I mentioned in my post on Sovereignty and Free will, that this debate has been played out already throughout history. I found this quote from St. Augustine which is very succinct:

If there is no [sovereign] grace of God, how does He save the world? and if there is no free will, how does He judge the world?


Cold Turkey

The unthinkable happened at work today... no internet connection!

Throughout offices up and down the building, people were running back and forth: "Can you get on? No? Me neither." No instant messaging, no RSS blog feeds, no external email and no web-surfing! It suddenly dawned on everyone, with a cold chill, that there was nothing for it.... we would all have to do some work today!! ;-)

I'm lucky enough that playing with a computer all day IS my job! It's great when you love your work, and you get payed for doing what you like doing anyway. It's called programming actually, or Software Engineering if you want to be grandiose - but essentially it's a big computer game where the goal is to get the computer to do what you want!

It's amazing how technology has moved on. Those of us with a passion for things technical are still regarded as a bit geeky, regardless of how physically fit or socially skilled we are. But I like to think that we "geeks" are just a few years ahead of our time. I remember a time when just to be "on the net" was considered the height of geekdom. Only as far back as the late '90s when I first made the suggestion that the church have a website, it was almost dismissed with the joke that the only people who would turn up would be pale spotty teenagers in Iron Maiden tee-shirts! How things have changed! Now almost everyone is on the net, has an email address, and most churches have a website.

I was reminded again today, how we have grown to depend on the 'Net over the years. For information, for communication, for recreation, for purchases or just window shopping; holidays, getting in touch with old friends, planning church and cellgroup activities.. and of course posting your thoughts in a blog. What did we do before the internet!?

I saw a documentary on "The New Al-Qaeda" recently. One expert said that there is a way that we could stop global terrorism dead in its tracks, but the cost is so high that no one would dare to even suggest it: Shut down the Internet! Some people are worried about the internet, with the danger of paedophiles in chatrooms, and the spread of pornography, and the rampant illegal copyright theft of songs and movies that happens on a huge scale.

But there are many good things on the internet too. It's a window on the world and its people. Some people see only darkness, but others see more. This is God's world, and it is full of the good things that God has created, and the people he made in his image. Sure sin has corrupted it, and there is plenty of evil about, but God is still in control, and the light always drives out the darkness. This world is destined to be filled with the glory of God... does that include the Internet? I don't know, but I'm going to do my bit anyway! It's always better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.

[For more light visit Trevor Lloyd's bog - he's just recently started. He's a gifted and inspiring teacher of the word. A man with wisdom and integrity.]

For a less inspiring, but amusing concluding quote. Here's Peppa Pig -- my two-year old's favorite programme:

Mummy Pig (at the Museum): This is the Kings and Queens' room
Peppa: Where is the queen's television?
Daddy Pig: They didn't have television in those days, Peppa.
Peppa (shocked): No television!... but they did have computers.
Mummy Pig: No Peppa, they didn't have them either.
Peppa (horrified): No computers!! What did they do all day?!


It's good to talk

Google have released a new Instant Messaging service that is free to all its Gmail users: Google Talk.

"Why do we need yet another Instant messenger?", I hear you say. We already have MSN, AIM, ICQ, and Yahoo messengers. What's different about Google's offering?

Well there are a number of things that make it very nice:
  • It's very lightweight. Blink and the download is over.

  • It's simple and uncluttered. No adverts or huge information panels.

  • As well as instant text communication, it offers crystal clear voice communication too: ala Skype (in fact they are using the same technology)

  • It works as a Gmail notification too. As you want to keep informed of new email messages anyway, it's no extra bother to have all the nice IM features thrown in for free too.

  • Custom status messages: You can set your own status. Not just the same old boring "Available" or "Away", you can add your own like "Gone fishing" or "Deep in prayer!"

The downside is that you have to be an existing Gmail user to use it... and you can't get a Gmail account without an invitation... but fear not. If any of you would like to try Gmail and Google Talk, just pop me an email (address is at the bottom of the page) and I'll send you an invite. Gmail has some great advantages - more than 2Gb of storage, POP and webmail access, and advanced Google searching on all your old mails (all free!).

If you are already a Gmail user, just visit www.google.com/talk and download it.


It's not the critic who counts...

First of all, a big thank you to Joe James, who generously awarded me a prize for my efforts on one of his caption competitions. My prize was a book: Treasury of Courage and Confidence, by Norman Vincent Peale. It's an anthology of inspiring quotes by great writers.

I've only dipped into it so far, but it looks great. This quote caught my eye this morning:

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."
-- Theodore Roosevelt

It made me think... although I don't take back anything I said yesterday, I don't want to be remembered as a man who criticised from the sidelines! I'd much rather be in the thick of the action, actually making a difference. That's what counts at the end of the day; not what you said about what others did, but what you did yourself! It's all too easy to criticise....

"When I've walked on the water... then I'll preach about Peter's unbelief. Until then, I tend to be very impressed!"
-- Tony Ling