Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Honeymoon's Over

Well, we're home from honeymoon and we're into our own wee house! Killarney was great and we enjoyed the break, but now the hard work starts.

Internet is presently patchy as it's back to the old dial-up until we get the broadband working. So more updates and of course some photos in due course.

Bye for now.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Married McFlurries!

Married McFlurries!
Originally uploaded by Gary McMurray.

First photo of Lynsey and myself after our wedding - this was taken by Jemma and John Toller. We're now enjoying our honeymoon in Killarney, after a stop-over in Kilkenny. All the Kil's ;-)

More updates when we're home next weekend.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Non Stop!

Well, we're now in the final few days before the wedding - you'd be surprised the number of people who say 'oh, you've still got time to get out'. No getting out for me - can't wait to be married to my beautiful Lynsey.

Been trying to get the house sorted out, as well as make the final preparations for Friday, pack for honeymoon and do all else that needs to be done. All going well. Thankfully.

I'm not looking forward to being on the 'wrong' side of the camera on Friday - would much rather be taking photos, but to no avail. Just have to rely on everyone else's, as well as the official photographer's album.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Dr Wilkinson

Dr Wilkinson
Originally uploaded by Gary McMurray.

This is a copy of the official photograph from yesterday. More photos will follow in due course. Lynsey is now a proper Doctor. Hurray!


It's offical, Lynsey has been doctored. Her graduation ceremony was yesterday afternoon in the Caird Hall, Dundee. The ceremony lasted about two hours, with a steady stream of people going on stage to be hit over the head by the Chancellor with a Dundee bonnet.

No photos available yet, but they will be available shortly - just need to get my camera hooked up to my computer back home. Today's a relaxed day before heading further north tomorrow for Jemma and John's wedding.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Scotland Again

By the time this is released into the blogosphere, I shall be in Scotland. Taking a few days over on the 'mainland' to celebrate Lynsey's graduation and the marriage of Jemma and John. Not sure if I'll have internet access until the Twelfth, but I'll take lots of photos and share them eventually! Less than two weeks to our own wedding now!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Mixed Messages?

I wonder if advertisers ever consider the full portfolio of the celebrities they choose to endorse their products. It seems to me that sometimes, the impact of one can harm the possible benefit of another advertisement by the same person.

Take Ulster's own James Nesbitt, also known as Jimmy Nesbitt. His dulcet tones can be heard on the voice-over for the Isle of Man ferry service at 'steam hyphen packet dot com.' Soothing, relaxing, sure the ferry journey itself sounds like a holiday, let alone the time you get to spend on the Isle of Man with its tourist attractions and possibilities.

All very well and good, until you're driving in your car (maybe even to the ferry), when you hear Jimmy's voice-over on another advert. In the advert, he sounds like he's about to be sick, as he complains about the dodgy journey on a boat. Indeed, the only chance the boat has for success is the bottle of bubbly that was smashed on its side for good luck on its maiden voyage. Such odds are slim, compared to the confidence a car buyer can achieve when they buy a car from Network Q, the Vauxhall multi-point check on used cars.

Now, maybe the Isle of Man ferry people haven't heard of the other ad, but it seems to me that if you saw the two adverts together, you would get the impression that the Isle of Man ferry wouldn't be too reliable, and that there's a fair chance of seasickness. And I'm reckoning that they wouldn't be too happy with the implied link.

How about our advertising? Do we manage to make a good show of living for Jesus, advertising his way for most of the week, but then turn around and seem to dismiss him?

Those old words of Elijah ring through the centuries, as clear as ever: 'How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.' (1 Kings 18:21)

Jimmy Nesbitt may have to decide between ferries or cars, but the more important question for us is this: Who is your advertising executive? Which 'brand' name will you advertise and live for?

Thursday, July 03, 2008

The Power of Example

'Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things ... and the God of peace will be with you.'

Familiar words from Paul's letter to the Philippians. All great stuff. But we've missed out half a verse. They are tough words for us to hear and live up to, just as I'm sure they were for the first Christians who read them.

'What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me - practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.'

What arrogance of Paul! It's almost an affront to tell people to look at him, and then copy him. Isn't it? Who does he think he is? For us today, as we read those words there is almost a sharp intake of breath - would we put ourselves forward as examples for others to copy and imitate? Surely we should only seek to copy Christ, becoming like him, looking to him?

Well, quite. Time and again, Paul points to Christ as our example and guide. Absolutely proper. So how do we account for the times when Paul tells people to copy or imitate him? Especially since Paul urges that no one think of themselves more highly than they ought (Romans 12:3).

The answer lies in the fact that we are on a journey - a process of sanctification. Those who believe in Jesus are saved to the uttermost - this is justification. But this kicks off the process of sanctification - becoming more like Jesus as we die continually to our sinful desires and live for Jesus.

We're all at different points along the road of sanctification - the seasoned follower is more like Christ than the stubborn believer who seems reluctant to let go of sins and strongholds. Yet together, in the Church, we can encourage and support one another to become more like Jesus. Those who are further along the road know the struggles and can help those behind. But more than that, they can also be examples for others.

I've been struck this week by the power of example. The other day we were in the new house, and Lynsey and myself were looking after her niece, my niece-to-be. I leant on the windowsill to talk on the phone, and so the wee girl wanted to sit on the windowsill too. We had been painting the day before, so she had to have a paintbrush to pretend to paint.

Simple things, yet the power of example goes a long way. You find yourself having to think carefully about what you're saying and doing in front of the little one.

There can be something very powerful in the fleshed out sanctification, seen in examples before our eyes. Think of the change evident in Paul's life - from persecutor of the church to one of its chief spokesmen and missionaries. Seeing the experience of the crucified and risen Christ shape his whole existence as he lived for his Lord.

Paul was by no means perfect. He still slipped and sinned. Yet he was unafraid to offer himself as an example to other believers. More than that, he urged the same for those who came after him - when he told Titus to 'Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned' (Titus 2:7-8), and when he says to Timothy, 'Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.' (1 Tim 4:12)

What example are we setting today? Could we tell others to imitate us as we imitate Jesus? Challenging thoughts indeed. The call is to be faithful in our following, so that others may see our progress.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Norn Iron - Champions of Europe?

Hard to imagine that the winners of the European Championship 2008 are the team that lowly Northern Ireland managed to defeat 3-2 in Belfast not so long ago. Wonder if by that logic, we should be counted as the real Champions? ;-)

To recall that great night at Windsor Park, you can see Healy's second goal as captured on my camera over at YouTube.

Think the Spanish deserved to win on Sunday night - Germany were playing really badly. Well done Spain!