The Second Ice Cream

Classic scene.

Bright sunny day. In the park. With the kids. Ice Cream van. Cones with flake. Yes please Dad!

5 minutes later. “Did you enjoy your ice cream?”

“Yes daddy! Can I have another one?!”

Mr Whippy

The answer, good middle class parent that I am, is of course ‘no’.  But why?

This ‘no’ provokes a negative emotional response. Spoils, in some sense, the moment.  It’s received as a totally unloving action by the three year old – and he will not be able to intellectually grasp any rationale for it presented to him.

So, why no second ice cream?

Don’t give me those BS parent answers. I can easily afford it – the change is still rattling in my pocket. One more ice cream is not going to destroy his teeth any more than the first one. Spoil his tea? Ok, maybe, but it’s hardly a total dietary collapse.  The second ice cream would certainly be enjoyed.  So why not?!

It’s something about not wanting to diminish my son’s capacity for joy.

Over the long haul trying imperfectly to teach him that joy will come not only from the reception of gifts and experiences, but also through the learning of the hard skills of gratitude and contentment.

Recognising that the immediate indulgence of an understandable desire often destroys the very foundation of what we’re trying to build.

Difficult to teach the 3 year old, when this 33 year old still throws his tantrums over his ever-so-pressing-and-understandable requests not being instantly answered by his Father.


Today: Gratitude and contentment.

You’ve had your ice cream.

Say thank you.

Enjoyment is still at hand.


Philippians 4:11-12 if you need a verse.

All The Threes

Psalm 33:3

“Sing to him a new song;
    play skilfully, and shout for joy.”

The applications for the church band are obvious:

Keep bringing new songs to the table.  Great as it was, we don’t want to keep revisiting 2004 (or 1804) every song, every Sunday. There’s new songs to sing.  Please write and bring your own.

Play skilfully.  It’s much less distracting than playing badly.  Keep honing your skills.  Rehearse.  Work hard at it for us.

Shout for joy.  Please engage emotionally with it.  Be a bit wild.  Don’t hide your passion.  Lift it!  Leave a bit of yourself out there.

But this isn’t just about the 25 minutes on the Sunday.  It’s everything.  So when I write, may I try and find a new way to state the old truth.  May I work hard at doing it well – it’s of more service that way.  And may I try and give of myself a bit – sweat and shout and bare some soul.

And today, as we live:

What’s the new thing?

Whatever we are, let’s be good ones.

And don’t forget to shout for joy.


Gillett & Brims – Podcast 08

Gillett and Brims podcast_08

Here we go with episode 8 of the podcast where Nathanael and I talk about healthy rhythms for life. Enjoy!

Here are the graphics we talk about:

Healthy rhythms.indd

Healthy rhythms.indd

We bounce off the verse, Psalm 13:1-2:

“How long, Lord? Will you forget me for ever?
    How long will you hide your face from me?
 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
    and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
    How long will my enemy triumph over me?”

Question of the episode:  Would you suggest any other ‘healthy rhythms for life?”


Missed any previous episodes?  Find them here: one, two, three, four, fivesix and seven.

Grace Hooks

There’s something about this strange, weird, sea that we swim in…

We can receive the message of God’s grace like a tyre getting slow punctured; a monopoly player picking up a ‘Get out of jail Free’ card; Year 9 students being informed they’ve got a supply teacher.  It seems to deflate, to relax, to take us off the hook.  We breath our sighs of relief, get on with a christianized version of that which we would have done anyway, and throw a bit of sin management in should any guilt still linger.  We’re broken, flawed and fragile and, thank goodness, it doesn’t matter too much now anyway.

In the scriptures, when people received grace.  It seemed more like a fire receiving petrol; Leicester city players getting their medals; like a blind man receiving his sight.  It appears to have emboldened, to have steeled their spines, to have propelled them towards service and brave deeds.  They rejoiced, changed course, and were stirred to wage brutal war on their sin.

It seems grace, rather than leaving people thankful for being let off, actually caused people to want to put themselves more on the hook than they ever had been before.

Grace hooks, doesn’t it?

007 – Settle Squabbles Speedily

Embroiled in a dispute? Run to get it sorted. I mean sprint. Go. Now. Front up and do what you need to do to mend the relationship. Settle squabbles way before they go to trial. Start a friendship if possible. You could waste all your truly valuable resources protecting your ‘precious’ rights, but in the light of what your life is now about that wouldn’t make any sense. Getting caught in a court battle? Preposterous. Let it slide, get back shadowing, go on shining. Reaching reconciliation beats gaining a petty victory, let alone unnecessarily suffering defeat, jail time and debt.

Matthew 5:25-26 as part of the SAS Project